Book 2 Chapter 173

I opened the folder with the CIA supplied satellite pictures from this morning and handed the two to Frank, “Did you know about the covered boat pens across from AD Dammam?” I asked.
‘‘No, we knew there was construction in the area several years ago, but it was abruptly stopped during the Iran Iraq war. Then there was a group of fishing huts there for a while until they fell down,” he said.
”The fishing huts were cover for what they were really doing. I think you need to have someone go back and look at the whole Iranian coast for abnormalities. I hate those kind of surprises and don’t want to see any more,” I said.
”It is already under way,” he said.
”I think we know where they are headed with all their maneuvers. It also means they have another method of communication other than the General’s coded broadcast by Tiam – likely buried cables. There were no broadcasts from Tiam so you need to look for the connections where they all come together,” I said.
”I will put a specialist on it,” he said as he stood to leave.
A call came in from King Eluad of Saudi Arabia – it lasted thirty minutes – expressing his sympathy for the losses on the Hammann. When the call ended I had an agreement from the Saudi’s to furnish fuel for the fleet and additional bases for the US forces to use.
Next in were the Joint Chiefs for the second time this morning.
”All leaves have been canceled and those on leave have been recalled to their duty stations. The other orders you wanted are in the works,” the Chief of Naval Operations said.
The other orders were ”I want the Stennis and its task force, the Thomas and its task force at sea in three days.”
That was the time it would take to finish the nitpicky things the uniforms wanted done from the overhauls.
They also needed to load fuel, arms and food. The same would apply to the escort group of destroyers, guided missile cruisers and submarines. The air groups would land on carrier deck once they left port.
In the Pacific the Reagan task force was ordered to depart Russia tomorrow and refuel the aviation tanks, take on additional weapons and supplies at the naval base in Japan and wait for additional orders.
The Roosevelt task force was ordered to depart for the coast of East Africa in three days. The Lincoln task force was ordered to depart for India in three days. In seven days all the carriers would be within two days sailing of the Indian Ocean if a call to action was ordered.
That would leave only the Fordson – with all its problems – at the docks.
The next one for the hot seat was the State Department. I listened for thirty minutes while Secretary of State Dean read messages from various allies and from countries aligned with Iran.
All of those that were allied with Iranian were urging that the US use restraint in responding to the Iranian attack. Some were even pressuring that we take no actions. I ordered the Secretary of State to advise all our allies to remove all citizens from Iran.
Even though I couldn’t say it out loud, I had shown all the restraint I was going to show when I had not pushed the nuke button ten minutes after the attack. Absolutely everything else was on the table.
The Generals laid out the general plan for a retaliatory military action. The Navy was up to bat first and second then the Air Force third, fourth and finally the Marines and the Army.
The Marines were leaving in the amphibious assault ships by the end of the week. The amphibious assault ships in the Atlantic ports would follow the same route as the carriers.
The amphibious ships in the Pacific would sail to the Indian Ocean and stand by until the Navy and Air Force bombing campaigns were done.
The close in support would be from the Air Force and Marine A10s and various ground support helicopters. The Army would be flown to Saudi Arabia then ferried across the Strait of Hormuz in the assault ships. I liked the plan.
All the Atlantic Navy task forces would transit to the Indian Ocean through the Suez Canal. The target date for the first round was ten days; that was when all the carriers would be in the Indian Ocean.
The joint chiefs selected the Indian Ocean as the center of activities for the opening round because aircraft launched from there could hit all of Iran without needing flyover permission from countries that were in favor with Iran.
If they were launched from the Mediterranean Sea, they would have to fly over Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan. All of which had people aligned with Iran who would certainly warn them. Plus Iran still had several military bases in Iraq from the supposedly demise of ISIS in the area. Those bases would soon be rubble as would be many more.
I called Frank to come back in and he did quickly.
”I believe there are several sites publishing our Navy’s ship movements every day and one or two doing the same for aircraft. Politely ask them to cease reporting US ship movements for a month. If they don’t, shut down their operations. If all else fails, threaten to have the Air Force destroy the satellites they are using and then do it,” I said.
The joint chiefs, Troy and I looked at the thumb drives Tom had given me this morning of the action as captured by the Go-Pro cams the JBG men were wearing. We were looking for shots that could be released to the media tonight at the 1800 news conference.
Troy had called several key Senators to sit in but none were available. So we did all the work. We picked twenty five stills of missiles being shot down, hitting the Hammann and also Iran’s fast boats be blown to bits. Four of the stills showed the massive damage to the ship.
At 1300 I was walking back to Marine One. I was going back home to eat with the family and then coming back in a couple hours. I was hoping there would be more updates and information.
The Navy was expecting to have a list of the injured and deceased and that was important. Families wanted to know about their loved ones. They needed to hear that knock on the door and be told something.
The flight was quick – too quick – I still had a thousand thoughts rambling around in my mind. Marine One landed behind the office again. This time the customary ambulance and fire engine was there. Somehow I knew there would be a TV camera there – and it was.
I stood waiting for my case as the officers were handing out briefcases and gear through the door. The case I was handed was the football with the pair of handcuffs still attached. People would flip out when that picture was shown.
I was not supposed have access to the case unless it was deemed we were under nuclear attack.
Then the officer holding it would insert his ID card, then my ID card and the case could be opened. Once opened a second ID card from the officer would be inserted, then a second card from me and the case would then go active. I could launch missiles to pre-assigned targets by flipping toggle switches. There were six rows of switches.
I waited for the officer to step out of the helicopter and handed him the case, ”I believe this belongs to you,” I said.
”Yes Ma-am, thank you,” he said.
I walked into the garage that was set up – like we usually did – with tables, chairs and food on four long tables. I was just in time for Lisa to give the blessing for the food, the hands that prepared it, and prayers for the wounded and deceased.
I helped fix plates for JJ and RJ before I fixed my own. My family, mates and I were at one table. Jason, Lisa, Jake and Mindy with her twins were at another.
The food was good, really too good. I ate too much. All the agents had an over flowing plate as well.
My phone was beeping with text messages. Most of them I could put off to later, but one or two I had to respond to, I made the answers short and sweet.
Two hours later I was back in Marine One. The rest of the family was coming over in two of the 406s later for the fireworks. I spent the trip sending text messages.
Back at the Oval Office the Navy had left two lists on my desk. One was the injured and a short assessment of their injuries, the other a list of the dead, their home towns and rank.
` I looked through the injured list. Most of the serious injuries were burns from the missiles exploding, concussions and injuries caused by flying debris. These had been transferred to hospitals in the area.
The C5 set up as an air-medic from Germany was on the ground with a full medical group aboard. Those that could be moved would be in the Army Hospital in Germany by midnight. The hospital and its doctors were the best at caring for war injuries.
I looked through the list of those killed, first on the list was Captain Wallace Binghamton and Commander McHale; both were killed when the third missile fired by the Iranian helicopters hit the bridge. The other ninety eight were from different sections of the ship.
An attached note said clergy and officers had started to notify the families. The bodies were coming into Dover tomorrow morning after a stopover in Germany for the forensic people to take DNA and tidy up the bodies first.
I wrote the statement that I was going to give tonight at 1900. The fireworks were to start at 2100. I thought it appropriate that there be time between them.
I had thirty minutes to get ready. I went to dress better than I was. At 1900 I walked to the podium as the last notes of Hail to the Chief drifted away. I gave the speech I had written.
I spoke for fifteen minutes heaping praise on the founders of our country and the celebration of our nation’s birthday. I again asked for prayers for the wounded, those that had died and all the families.
I walked back to the Oval Office with my family. We were going up to the balcony at 1945 to watch the fireworks.
Admiral Beck followed me into the office.
”The intel is showing that the Iranians are getting ready to send their submarines out to sea,” he said.
”We need to sink them with all the ships headed in that direction. Do we have any hunter killer submarines in the area that can go the job?” I asked.
”Yes, there are two in the area that can do the job. The SSN- 790 South Dakota is in the Indian Ocean as we speak and SSN-791 Delaware will be there tomorrow,” he said.
”Issue orders for the South Dakota to sink any and all Iranian submarines as long as they are in deep enough water not to be a marine navigation hazard,” I said.
I joined my family on the White House balcony and watched the fireworks. It was a great show; the boys were excited at every boom and flash. It took Takeo and Sara a while to relax and enjoy.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.

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1 Response to Book 2 Chapter 173

  1. Joe h. says:

    Fantastic 👏 👏 👏 👏
    Glad your home safe & sound for us.

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