At 0630 I was eating a light breakfast and reading the morning updates. The bombing had resumed at 0001 as I ordered. The Navy and Air Force had split up the new targets plus there were over a thousand new ones picked out by the analysts who had studied all the photographs during the heavy bombing stand down.
Another report indicated the ground forces had gained another one hundred miles before stopping and waiting for fuel and logistics to get to them.
There were dozens of pictures of the oil wells and refineries. Years ago the Iranian Republican Guard had stationed thousands of soldiers in the region, primarily to end union organizing and strikes for higher wages and benefits.
Hundreds of oil field workers were summarily executed for union organizing, participation in union activities or even discussing a union. There were barracks, exercise fields, administration offices and a grave yard. When Iran began the training exercises, all the troops assigned to the oil fields were shifted to the war games. They never returned; instead they were sent to one of the growing bases near the border.
Because we wanted to avoid a repeat of Saddam Hussein’s mass environmental destruction in the first Gulf War, we had been watching the oil fields and the refineries with satellite and spy planes since the attack on the Hammann.
The Special Forces from USS Boxer were actually in the marshlands near the oil fields and refineries observing. Those Special Forces reported to Rear Admiral David West. Admiral West certainly had access to plenty of firepower if something looked to go wrong for those embedded forces.
There had been no sign of any troops there. During the lull in the bombing several non-military vehicles made trips to the administration building. We were trying to decide if the buildings were to be targets for missiles or to let troops take the area. The Army and Marine units would overrun the area within hours. They were less than a day away.
We decided to let Marine General Downs, Army General Irons and Rear Admiral West make the final decision. They were on the USS Boxer – now the command center for ground forces. They knew our concerns. The Boxer was sailing in a box in the Persian Gulf directing the ground troops.
It was 1000 and all the phones started ringing. We had sent the activation orders to thirty eight state states by special couriers. Apparently they were now being delivered and several Governors were upset.
The first one that passed the gauntlet to get to speak to me was the governor of New York. ”I am not going to allow the New York National Guard to be activated to go to the front. I am going to court today for an injunction,” he said.
”Before you do that you need to have your State Attorney look at Title 10 Presidential Reserve call-up authorizations and policies. I am not calling up National Guard front line combat troops. I am calling up Transportation units, Military Police and culinary units. ”
”There are a large number of Iranian military that have surrendered and need to be held in POW camps for a short period of time. We cannot tie up soldiers needed at the fast moving front. The prisoners need to be guarded and they need to be fed.”
”The resupply lines are getting longer daily. The transportation units being called up are for moving men and materials to that front,” I said.
”I hope you review Title 10 and reconsider but make no mistake – the units that been called up are going one way or the other,” I added.
I already knew that any challenge would have to be done in Federal court. The White House and military lawyers had already double checked the Title and previous court decisions regarding challenges.
Another ace in the hole I had was a subsection in Title 10 regarding equipment of the state’s National Guard. It belonged to the Army and had to be returned to the Army whenever it became unwanted or a Guard base closed. With a simple stroke of the pen the Secretary of the Army could have any of it recalled within hours.
If the Governor of New York refused to activate his forces I would issue orders to General Harridan to collect all the guard equipment in New York and return it to the Army. In two days it would be in Iran used by the Army – all of it portable kitchens, bulk foods, tents and much more.
I had to repeat the conversation with six other governors. They were easily convinced to allow the activation of their Guard units.
The Air Force C17s were going to be busy for a few days, but it would solve a growing problem. In the first five days of the ground offensive the troops had gathered ten thousand prisoners. They were hungry, suffering from shell shock and ready to give up.
They had not received any food or fresh water since the bombing campaign began. Supply trucks were the random trucks the Navy and Air Force had been picking off like a turkey shoot.
The prisoners the troops were capturing were from small military outposts, highway checkpoints and the small villages that were scattered all over southern Iran.
All the big military bases had dozens of missiles plus the MOABs dropped on them. It was still a question mark on how many Iranian soldiers had died. How many that survived was even a bigger question. Huge numbers of Iranian soldiers were not showing up on the satellite or pictures from the SR72 spy plane.
The new SR72 spy plane could fly higher than the old SR71. It was reported – but never confirmed – it flew in excess of one hundred thousand feet and was capable in emergencies of speeds of over five thousand miles an hour. That was faster than the new Chinese hypersonic antiaircraft missiles.
The revolutionary new cameras systems were so good that the analysts who looked at the pictures joked that they could tell what kind of nipple piercings the topless ladies on the French Riviera were displaying from fifty thousand feet.
Always before in their bravado they boasted of a million man army. So far we had captured fifteen thousand. Either missiles or MOABs had killed a major portion of their army. My money was on the MOAB. That is why we used the MOAB immediately after the Navy air campaign – to catch them still in the bunkers and air raid shelters.
The other possibility was there were a lot of Iranian soldiers in unknown hidden bunkers and dug out mountain hide-outs waiting to surprise us.
Maybe the intelligence group questioning the prisoners we had might shed some light on the subject.
At 1600 I left the Oval Office for a quick supper and an hour in the presidential fitness center. Then I studied more of the information for the debate. It was late when I turned in.
It was early when I got up. I called my mates and family on VCATS from my bedroom. We talked until 0700; it was an informative talk. The JBG men who were killed had all been laid to rest, many with military honors.
Tomorrow Marcy, Ching Lee, Vicky and Jenny were going to Pirates Bank at Thimble Shoals for the monthly meeting. They were carrying more diamonds and gold bars. I’m sure Marcy has a plan on how to spend it to offset it.
I read the updates from Iran; the front line troops had a quiet night. They were waiting for logistics to catch up. That would be another day before it happened so they were in a holding pattern to rest up.
The Generals and Admirals on the Boxer hatched a plan for those troops at the very front that had seen the most miles. Their territory gains would have made Patton proud. For the better they all got hot breakfast and not MREs. They were delivered by Navy personnel from the carriers.
There was no shortage of big Black Hawk helicopters – many with no seats – to move cargo. The Navy cooks on all the carriers cooked huge pans of all kinds of breakfast food; eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes, ham, toast, fruits and coffee and kept all of it hot somehow. The Black Hawks made hour and thirty minute runs to the front.
To my dismay reporters were allowed to go but it worked out as a PR event, especially when the few prisoners still with the front line troops were given hot food and coffee.
I spent the afternoon back on calls with governors. My staff handled most of them; a few I had to handle. The Governor of New York called to tell me they were not going to court. I knew he would come to his senses after reviewing Title 10.
After calls to my mates I was a lot happier. They were going to start spending nights with me again. The rush of things that kept them at home had eased off. All of them had expanded their staff to ease the workload.
I went back to the information for the debate and studied until I went to bed.
Friday morning was a rush again – the Generals had big folders of information for me to review. The day’s break in action had allowed portable fuel tanks to be moved to the front. More armored personnel and tanks had been moved to front lines.
The real kicker was the combat construction teams were rebuilding an Iranian airport close to the front lines with a runway that would be capable of landing a C17, C5s and C130s. Their work would be done today.
The base there had been cleared of Iranian soldiers the day before and it was one of the airports that had been hit only with missiles, so the runways were usable.
There were several dozen airports that the runways had been spared bomb and concrete busting missiles hits. The fuel systems were also spared. The generals had plans to utilize them as the front advanced.
My afternoon finished out with a group of Senators and Representatives and a bill signing presser. Congress had made changes to the three bills that I wanted. The press conference would make everybody happy.
An hour later I was back studying. Tomorrow was Friday, my mates and our kids were coming to stay the weekend and accompany me to the debate.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.