At 0900 I was in the command center with a couple of aides who were going to take notes for the official records.
”Good morning Madam President, how are you doing this morning? According to the early morning media the campaign fundraiser rally last night was a gangbuster event,” General Ingram said.
”Yes, things went well! They were a good crowd,” I said.
”The commanders in the field want to begin working around the edges in the Northern sector. There are hundreds of small towns and villages that they want control of before they take on the remaining big cities.”
”Bringing those into the fold will eliminate the cities being able to draw reinforcements from them, cut off communications and possibly lead to a quicker end,” he said.
”That sounds like a good idea and there would be a much larger force to put against the cities when we decide to take them. When do you plan for them to start?” I said.
”As soon as I dial the phone,” he said.
How many prisoners have we captured so far?” I asked.
”A little less than fifty thousand,” he answered.
”Makes you wonder where the million man army went to,” I said.
”The prisoners are all saying the same thing – the troops sent to check known bunkers and bases collaborate that – tens of thousands died in the deep bunkers that they thought would survive a nuclear blast. Seismic bombs did their job and collapsed the ground and rocks on top of them,” he said.
”It would be nice if we had solid evidence. We can get that after the war ends with investigative teams,” I said
”That is all I wanted; I’ll go make the calls,” General Ingram said as he closed the line.
I had to assume – something I never liked doing – that the heavy bombing campaign had indeed killed the majority of the Republican Guard soldiers in the bunkers and other underground facilities.
We spent the rest of Sunday sorting and packing clothes – the proper clothes in which to meet King William and tour Moscow. Moscow was already having cool fall weather. Air Force One was leaving at 0900 Monday to be on the ground in plenty of time to be able to take in some of the sights before dark. Our ambassador to UK was making the arrangements for the sightseeing trips.
Of course there was Presidential business to be done. Air Force One was going to land at the RAF Fairford US Air Force base.
I was going to give the flight crews a pat on the back for the work they had done and the hours they had put in.
At 0600 I was reading the daily updates from the CIA and joint chiefs. We were all packed. It was going to take a dozen trips to carry all the bags to Air Force One.
I had never paid attention to the amount of luggage it took to make a visit abroad until it was stacked in the living room. We were only going to be gone five days; it looked like five months. But then there were going to be twelve of us – six ladies, the four kids and two sitters for the kids.
Believe it or not the flight left on time. That was one thing about the White House travel office; they planned it close and expected things to be carried out.
It was a five hour flight and I spent most of my time in the flying Oval Office.
All of the news crew were allowed ten minutes for an interview. When I was through with them I started with the important things. The updates were on top of the pile. The troops had started, the terrain was difficult and they were meeting some resistance. A10s and helicopters were dealing with the resistance. I expected the final push to get difficult and expected the push into Tehran to be a blood bath.
Adam sent the outline for Saturday’s fundraiser for me to review. I closed the door and used the practice teleprompter to go through it. I made some changes and additions on the paper copy and called Adam on a video call. When we were finished it looked good enough to satisfy me.
I asked if he had received the speech I had written for the convention. It was basically an outline as I had started doing for Adam the last dozen or so speeches. Adam spiced them up and made them crowd moving.
”Yes I got it, doesn’t look too bad. I will work on it and send you the first draft before the end of the week. It’s a very long speech,” he said.
”I have a two hour block of time. I wonder if I don’t need two separate speeches to give? Maybe a break like an intermission between the two,” I said.
”A two hour long speech is very unusual. Most people aren’t long winded enough to give it, plus the audience will soon grow tired listening unless you are a comedian and can keep them laughing that long,” Adam said.
”I can understand all of that. I might be long winded at times but not that long,” I said.
”Adam, take a look, see what you can do with it for me,” I said.
I went back to the presidential passenger section to be with my family. We talked a while about where they wanted to go sightseeing. There would be several hours each day that I would be in classified meetings. There was no need for them to sit around when there was so much to see.
Ambassador Bret Davies’ many assistants were going to take my family to the most popular sightseeing while I was tied up with the Prime Minister and other meetings
The pilot announced the seat belt light was on – we were in the landing pattern for RAF Fairford. A couple of the reasons I chose to land here was not only a short distance from London but the B52 and some B21 bomb groups were temporally stationed here.
The third bomber squadron, second and fifth bomber wing, 420 air base group, B52s and a few B21s were here.
The landing and roll out was smooth as usual. We had to sit a few minutes at the end of the runway while they were getting things ready at the big hangar turned into an emergency auditorium.
We taxied up to the hangar and waited while a portable stairs was placed beside the exit door. It was a freshly rebuilt one with new white paint and red carpet.
My family and staff went down first then me and the final Secret Service agents. At the bottom I went through the routine – a salute to the two Marines that always stood at the bottom of the stairs. Then there were handshakes and smiles for the camera for the pictures that I was sure would end up in the Air Force Gazette.
They informed me there was several news groups – including the BBC and ZNN – who were going to air my speech along with the White House press reporters that were with us. That was more coverage than I wanted but I knew Troy was trying.
”I wasn’t expecting that but I will make do,” I said.
My group was taken inside while I waited with the General for my entrance. I followed them in a few moments later and stepped up on the temporary stage for a short speech.
”Attention,” was called out and everyone rose to their feet.
”Be seated,” I said.
”Several emotions come to mind as I stand here. Immense pride is one them. I am looking at the men and ladies of the greatest Air Force in the world, the best trained pilots, flight crews and maintenance mechanics that can be found. I am proud,” I said.
”I am told that not one bomber scratched a mission in your time here. Fifty sorties a day, every day for the fifty planes. That is over one thousand missions and not one scratch. It is one more thing to be proud of because it proves the quality of our equipment and the knowledge and ability of the men and ladies responsible for it and fly it,” I said.
”That is a lot of MOABs and seismic bombs dropped on the enemy. It’s paying off in the low number of casualties in our ground troops,” I said.
“Envy. I envy you for being able to carry the war to the enemy first hand. You have no idea how hard it is to have to sit behind the desk and wait for updates. I would be much happier to be flying with you or carrying a rifle with the ground troops,” I said.
”I know you are wanting to know how long before you can go home. I don’t know when but soon. I am guessing thirty days. Seventy five percent of our objectives have been accomplished.”
”The Iranian Navy and all of it facilities in the Gulf are destroyed, its submarines sunk, in the Caspian Sea bases and ships destroyed,” I said.
”Its Air Force and bases destroyed, reinforced hangers are destroyed,” I said.
”Their nuclear research centers and many of the scientist dead, the centrifuges and missile manufacturing destroyed,” I said.
”Radar sites, anti-aircraft missiles and anti -missile systems – all destroyed,” I said.
”The IRG war college, command center, weapons research and development and manufacturing, command and control centers – all destroyed,” I said.
”The middle and central regions are under our full control and occupation. Only the northern region is left and the Army and Marines began the assault on that region today with hundreds of A10s and ground support attack helicopters flying over them.”
”Those helicopters and A10s are now being flown from former IRG airfields just minutes from the troops. Supplies for the troops are being unloaded from US Air Force C17s and C5s at those airfields. Heavy equipment is being off loaded at former Iranian docks,” I said.
”The northern region with it big cities may be more difficult but I have no doubts that the Marines and the Army are up to the task with the help of bombers from here at RAF Fairford,” I said.
”I sorry I ran on so long, I know those metal seats quickly get really hard. The news from the front has been too good to not share because you made it happen, thank you for the great work. Thank you for being such an attentive audience,” I said.
”General Brighten, do you have anything you can add?” I said.
”No Ma-am, you covered everything very well,” he replied.
I turned to walk to my group and the motorcade.
Some in the audience yelled ”Eight more years, eight more years.”
I turned to the audience and gave a thumbs up and fist pump and then walked off the stage.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.