Even with a small party in Section 12 Ed and Bill had me back at the gym by 1630. I was able to sit in on the last meeting with the administrators and clerks until after the New Year. Parties were also going on at the gym and Morton Field; a lot of people were off Christmas Eve day. Just skeleton crews would be at both places until January.
There was unexpected good news; Jake’s crews completed the last concrete pour today and moved all the heavy equipment away from the area to a lot near Camp Smith.
One crew was coming back after New Year’s Day to do final grade work and remove the tarps off the last four concrete slabs. That was the last work Jake’s crews were going to do until the end of February when road construction started back up.
It would be a month from today before the newest part of the new tarmac could be used by heavy planes. Painters were coming – if the weather stayed good – to put stripes and o’s to mark parking spots and guide lines so no planes went off the edge. We were already using the first five hundred feet that had enough time to cure properly; it needed thirty days to do that.
The other news was that Jenny had a meeting with Howard, Howard and Fine; the changes were in the works in case the worst happened to all of us or any one of us – meaning me.
In bad news we were being sued for hiring discrimination. Jason, Jenny and I had to give depositions at the end of January. The attorneys for the individual were the same attorneys who were here when the labor union organizer showed up and demanded access to our employee list, including personal information.
All of us thought this was just another angle for the unions to get the information under the information gathering rules for lawsuits. No attorney was going to pursue a case simply because, ‘I put in an application and didn’t get hired; I want to sue.’ There was some other motive.
A check of all the college sites and embassies confirmed that everything was quiet. Many college students had returned home for the holidays. Many of those that stayed had part time jobs and were in high demand at the malls over the holidays.
Others worked as hostesses for the many corporate and business parties. There were always some that carried the hostess thing into the oldest profession for the big bucks being thrown around at the corporate parties.
Robert’s group was still monitoring phones and internet that the terrorist were using and anywhere else he could think of.
Marcy, Vicky, Jenny and I were on the mats working on hand to hand combat skills with knives. We had just finished with the pogo sticks. We were in the protective suits we used when Mayor Blum and his group came in and were led to us by Ching Lee.
We went at the fight for five more minutes before we were both on the mats gasping for breath.
“Follow us over to the locker and we can talk while we change out of this gear,” I said.
While we were changing I asked if there had been any more new developments in the investigation.
“There was another packet of pictures and a letter dropped off at a mail box in Essex this afternoon. It was an isolated box with no cameras in the area. It contained more threats and worse pictures; the kids were beheaded,” Mayor Blum replied.
Elsie, his wife, was clearly upset as I would have been at the revelations.
I split the assembled group in half – there was too many to fit in the elevator – and down to the basement we went.
Vicky had taken over more rooms in the basement. In one there was all the new SWAT gear for all of us plus spare equipment for the special OPS teams. In another was all the different body armor and vests she used for the VIP protection business that was growing so well. Vicky had amassed a good selection.
I started with Else first, “This is light body armor; it is what the girls and I wear daily. It’s like wearing a sweatshirt and lasts two months with normal washings. It provides reasonable protection from most small to medium caliber rounds. It provides the best protection when used with class C body armor that is over there,” I said.
Vicky described the other kinds of armor and let Else and the daughter try on several different styles. Their daughter was 15 and was just a fit for the medium sizes.
I concentrated on Mayor Blum and his son Raymond. Raymond – like his father – was tall and stocky like a football player. They tried on several different ones before they decided on the ones they wanted. We had just finished up and were walking towards the elevator when Cindy stepped out.
“BJ, Vicky, Ambassador Foley of South Korea is on VCATS wanting to speak with both of you,” Cindy said.
“Cindy, please take this group to the refreshment center for drinks and as soon as Vicky and I finish, we will take them to Morton to look at armored Suburbans,” I said.
“Good morning Ambassador Foley; I believe it is Christmas Eve day in your part of the world. Have you got all your Christmas shopping done?” I asked.
“BJ, Vicky, good evening, all done here; you have another day to finish yours, when you are not looking over your shoulder. I see you have managed to piss off the bad guys,” he replied.
“We are done here so it is a day to relax and party. The bad guys need to be looking over more than their shoulder because I am not backing off. The hounds are on their trail and closing in,” I said.
“I wanted to call you and give you a heads up before I called Elmer Hobart and Amy Lockerman. I requested an upgrade in security due to the increased tension in the area a couple weeks ago. I completed the forms and assessment a few days ago. Amy thinks it may be approved today,” he said.
“Amy sent a copy of the request a week ago. The question I have is housing? There is no indication that there is any on grounds housing,” Vicky asked.
“There is no room to expand the housing in the embassy grounds; you will have to rent, buy or come up with a plan,” the Ambassador replied.
“We may move ALL JBG non-management employees out of the embassy when we find suitable living arrangements,” I said.
“The last time the security force was expanded before JBG took over the contract, there was to be additional areas built for recreation and sleeping and that did not happen. Embassy duty is not a Navy ship where you hot sheet the bunks,” I said then I added, “That’s not going to continue under my watch!”
“I agree with you completely. I have tried each budget year but keep getting stonewalled by my director. He has been in the hospital for several weeks so I had a chance to go around him and I took it,” Ambassador Foley replied.
“I will work it from this end. Something will happen, I can promise you that,” I said as I closed the VCATS.
South Korea was one of the unique JBG embassy sites. SK was considered to be a staunch ally and Americanized with dependable strong economy and reasonably safe. The current escalating tension was coming from the North and the embassy was coming under heavy surveillance and hacking attempts.
The Mayor, his group along with Marcy, Ching Lee, Jenny and Lorrie were sitting as a group with tables pushed together.
“When we get back from Florida, Marcy, Vicky and you need to take a security team to go to Seoul S. Korea. You need to find secure permanent housing for at least thirty-five JBG security personnel,” I directed at them.
I was in the second Suburban of four on the trip to Morton Field; the Mayor had come with three Baltimore police cars. At Morton we went into hangar 17 where Marcy took over.
“These on the left are new; twenty of them are going overseas so we have five extra. They are $200,000 each. They have one inch bullet resistant glass and 6000 pounds of added armor plate with run flat tires and diesel engines,” she said.
“Twenty one are going overseas, Korea will get a second one if it is approved,” I said.
“Over there are fifteen that are five years old and were sent back to the up-fitter for refurbishment and upgrades. All of them have less than forty thousand miles, some as low as ten thousand miles; they have gas engines. They are $100,000 each, the keys are in them. Please have your driver take one for a road test and see which one you like. All of them have the hidden light package and currently the JBG GPS locating system that I can have removed,” Marcy said.
“You have to know the airbags have been disabled. You do not want a minor mishap to stop you from being able to run from the bad guys. Another thing is that at the end of their life cycle for you, they have to go through a certified destruction process; you will have to sign a contract agreeing to that,” I added.
“Why is that?” the Mayor asked.
“Well, you would not want a Baltimore gang banger riding around your city in one and there are proprietary secrets built into the security package that could be reveled allowing someone to develop counter measures,” Marcy replied.
One of our guard group went with them so they could get past the guard house and back in.
I knew from the pricing Marcy had added $50,000 onto the price of each for all the administrative work that was involved in getting them this far. It was a mess; contracts, bids, shipping, follow up, flights to the mid-west for pre-paint inspections and acceptance flight before they were shipped. Then there was the logistics in getting them where they needed to go. I was OK with it; business is business.
The real thing was other than freight and the refurbish cost, they were free to JBG. The state department paid out the full cost over the life of the contract.
After extended test rides with different drivers, the mayor had a powwow with his group.
“I would like one new one to be bought by the city for official use and if you will allow, to buy one of the refurbished ones for my wife and kids to use,” the Mayor said.
It took an hour to finish the paperwork and then it was home, boys, hot tub and an evening to relax.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.