Even after all the time on the planes, I was up at a reasonable time. I had slept with Marcy. She wanted to cuddle for a while and I felt the baby kick a couple of times. We were affectionate, lightly talking and holding for the better part of an hour.
Today’s dress was another tee shirt and a pair of shorts over a bikini bottom. I had promised the boys I would go snorkeling with them.
All of us went to the cafeteria for breakfast. Today it was cooked under the watchful eye of the White House chef with an agent looking on.
I was surprised to see Bob Short – owner of Bob’s Construction – sitting at one of the tables, drinking coffee and looking at building plans.
While the chef was making our breakfast, I took my cup and sat at his table.
‘’I see Lorrie got some strings pulled to get your men here to work on our project,’’ I said.
‘’Yes, she wants the four cottages finished as soon as possible. The Island approved contractor had to hire us as subcontractors. It got us away from the cold ass crappy weather we are having at home. They do have some strange construction practices here to deal with for the storms, took a little getting used to,’’ he said.
‘’Three quarter plywood with half inch concrete board on top of that, adhesive back rubber shield and the vertical laths with concrete siding over that on two by eight wall studs on twelve-inch centers seems like overkill. And then there are the galvanized metal brackets at every joint on top of driven piling with steel plating and double cross bracing. And, the roof system is even heaver,’’ he said.
‘’They need these building codes in our hurricane zones. It would eliminate most hurricane damage,’’ he said.
‘’That would kill the building trades in the south-east, the storms supply steady work and billions for insurance companies,’’ I said.
‘’The accommodations could be a little better, but no-one is complaining. What is that, an off-shore oil rig support barge Lorrie has us staying on?’’ he said.
‘’You will have to ask her; I was out of details for that loop,’’ I said.
I had not seen what they were talking about, but I did know it was tied up over by the maintenance building so the paying customers would not be complaining.
‘’Did I tell you I love working for you? I never know where we will be working or how much rush it will be under, but it is always interesting, working here is a nice break,’’ he said.
‘’I have a bunch of jealous crews at home. The guys have been sending them pictures of the progress. Of course, they have been sending them pictures of working in shorts, and bonfires on the beach and an occasional scantily clad lady or two. Pictures of the fishing trips didn’t help either. Then again, no-one has complained about not getting overtime,’’ he said.
‘’I may have to rotate crews out to keep the peace at home,’’ he added.
‘’Do whatever you have to do,’’ I said.
‘’Just keep your passports up to date. There may be some management type things for you to oversee in Nigeria and Cameroon later in the year,’’ I said.
Breakfast was ready and that ended the conversation. I had just finished eating when an agent placed today’s updates and intelligence reports on my table.
I took a table that had been vacated and cleaned and read the updates. Two more cruise ships – filled to capacity and over – had left Hawaii for California last night and two more would make the trip this morning. One pair of the Japanese ships had unloaded survivors last night and had left port for the return trip at 0400.
The second pair of Japanese ships would arrive from Hawaii at 1000 today. Camp Parks was full. Last night’s arrivals and all from now on were going to Camp Pendleton. Sixty thousand had been transported to the states in the last twenty – four hours with ten thousand on ventilators sent to various Midwest hospitals.
Camp Pendleton was still putting up tents and scrounging the nation for equipment. So far food was not a problem – medical equipment and staff was.
Another report said that the Longshoreman union was walking off the ports and going on strike at 1200 California time. Now was not a good time for them to try my administration.
The executive order and the national emergency declaration I had signed extended the existing contract for one hundred and eighty days. They were quickly going to find out I was not beholding to the unions as other presidents had been.
I made a conference call to the Justice Department that included Marty Coeburn of the FBI, Eric Roberson DHS and Tim Hayes of the Federal Marshal service. Federal Judge Dwayne Hovator would sign several orders if they did strike after my call to activate the process.
One was the arrest all the union leadership of all three unions. They were to be placed in solitary confinement and were to be held under a no bail order.
The other was an order decertifying the three Longshoreman’s unions. Decertifying them would end union dues, union provided health benefits and most of all, union work rules.
Another judge would reinstate all of that under appeal in a few days, but it would be an immediate wakeup call for the unions.
With all the family and security along, we went to the dock. It took all six of the clear bottom boats for all of us. Two of the boats were Secret Service and two were Navy Seals.
Ziva, Abra, Farah and Sanaz – the four former Mossad ladies who were my JBG personal body guards – were along. It was the first time all four of them were together in a while. Usually, they were split on different shifts. Today was the first time I had seen all of them in bikinis with gear on.
They had a combat knife strapped to each thigh, on a belt at their waist was a semiautomatic pistol in some kind of thin tearaway plastic wrap – it could not be fired underwater. With the characteristics of the water a bullet would only travel a few feet and the shock wave from the explosion could be deadly. But the instant they above the water they were armed, ready to fight.
For three hours we snorkeled with the boys showing me all the new things they found yesterday. We swam all around and in the newly sunken boats. They still had the steering wheels and controls in them.
We took turns staying in the boat with Sara and Takeo. It would be a couple more years before they would be big enough to snorkel.
As a group we had a lot of fun. The Secret Service agents swapped out with the ones in the boats so they could all spend time in the water.
After the swimming and lunch, it was down the beach so the kids could build sand castles and play in the shallow water. We made sure we were away from the cottages – far enough so we would not offend anyone – and we girls worked on our all over natural.
We talked a lot of JBG business and how Marcy’s acquisitions were coming along. I found out Lorrie and Vicky were now involved in some additional pieces. I listened as they described the companies they were after.
They had plans to move all the corporate offices of all those companies to the new towers when they were completed. Marcy had plans to sell all the high dollar real estate those companies owned in some of the most lucrative markets in the world.
She was planning on recouping as much capital out of those companies as possible. Those decisions were always driven by the needs to impress stockholders and major investors. Then I begin to wonder if the two towers were going to be enough.
We played and sunned all afternoon on the beach, finally going to our cottage at 1800. The boys were dog tired. Takeo and Sara had napped for a couple hours in the back of a gator with a sun canopy on it in the breeze. It felt good to lay in the sun even though we went through a full bottle of sunscreen. A natural tan was just so much better than the tanning booth.
The chefs were working on supper, the salad was on the table waiting for us to sit down. The boys were big enough to sit at the table. Sara and Takeo were in high chairs getting finely cut up salad and doing their best to master forks.
I was surprised when the waiter brought out several Texas onions cooked to perfection. I guess that meant that Lorrie had upgraded the kitchen. The cooker in there before could only do the small things like fries and onion rings because of the tray size.
To do Texas onions one had to have a large tray, so the onion could relax and spread out while it was cooking and to do several at a time took a big tray.
Jenny must have chosen tonight’s menu – it was steak – large ones with sweet potatoes, green beans, peas and warm rolls. I would need to use the exercise room tomorrow for sure.
After supper and a period to relax, it was time to MTAC with the leadership of Camp Parks and Camp Pendleton for today’s progress on the evacuations. I added Eric to the MTAC because DHS and FEMA were under his office.
First up was the team at Camp Parks. Army General Samuel Paulson was the new commander of Camp Parks. Also sitting in on the MTAC was Dr. Davidson from John Hopkins – who had sent every doctor from their respiratory unit and their burn unit to Camp Parks and Pendleton.
‘’An experienced rated estimate of those we have seen that require use of respirators for therapy, they will need to use them for two to four weeks, maybe four to six more weeks for full recovery,” the doctor said.
‘’The patients that the burn unit has seen are six months to a year to recovery,’’ he said.
‘’The NIH has put together a team to coordinate with burn units nationwide to take the burn patients, dozens were flown out today and several hundred will be tomorrow and more the following day. That process will open up about a thousand cots at Parks. Things are tough and there is a lot of despair and pain,’’ he said.
At Camp Pendleton, two star General Lacy Williams oversaw the new camp for the volcano survivors.
‘’Forty thousand have been placed here in the last two days. We currently have tents set up and logistics in place for sixty thousand more. We are out of the hurricane tents and will begin to assemble all the military battlefield MASH tents we have. The Marine bases are sending all they have. Some are arriving tonight and more tomorrow. Cots are running low as are hospital type beds and we simply aren’t finding any more,’’ General Williams said.
The next call was to the USS Reagan for the commanders to give an update. ‘’The USS Shaw and the USS Downes will be out of the dry dock in three days. The repairs to both were nearly complete. There is enough fuel on them for two days sailing and enough fresh water in the tanks to get the boilers up and running. Once they are out to sea they can make more water,’’ Admiral Petty said.
‘’The emergency generators for the dry dock were not running when the volcano hit. They are manual start up with manual transfer switches; they were started and checked out today. They are removing repair equipment that was still in the dock tomorrow. Then the dock will be flooded and the gates removed. Manpower to operate them will be pulled from the destroyers that are escorts for the carriers,’’ he said.
‘’Cruise ships left for the west coast with twenty five thousand today. There are still fifty thousand on the carriers and the Seabees located another fifty thousand in buildings today, MRE’s and bottled water were dropped by helicopter to them. They will be carried to ships tomorrow. The troops will finish the search area tomorrow,’’ he said.
‘’With the cruise ships returning tomorrow and the ones we have here, there will be eight that we can transfer survivors to – or about forty thousand people,’’ he said.
‘’So, you are still going to have sixty thousand to put on ships. I’m not sure there will be enough cruise ships to make the circle before the storms hit. You may end up making the run to the west coast with them on the carriers,’’ I said.
‘’We are watching the storm, it’s going to be tight for everything,’’ he replied.
‘’We will run out of body bags tomorrow and there are still thousands to bury. They have already buried two hundred thousand,’’ he said.
‘’All the body bags in all the US warehouses have been shipped to you. I will make some calls to our European allies to see what’s available. I would hate to order the graves people to physically handle badly decomposed bodies into the trench, it’s bad enough to have to do it with the bodies in body bags,’’ I said.
‘’I understand the C130 deliveries worked out well,’’ I said.
‘’Yes, quite impressive! Everyone was pleasantly surprised. Every carrier received at least two deliveries by C130,’’ he said.
‘’If I can get them, that is how you will get the body bags,’’ I said.
‘’By the way, I know everyone is busy but you need to keep a list of units involved in the graves units and body recovery, they are going to need psychological help and they need extra pay for dealing with that mess,’’ I said.
Even though it was pushing midnight I ordered calls made to NATO Command and had General Ingrams call US military bases in Europe looking for bags. I ordered them to get me the number available and then to get them loaded on a cargo plane immediately. I wanted them delivered to the MACS base in California tonight.
Then I called British Prime Minister Attenborough and German Chancellor Hermann and asked the same question.
I had more family time while I was waiting for responses and then I decided to let the night military duty team take a message. And then, I called it a night.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.