It took three hours to finish the paperwork, FAA papers and international transactions forms. The pilots grilled the Boeing people for those three hours over every specialty item built or added to these planes.
Even after the delays with the time zone changes, the wheels touched the Morton concrete at 2000 Saturday evening. I was expecting a nice quiet homecoming, but I was wrong.
The text messages must have been flying as fast as we were. It looked like every JBG pilot and flight attendant that didn’t have anything else to do was here. Jake, Mindy, Dad and Mom, Jason – I could understand to pick up Lisa. As if that wasn’t enough, Hanna and Melinda were there with one cameraman. I wondered about that arrangement.
Another group that was waiting was surprising and I wondered how they knew I was returning home. They were Troy, Frank Love, Eric Roberson, Ben Smith, Marty Coeburn and General Ingram. After a thought I knew they had simply looked at FlightAware. They simply looked at planes with Morton Field as the destination and the estimated arrival times.
The one issue with the 737 was that it took a stairs to exit the plane. There were none attached to the door. We had several of them now; one was the stairs truck and the other two were smaller tow able with a little Duetz diesel in them for power. Military surplus was our source. The pilots must have called for them.
They were towed close to the plane and then the operator could move it into position at a snail’s pace under its own hydraulic power. Those two were waiting with carpets on the top platform and throw carpets on the tarmac to keep mud out of any plane.
Another helpful thing that came with the plane were runners to place on the carpet to keep it clean in bad weather. We thoughtfully placed them where they were supposed to be, where I was sure there would be traffic.
It was 2200 before I walked in the door at home. The feds had wanted to have a quick talk before they left. They wanted to know when I planned to return to DC for my turn in the barrel and wanted a blow by blow of how the General’s death was planned and executed.
I put the trip off until Thursday. I had a lot of work to do for JBG; in fact, all of us girls did.
Thirty minutes in the hot tub and I slept like a baby – all of us did. Breakfast was on the table before JJ and RJ came down half dressed. They wanted to know where we were going today.
I spent the day with Robert going over the details captured from the intercepts for the last three weeks. There were interesting bits in them; some bad, some worse and some just brought more unanswered questions.
The good was the link was still active although there was a reduction for a couple days in posts from the IRG after General Kedar died. The official post had been reduced but broadcast from cells in the US and the world had an up spike.
First there had been tributes to his valor and leadership. But there had been a delay in Iran releasing any details about his death until after the state funeral. There had been some leaks courtesy of what little internet that got around the Mullah’s attempts to block outside news.
The day after his funeral the truth started to get through, although somewhat watered down for a different outcome. He was portrayed as dying fighting for the honor of his country.
The third day after the funeral the full bootleg clip of the fight and his death started going through Iran like wildfire. The official version was quickly muddied about the way in which he died.
There was anger from Iranians in all directions. They were angry at the Mullah’s that had built up their General’s last fight into something that it was not. Then they were mad that someone from the United States was involved. Then they were really pissed that it was just one woman who had killed him. There were challenges to claims of the strength of the Iranian soldiers when a woman had so easily killed the ‘hero general’ without using weapons.
There were demonstrations against the US and calls for my head. The Mullahs called for calm and began a systematic campaign on the state news to deliver explanations.
The overall official explanation was the General was under the influence of heavy painkillers for his back problems. Those painkillers had slowed his responses and affected his ability to defend himself and possible led to the decision to instigate the fight.
Of course there was no autopsy to confirm or deny anything because it was against their religion.
In a few days the anger died away after the Mullahs called for calm and a new commitment to them. There was always the new domestic issue to redirect the attention of the public. This time it was the extension of gas rationing and an expansion into diesel.
The demonstrations directed at the US were why the State Department had officially been quiet. The official statement was that I was to be called by the State Department for a review and questioning and also a possible discharge.
That review was to happen Thursday, the day I told Troy I would go back to DC. It was the headline news story on ZNN this morning.
Another memo came from the IRG was that Major General Adeem Mohamed Bashir had been named to head the IRG intelligence unit. That explained why a folder from Ben-David was in my file box.
The name stuck out like a red flag – Bashir was the last name of the Iranian agent working in the mosque in Paris. I was betting he was a close relative.
It was disappointingly small – there was little information on him. His military record that was available was nothing spectacular. It looked like he had been in intelligence for most of his career and never served in the field – another desk jockey Iranian style. The only thing that caught my eye was that he was seen at the Kremlin KBG offices a couple years ago.
Another memo after his takeover informed the cells there was going to be changes in the command structure and personnel in all foreign cells after the failures at Harrisburg.
The good news was what we thought was a code book in Jaed’s pile of evidence was indeed just that. It had been hand delivered one page at a time by couriers from Canada. The last page was delivered the day before the attack on the barn. The courier had died in the barn.
The courier had delivered contact information for the other cells in the US that Jaed was to use to pass along orders to those cells. The last page had several different emergency communications methods to reach the IRG intelligence group, if normal methods became breached.
The General was in the process of reducing exposure on the dark web. The more you sent, the more the chances of getting caught and leaks. I assumed the same process worldwide would continue with the new commander.
I went to our meeting early where Vicky spent an hour updating information on the training center at Loures, Portugal. The concrete pad had been completed and now the four helicopters were in our own hanger allowing Marcy to cancel that lease.
Three of the individual family houses had been completed and were furnished. One barracks style house would be finished in two weeks another two weeks after that. In a month all of our men would be out of the motel rooms.
While we were playing in Europe and South America HR had been busying doing their thing. The current group at Fort Smith would be completed in two weeks. Many had already chosen where they wanted assignment.
Then there were others, “Send me somewhere – anywhere – I’m ready to go to work,” then to work they were going.
The next two hundred men and ladies were to start arriving the day after the completion of the current class.
A manpower evaluation would be underway soon to determine if a next class was necessary and the size.
Tuesday morning Vicky and I were back with Robert dissecting last night’s flurry of postings from the new general. We were half way through when we decided Ching Lee needed to be here listening to the translations.
After multiple translations, General Bashir was downsizing – starting over it seemed like. Maybe he needed a confidence builder for himself or his masters.
Bashir was going back to where they had success – attacking colleges; the college he had chosen was one where JBG was the security contractor. Bashir was looking to put two feathers in his cap; one for a mass casualty attack, another for getting back at me through JBG.
The college they were looking at was Oklahoma State College. The orders from the General were to begin planning an attack on the college.
After lunch, we girls had another long meeting with Jake. We needed someone to keep us pointed in the right direction with rebuilding the Polokwane company town. There was just so much to do there.
Jake suggested and we agreed to start a group to oversee the general details and develop a plan with a vision of what we wanted to see when the project was completed.
The biggest obstacle was we were dealing with an area where most of the general population was still living in the 18th century; dung holes, latrines, chamber pots – even in the company town. It hadn’t even progressed to the level of personal outhouses yet.
In some instances water was still carried in clay pots slung over the shoulder. A description of the daily diet would be sickening to most of us.
The plan was to move them ahead a hundred years to the levels of productivity and security we wanted.
We were starting first with reliable electricity. The generator had been running all day again; that made four times in the last week.
I sent General Ingram a text, “Find out what kind of electrical service you need for your radar. The service there is fifty cycle. I need to know tomorrow.”
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.