Book 2 Chapter 2
The day went downhill from there. Medics with the arriving IDF did the best they could do. Those in the most serious condition had been the first flown out. They put some foul smelling salve on back of Vicky and my neck then wrapped our necks with gauze. The stuff stank worse than the burnt hair.
Vicky and I stayed at the site until all my men were flown out. We were all carried to the trauma center at the huge Haifa medical center. It was one of the busiest trauma centers in the world because of all the continuing violence in the area.
We flew in the chopper with Director Dorin, “I don’t want anyone to know that we captured the two Iranians,” I told him.
As we got closer to Haifa my cell phone started working. I called the girls and Andy back on a conference call for an update; it had been two hours.
“General Ingram called and said we could get the airworthy sealed coffins from the air base outside Tel Aviv. The 737 has been in the air for about thirty minutes. We removed a lot of seats and there is hospital equipment and staff on board. Doc Burns and two of his doctors and several nurses are on board. Two of the county med units EMTs with equipment are on board,” Marcy said.
“WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?” Jenny asked.
I ended the call by saying we were landing and we were. They wanted me to lie on a stretcher but that was not happening, not with my neck so I sat on a gurney as they wheeled Vicky and me in.
Word had been leaked out to the media; they were there in force. My worst nightmares were on display for the world to see live. My dead men were being transferred to the hearse, the severely injured being rushed into the trauma center.
I asked the doctor about the condition of the first three men sent in. He shook his head and said, “It was too late, the injuries too severe.”
“I need to see the bodies, NOW,” I replied.
A Mossad agent walked me to the morgue. I needed to verify who had died and that there was no mix up.
Tom, Alan and Walter – as I suspected – were covered with sheets and in the cooler. I walked out into the hall and made another gut wrenching call to the office.
“Get someone to the families; I want them to find out from us, not a news person. The procedure has been written out; act quickly,” I said.
The procedure was not that complicated; if they were members of a church call the minister to meet the JBG representatives at the residence; have the state police or sheriff’s office to send a unit to keep the neighbors from interfering. A JBG Representative was to stay the day to assist.
All of our HR people had the training on how to handle situations like this, always hoping you never needed it. Today we did.
I went back to the trauma unit to be check out and get updates. My burnt hair was clipped short on the back of my neck and the burn cleaned. Then they removed most of the shrapnel, put in multiple stitches and a better salve applied with new gauze and tape. At least this time my neck was not wrapped like a mummy.
I spent the next hour with men and my Mossad ladies. Like me, they had received only minor injuries compared to some of the men. The six seriously injured and the two Iranians would be able to travel back if all the right equipment and staff were on the plane. The trauma team would not release them until that was verified. The rest of us were discharged, free to leave. The Mossad agents were carrying us to the hotel.
The two Iranians had kicked up such a stink demanding diplomatic privileges that the staff had heavily sedated them; they were out for the count.
I had told Lorrie to send a C130 for them. I wanted them to have a long and bumpy, painful plane ride to Morton to meet the Doc.
Director Dorin handed me a bag as Vicky and I stepped into the helicopter, “This is all the things collected off the two Iranians. You are going to be surprised who you have. Ben said I should ask for an invitation to participate in the interrogation.”
“Monday night Morton, 6 PM sharp”, I replied.
I had the drivers drop me and my remaining security at the US embassy. The next few hours was going to be tied up on MTAC and VCATS.
The first hour was with the girls, it was rough. All the families had been notified and as expected, that did not go well.
With that part of this terrible day past us it was time to put together a news conference that included facts. Washington was still struggling with third hand information; first from the Israeli embassy to the US embassy, then to Washington. I would soon end that. The Israelis had been slow to respond at my request since we were picked up.
With the girl’s help I worded the statement for the news conference and the pictures of the destroyed convoy we were riding in. Once we were finished I added the White House to the call.
I only wanted to tell the chain of events once. When I was finished, the White House decided it would hold off the day’s press conference and do a live feed from the JBG conference with Ching Lee and pick it up from there.
Andy wanted to send a complete new group of security for us. I shot that idea down; we already had too many planes involved in this venture. I was going to take ten from the JBG detachment at the Israel embassy and the Mossad was going to supply ten more. We were only going to be here until Saturday afternoon – a day and a half – we had it covered.
My G5 was staying until the six in the hospital could come home on it.
Back at the hotel room we watched Ching Lee’s press conference and then Harry’s update. Then we watched the local news coverage and their slant on the attack.
Then – for a different prospective – we watch Al Jazeera news and got the other opinion with a chanting mob in the streets of Beirut.
Finally after a solemn supper I opened the bag of items taken off the two Iranian prisoners and started reading. Oh crap!
I reread it all again. Double crap!
It was then that Director Dorin called on the phone; he was in the lobby and wanted to see me.
“We have a problem he said.
“Just one; is that all?” I asked.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.