Friday morning the office started off as a madhouse with things coming from every direction. General Ingram was in first with the logistics update. It had made big improvements in the last twenty four hours. Fifty percent of the guard units arrived this morning in dozens of C5s at the operating airfield inside Iran.
Army and Marine units had covered every inch of the base looking for hiding Iranian soldiers and anyone else for that matter. Every trench, every bunker, every room, nook and cranny had been looked at before the planes were given clearance to land.
The two ammo bunkers each had received several missiles and were now just massive holes in the ground. All the soldiers that had been assigned to this former military airport had scattered after the ammo bunkers were blown up. It seems the commander at the base didn’t trust his men and all weapons were in the ammo bunkers.
With nothing but kitchen knives to defend themselves and no communications, they filled army trucks and started towards Tehran. I was sure they were some of the two hundred trucks the Navy demolished the first day.
C5s and C17s would be hot landing all day – unloading with the engines running – for quick getaway.
More good news from the Navy: ” The entire coast of Iran has been swept by mine sweepers and is now clear. The ports and harbors that we need to use are also clear. The Marines have cleared the town of any arms, explosives and soldiers. Army and Marine troops seized the refineries and oil fields late today. Navy Seals seized all the Iranian oil terminals in the gulf. They have been ordered to double check all the wells and equipment for possible sabotage,” Admiral Browning said.
”The oil field, refinery workers, and the oil terminal workers were glad to see our troops. It seems there was a shortage of food in the associated town. That problem has been solved. The workers are ready to go back to work. The oil terminal will take about a week of maintenance before it will be ready to load tankers,” he said.
”OK, then it’s time to put the oil on the market,” I said.
”I’ll call the State Department and tell them to put the process in the works,” I said.
For the (new) Iran to sell oil on the market, the oil embargoes in place for decades by the UN and the US partners trying to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions would have to be removed. The State Department would have to persuade the involved countries to do that.
China was not part of that group and if it was willing to pay market price it could buy oil. China was going to buy oil anywhere it could; it just as well be Iran now.
The money would be put into an escrow account at the Thimble Shoals National Bank. With it there neither the UN nor any of Iran’s creditors could get at it by suing in international courts, and in the process tying it up for years. Thimble Shoals simply did not play that game.
I was sure there would be plenty of people with their hand out.
Half the oil funds was going into rebuilding Iran. With the military gone and the government corruption gone, it would be more money into infrastructure than ever before.
The other half would go to the US as restitution to pay all the cost of repairing the USS Hammann and this war. It would also pay for whatever troops were left there to keep the peace and see a real democratic government formed.
The goal was to see Iran operating without the influence of the military and the religious fanatics. It was a lofty goal, but worthwhile if it would work.
With the ports cleared, more heavy equipment could unload faster in Iran. The heavy cargo ships were within a day’s sailing of the Iranian ports. They had been loaded out of Wilmington North Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Baltimore and New York terminals two days after the attack.
With the airport functioning, troops from South Korea, Okinawa and California would be on the ground before the weekend was gone. All the logistics for the National Guard would be in place to seal the deal.
All hell was going to fall on Northern Iran starting on Monday. It would not be a good place to be if you were an Iranian soldier or resistance fighter. In the towns and villages the troops had entered, people were surrendering. They were turning in weapons by the hundreds and showing where there were stockpiles of weapons and ammo.
Another batch of pamphlets was going to be dropped on Saturday on territories not yet occupied during daylight hours.
The Navy and Air Force were finding plenty of new targets every day. All the carriers were involved in keeping planes over Iran. Neither the Fordson nor the Thomas had scratched a launch or recovery.
Fleet Admiral Scott was seeing to it that all carriers were getting their fair share of action. All of the Iranian military posts on the Caspian Sea had been demolished, including sinking of Iranian Navy frigates and other small ships.
It was going good, too good, I had expected way more causalities at this point in the war. We had lost less than a hundred soldiers and most of those by stupid accidents or carelessness. War is always conducted in a fog, I once read somewhere. A fog that caused bad judgment, creates hesitation, friendly fire incidents and causalities.
The Navy and Air Force had its share of problems – serious mechanical failures had caused air craft losses. With the Navy it was during launch and landings. An engine problem – once the catapult trigger was pulled – was an aircraft lost.
If the crew was able to be saved you counted your lucky stars. Usually the ejection and subsequent submersion in the water was fatal. I guessed that the ejection left the pilot injured or unconscious; a bad thing when trying to tread water in full gear.
For the Air Force it was always an equipment failure of some kind. I guessed because of the altitude and over land that survivability of the pilots was far greater.
I was meeting in an hour with Secretary Dean of the State Department. He had been working for weeks on an outline for a post war Iran. Putting people together that could over see and implement the plans was turning out to be a monster of a task.
One big problem was communication. After decades of messing in the Middle East, the State Department still did not have enough people who spoke Persian – the official language of Iran. Sure, there were interpreters at various intelligence agencies who fed the intelligence chain, but the numbers were very small.
Interpreters you could trust in that part of the world were few. That one I knew from experience and it seemed like a lifetime ago. They surely couldn’t be trusted to go from town to town to develop aid and administrative policies.
There was one ace in the hole and I hated to even bring it up because it opened more possible conflicts. JBG’s international security department required that all employees speak multiple languages, one of them preferably in the language of the areas where they wanted to be assigned.
Africa, the Middle East and Asia were hazard pay areas plus they were income tax free after six weeks. JBG had hundreds who spoke or could read and write Persian or a Middle Eastern language that was close enough to get by. Dozens more were waiting for one of them to transfer out.
Five hundred a day tax free plus living expenses was nothing to laugh at if you were ex-military, still wanted the thrill and could keep your head on straight.
They were guarding embassies, ambassadors and their families, senators and high level military on fact finding junkets. If you couldn’t understand what the people around you were saying, you could quickly be dead in any of these third world countries.
Vicky and Ching Lee couldn’t hire and train fast enough to keep up with the growing security demands of Andy. Now there was a need for a thousand more for the Cameroon oil field.
Hopefully the State Department would solve their problem and I would not have to get involved.
The media was angry. There were no reporters with the front line troops other than when the twelve on the carriers hitched a ride on a helicopter carrying something to the front. Sometimes they were bringing back wounded or accident injured service men and women. Sometimes they had a chance to interview a few of the troops.
They were carried back to the carriers because each of the carriers had a dozen or more operating rooms, ICU, recovery, x-ray, MRI, blood supplies and more.
The Army and Marines were in the process of setting up field hospitals but serious injuries went to a carrier.
Fleet Admiral Scott had moved several of the carriers as close as safely possible for immediate care for the injured and wounded.
All the media were on the Secretary of Defense demanding that hundreds of reporters be embedded with the front line troops. He called for advisement.
”No – absolutely not. At this time the field officers have enough to do without playing nursemaid to prima-donna reporters looking for their Pulitzer Award. Some whose only interest is to make everyone in the military look bad to get it,” I said.
What should have been a two minute call turned into a thirty minute call before I told him, ”You have your orders and our conversations are not to be a debate. Tell the media the White House will not allow any media at the time. If they are not happy with that they can complain the White House thru the public relations department.”
I was glad to hear the two helicopters landing bring my family to spend the weekend and the debate with me. The Oval Office was closed promptly and on time.
I was glad to see my mates and the little ones! I was ready to talk about things other than Senate and House bills, military and intelligence.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.