Book 2 Chapter 174

Sunday morning after breakfast I went to the Oval Office and read the new reports. The C5 bringing the bodies had been delayed in Germany and was not going to land in Dover until Monday at 1800. That delay was to allow the morticians more time to clean up the bodies and perform DNA test on body parts.
It would allow the families time to come to Dover if they wanted. It also gave me a day to spend with the family they could wait and go home tomorrow morning.
We went swimming in the private presidential pool for several hours before lunch. After lunch we played games in the game room with the boys. They had supper with me and we had a good night together.
With the family gone I started Monday’s routine only to be interrupted by Troy.
”There are four senators in the lobby anxious to see you,” he said
”Ok send them in,” I said.
”Senator Harcourt, Senator Johnson, Senator Williams and Senator Bright how you today?” I said.
”We are fine. People are mad, others are worried that you may lead us into an extended Middle East war again,” Senator Johnson said.
”There will be no extended Middle East war – I can assure of that,” I said.
”The Senate is going to take up your request and vote on the authorization after lunch. The Navy is sending someone to give testimony and update the Senate on the crew and the condition of the ship,” Senator Williams said.
”That someone is the Chief of Naval Operations and he has classified video of the attack. It is not for those that are weak in the stomach,” I said.
”Just where and how did you get video?” the Senator asked.
”It’s from the JBG fast ships under contract to the OPEC five. Vicky had to get the King’s approval to allow it to be released. All the fast ship crew wear Go-Pro cams on duty. It works similar to a body cam worn by police officers. It allows the job to be critiqued on attitude and efficiency or problem child.”
”The House is voting before lunch. There are several opposition groups there,” Senator Williams said.
”The Chief of Naval Operations should be showing the film in a few minutes there. There was a hold up with some of the members wanting to release the film to the public.”
After much bickering and grandstanding for the cameras, they were allowed back in. Special interest groups that some of the members were indebted to finally gave in and the House passed the resolution at 1145. The vote was four hundred for and thirty against with five voting present.
The Senate didn’t have the problems the House did. The Sergeant at Arms ran the media out, closed and locked the doors and turned off all recording devices.
The piece of film that we had chosen to be shown to both houses was from Squadron Six. Squadron Six was a six ship unit under the command of Commander John Fitzgerald, he also was the captain of ship six. There were three six ship squadrons at Ad Damman. Vicky was now getting the ship numbers into the contract numbers.
Lt Mickey Butler was the weapons officer. The weapons officer could pilot the ship when any of the fixed weapons were fired.
The fixed weapons were two Hellfire missiles, one on each side of the overhead. In between the Hellfires were 12 improved Hydra Seventy rockets. The Hydra Seventy rocket started its life as a dumb fin stabilized rocket that had to be carefully aimed at what you wanted to hit.
The Hydra Seventy rockets that JBG had were advanced models modified at the Israel Mossad secret research facility. They were still fin stabilized but now had target acquisition and lock on target ability. They were a foot longer than the original version.
Mack Rubble was the Mark 38 chain gun operator on the port stern. The Mark 38 was 25 MM or 95 caliber with an effective range of ten thousand feet and a maximum range of twenty three thousand feet. As a chain gun it was battery powered – in this case from the ships 24 volt power system.
Jeff Briggs was the operator on the twin fifty mounted on the on the starboard stern. He was also in charge of the depth charge rack.
Billy Hammond was on the bow Mark 38 chain gun. Eddie Foster was the odd man out; he was responsible for the engines and filled in any gun position on the ship.
We chose the helmet video of Commander Fitzgerald because it was the most complete video of the thirty minute attack and response. Squadron six was in the transition area with the other seven ships and the Hammann and maintaining position with the engines.
”What the hell was that?” John said.
”Missiles 11 o’clock, four helicopters, Iranian fast boats coming at 10 o clock,” Billy yelled.
”Battle stations, lock and load, belt in; going to full throttle,” John ordered.
”Ad -Dam control we need back up NOW; we are under attack, helicopters and Iranian fast boats,” he radioed.
Lock and load puts a round in the chamber; at that point the gun is ready to fire when the trigger is squeezed. All the guns are aim-able on restricted turret mounts limited by their location on the ship. For instance, the bow gun has a sweep of two hundred and twenty degrees.
Each of the stern guns has a sweep of roughly one hundred and eighty degrees. Two guns could be fired on any target by positioning the ship at a slight angle, easily done with the drive units on the ships. It could actually crab sideways.
Each of the gun mounts had an operator’s half seat with a safety belt. When all five thousand horsepower was put to the propellers, you better be belted in and hanging onto something.
”Squadron six – battle stations, attack targets at 10 o clock, fire at will, fire for effect; this is no drill!” ordered Commander Fitzgerald.
As commander of the squadron his head was on a swivel. He was looking for the backup and to see if any Iranian boats were anywhere else on the radar.
He was looking at the helicopters when the missiles from the Hammann took them out. He followed the missiles fired from the helicopters as the close in defense took all but one of them out.
He had the overview of the JBG ships destroying the Iranian fast boats and the four missiles from the fast boats getting through the close in defense systems. The Iranians had fired sixty missiles. It was a swarm offense strategy; fire missiles and then run. They had not planned on the JBG ships being there. They lost eighteen of their twenty boats.
”Ships one, two and three make sure the Iranians in the water are all dead. Ships four, five, seven, eight and nine render assistance to the Hammann – fire up the fire pumps and help them fight the fires,” Fitzgerald ordered.
The House and Senate were not the only things happening on Monday; it in fact started on Saturday after the attack. Every base went into full combat mode.
Tugs were pushing fuel barges to fill the tanks on ships that had been notified for departure. Refrigerated trucks were carrying provisions to fill freezers and food lockers with whatever the cooks thought they needed.
It takes an unimaginable amount of food to feed 4700 hundred men and women on an aircraft carrier. The kitchens never shut down, operating twenty four hours a day.
Barges carrying ammunition, rockets, missiles and bombs were filling the magazines. Medical supplies were being checked, the pharmacies were filled with supplies from lists that had been generated over the decades.
It was a huge task to outfit a task force to go to sea and keep it at sea. There were replenishment ships that delivered food and materials to them at sea. That was the job of the Sea Lift Command, another part of the Navy that was always on the short end of funding. When the Navy needs them, they are leased.
For refueling that many ships crossing the Atlantic going into the Mediterranean and through the Suez Canal to the Indian Ocean, the Navy seized – force leased – the Esso Atlantic carrying light fuel oil to Galveston Texas.
It was to sail in a box in the area of Ponta Delgata and refuel all the petroleum powered ships. They would then sail into the Indian Ocean and the Saudi’s would supply fuel while they were there.
In the Pacific the Sunoco Ocean Blue was contracted in the same way. It was to sail in the area of Palau for the ships coming from the west coast and Pearl Harbor.
The Senate passed the resolution eighty five to fifteen, authorizing a military response and additional funding for the DOD.
As I left the White House, anti-war demonstrators were picketing in the street and had been all day. It wasn’t unexpected; Robert had intercepted a broadcast from Tiam with a message from the General. It was a general directive to their affiliates and activists to bring political pressure against the US government and the governments of our allies through marches and protests.
At Dover the C5 was going to be an hour late. The families had all flown in to see their loved one arrive. It was going to be a gut wrenching afternoon and evening.
The Secretary of defense, Sectary of the navy and the Chief of Naval Operations plus my close staff were with me.
I talked with every one of the family members that were there, a Chaplain was with most of them offering condolences and prayers and I prayed with them. I added my own private prayer.
I prayed for guidance and wisdom for the upcoming operations. I prayed that the military losses be few. I prayed that our missile defenses worked perfectly and that the laser weapons lived up to the sales pitch. They say Eisenhower prayed on the morning of D Day and that Patton ordered prayers at the battle of the Bulge so I felt it was OK if I prayed.
Finally it was over; the caskets all unloaded and the grieving parents comforted as best we could. There are some things that happen in life we never forget; for me this was one of them.
The ride back to the White House was quiet no one felt like saying much of anything.
At the White House the demonstrators and news people were still there. Still trying to make the world in their vision.
I made a VCATS call to the girls. I wanted to know about the arrangements for the three JBG men killed and the conditions of the wounded. The bodies were back. They came in the cargo bay of a commercial plane; United flight 651. The girls and Andy handled it all this time. I wished I could have been there to help but as I listened, I knew it wasn’t necessary.
I would see them on Wednesday night, they were coming with me to another fund raiser. All this would soon be history; there were less than sixty days to the convention.
On my desk was a note that there was to be a visitor late today. It was a Navy seaman from Norfolk. He had left a box that was now being checked for contamination by the FBI. They would have it back sometime tonight.
To take that long it must have been a big box or else whatever was in it was complicated.
I showered and went to bed after one more call to the girls.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.

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