Friday turned into a very busy day that I ended up mostly watching go by.
The C5 was loaded with 200 thousand pounds of relief supplies for the refugee camp. The crew and my men assigned to Kampala were going to unload the food and clothing in the hangar at Entebbe Airport.
Hanna Page and her channel 34 news team had another exclusive TV report. Elmo Cartwright was there for the local paper. It was only right for Elmo to be there since his paper was donating half the ad space to help with donations. Lorrie, Marcy and Jenny had the honors of giving the interview about the relief flight. I watched the boys while they were gone.
Channel 34 owner Carleton Page had resisted efforts to be taken over by the big communications giants in Washington and New York for years.
They now knew there was a direct link to JBG through Hanna and the pressure was on to sell again. Hanna Page was his only grandchild; her dream was to run her granddad’s station.
Carleton Page knew he would be out of a job and the station closed if he sold out; the last locally owned station gone. He did work out contracts to sell news stories to the major networks.
Hanna did manage to work in questions on my health; she had caught on quickly to the ways of the White House media teams from the few short times she had been there.
A one minute cut of Hanna’s story was carried by the major networks. Hanna even gave the paper a little bump by questioning Elmo about ads and his papers support.
Hanna asked the girls after the filming stopped if they thought I or all of my mates would be interested on being on the channel 34 Sunday local news show that ran from 1100 to 1230. Their guest had canceled at the last minute this morning.
Marcy suggested that she call me about this week’s show and when Vicky and Ching Lee returned, we would do the show as a group.
Ambassadors Fauntroy, Morrison and Brenardi would handle moving the goods from the hangar to the camp.
The C5 was going from there to Windhoek to bring back Bob, Andy and all the crew with their equipment. Lorrie was combining flights to save money; besides, the State Department was paying for part of the flight anyhow.
A State Department plane was carrying Ambassador Eaton and his family back.
Ambassador Schmitt and the entourage arrived from Kampala early Friday morning. Rachael was sending me loads of pictures of the greeting. Apparently Bob Jackson, his wife and Frederica hit it off OK and were at least smiling in the pictures. It seemed I was worried about that meeting for nothing.
Friday I had guests; Ben-David and Israeli Ambassador Ableman came around 1000. Ben had brought the latest update to the system he had given us. It was just a cover to see me; usually a courier just dropped them off.
We talked for an hour before Ben wanted to see Robert and explain some new things with the update.
“I will have to take you to him; they have moved to larger offices,” I replied.
Ben David was impressed with Roberts’s new offices; Ambassador Ableman and I left the tech geeks to do their thing.
Ambassador Ableman and I ended up in the command center after getting coffee. The executive chairs in there were well padded, reclined and had descent foot rest and an arm rest with a cup holder; I needed all of those today.
We had only been talking a few minutes when the controller announced I had a page from Korea.
Ambassador Ableman started to get up but I told him he could stay, that I was expecting a family call.
“Good evening Vicky and Jake. I think it is close to midnight there,” I said.
“Yes and we are boarding the plane in a few minutes to Japan,” Vicky replied.
“It has been a busy day but we think everything has been done. The building has been purchased, permits acquired, plans drawn up and a contractor hired who is going to start Monday,” Jake said.
“Our senior man from the security detail William Croft is going to take pictures and send them to Jake daily to monitor the progress and construction quality. William worked four years building condos and as a supervisor before the Army Special Forces so he knows what should be done and how,” Vicky said.
“That should have everything covered. Have a safe flight. By the way, how is Ching Lee doing?” I asked.
“Buying lots of traditional clothes and souvenirs; she may need a bigger closet. She is having a good time; we all are. The current crew were not happy about leaving but have warmed up to the idea,” Vicky replied as she said bye and closed the screen.
“Can you use this to communicate anywhere?” Ambassador Ableman asked.
“As long as we have the access numbers I am told. I communicate with my team at the US embassy in Tel Aviv quite often,” I replied.
“So if I thought my building was being monitored I could come here and communicate with my people in Israel for critical issues?” he asked.
“I don’t think there will be a problem doing that if you need to,” I replied.
“Speaking of communicating; Ambassador Dansky is at the Kampala embassy. I think I just saw him enter the building,” I said.
“Hambone, bring the Kampala lobby camera to the big screen and back it up a couple minutes,” I instructed. I never asked how Hamilton Burger got that nickname, but I bet there was a story connected with it.
Sure enough Ambassador Dansky was there with Ambassador Brenardi.
“Hambone page Kampala please,” I directed.
When the screen went live, “Hello boss, you gave us quite a scare there for a while. I bet I could beat you on the mats right now,” the controller said.
“Oh but when I get well, payback might be hell,” I replied.
“That’s why you are there and I’m staying here,” he replied as he was laughing.
“I will page the Ambassador for you,” he said.
“I want to speak to Ambassador Dansky at the same time,” I said.
The conversation lasted an hour before Ben-David came looking for his boss and then the conversation went for another thirty minutes. It was an open conversation between friends and allies.
As Ben was leaving, “When you find the people you are looking for, let me know. We may be able to help.”
“I will keep that in mind. It may happen in the next month or so, maybe sooner,” I replied.
I spent two hours on MTAC with Ben Smith, arrest warrants had been issued for all 10 of the people the Prince had phoned with his satellite phone. Four were in the Washington area and two in New York City and four on the west coast. The scope and reach of the task force just kept growing.
Saturday morning I started back working out in the gym with light workout. It was tough and painful but afterwards I felt better. A lot of the men from my security detail were in the gym and giving the hot tub a workout. Then most of them were visiting Amy Crossman – the masseur – for a body massage to help with the soreness.
At 1000 Hanna called to ask if I would consider being the guest for their Delmarva Sunday Report for her station. She would bring the makeup, sound and cameraman and would record the interview wherever I wanted. They could come this afternoon. Marcy had already filled me in on the conversation they had yesterday so the call was no surprise.
I agreed to the interview and the time. I wasn’t going anywhere, not for a couple more days at least; I and my family considered Hanna a close friend.
While I had time I looked at Google Earth using the State Department’s fancy big sized version at Polokwane South Africa. Twenty four hours later there was still no change in activity at the airports.
The Prince would certainly land at the bigger airport and stay or carry out his business at the better hotel.
I wondered how Dad, Jason and Jake with some of my men would take to an elephant and rhino safari, even if it was with camera. I doubted there was time to get any kind of permits to kill either, not that I wanted any killed but saying so would make for good cover. But then I was sure that there were poachers who could arrange it.
At 1330 Hanna, Sylvester and Megan Keith (the makeup girl) stepped off the elevator. Then the search began for a suitable location with the right light and sound reflection qualities. Every place we tried has some kind of problem; echoes, tones, feedback from office equipment and noise from gym.
It was funny how over the years we had gotten used to it and didn’t bother us, yet the TV equipment picked up on it.
There was only one place left that had none of that noise and static and also plenty of lighting, and that was the command center.
We went down to check it out after I gave them specific instructions, “You cannot film any of the equipment or take photographs of the monitors,” I told them.
It worked out great with the camera man filming towards the seats. With the swivel seats and Hanna on one side of the isle and me on the other, we could angle and face one another and still both be in the camera.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.