Book 3 Chapter 32
I was up early reviewing the latest updates. Dock workers had gone back to work but there was a backlog of ships waiting to unload passenger from the Hawaii mess. To ease the backlog several ships had been sent to the Navy docks.
Troops that had been at Camp Parks were transferred to Camp Pendleton to assist in expanding the camp even further. How much more was needed I would find out at the 1100 conference call to Admiral Petty on the USS Reagan.
The perfect storm of the century was still growing, although the growth had slowed in the last 24 hours. We were down to moving all the ships out in 48 hours. The Naval experts said the ships needed a day to be out of the dangerous leading edge of the storm. The 1100 conference call was going to be a big one with all the experts joining in.
By the time I finished all the updates, the rest of the family and guest s were in the cafeteria. We had a great breakfast – even the boys, Takeo and Sara ate everything on their plate. Marcy and Vicky went back for second helpings. They were eating a lot, but they were eating nowhere near as much as Jenny did.
We walked the beach and sunned, working on our tans. At 1030 I left my mates and kids to make my way to the helicopter pad where the helicopter was going to carry me and my immediate staff to the airport that was fifteen minutes away. Air Force 1 was waiting there. I was going to use the MTAC and secure command link to do the conference.
I was a few minutes early and placed a video call to the Department of Defense’s worldwide weather reporting and forecasting system. I wanted the latest unbiased weather report and forecast for Hawaii.
The storm was moving and was growing again, but its speed remained constant. Sustained winds were clocked by the C130 hurricane hunters at more than one hundred and seventy-five miles an hour, that was as high as the onboard equipment would register. It was a class 5 + storm. The islands would start feeling the effects of the leading edge in forty-eight hours with increasing seas and winds.
High gusting winds were bad news for helicopters and heavy seas were bad news for the landing craft.
At 1100 all the staff and agency heads were on the split screens; it took all the screens in the communications center split multiple ways to accommodate everyone.
First up was Admiral Petty and Generals Mitchell and Emory. The news was better. The four cruise ships from Japan ships left for the California coast at 0600 Hawaii time; that was another twenty-four thousand survivors.
‘’By the end of the day, all those that had survived would be on board ships, there would be no one left in the bunkers and shelters on any of the islands. The thirty scientists and researchers on Midway would be picked up tomorrow morning by a C130,’’ Admiral Petty said.
‘’At first, they were refusing to leave but orders from the National Parks service and the threat of jail time with the loss of any future approvals for scientific missions on federal lands convinced them to leave. The extra time was to give them time to secure their experiments and properly secure equipment,’’ Admiral Petty said.
‘’The destroyers Downes and Shaw left for the California coast yesterday afternoon after taking on supplies from the US Kroger and each taking two hundred and fifty survivors,’’ Admiral Perry added.
‘’How many more are on ships waiting to transport to the mainland?’’ I asked.
‘’Close to one hundred thousand, forty thousand are on cruise ships waiting to be filled to capacity and that should happen before noon, leaving fifty thousand on the Navy ships,’’ Admiral Petty answered.
‘’The graves units and assigned troops were still hard at work burying the dead. The two hundred thousand body bags had arrived. With the rescue efforts now officially over, those troops and equipment were assigned to help the graves units. The commanders promised to have all the dead buried before noon tomorrow,’’ General Mitchel said.
‘’There are no more body bags available. If you run out, just place the dead in blankets or just put them in the trench as is. There is nothing else we can do at this time,’’ I said.
‘’Chester, it looks like there are another one hundred and twenty- five thousand on the way; are there enough the tents at Pendleton to handle this influx?’’ I asked.
‘’Ten thousand today are being moved to hospitals around the nation so that will be a little help. The numbers will be close,’’ he said.
Chester Dickerson was the onsite administer from FEMA.
‘’There are no more large tents available anywhere in the US,’’ Eric said.
‘’Why can’t the healthy ones or those less sick be moved into hotels?’’ someone asked.
‘’I can answer that for you. In lots of states the homeless and immigrants who were temporarily housed in many hotels are taking up fifty percent of the rooms. When bleeding heart lawyers and the courts became involved, the temporary part went away. The funding for all that ends in October with the end of this fiscal year, but the lawyers are still trying the courts for extensions. So far, the courts have denied the appeals,’’ I said.
‘’People travel, especially business people – there must be a certain number of rooms available for that. We cannot fill the rooms up with people who could be there for months,’’ I said.
‘’Another thing is simple logistics. They require medical attention – the hospitals are full – they will be waiting in ER for hours on end. We have medical personnel at the tent cities. Critical care will be faster and better. Food and clothing are supplied there, the restaurants simply cannot handle this influx of people,’’ I said.
The MTAC meeting went on for two more hours. The chef brought me several cups of coffee and a note that said lunch would be ready when I was finished. I expected the meeting to run past lunch and left word for the chef that I wanted a loaded salad and soup.
When all the parties had finally finished, I said “Here are the orders for the military.”
“The survivors on the assault ships are to be the first transported to the cruise ships. Tomorrow at 1200 call off the graves operation and load all the landing craft back on the assault ships. The Seabee equipment is to be parked tightly together so it could be easily found,’’ I said.
‘’At 1800 all ships are to depart the area with the assault ships sailing east-north-east to a distance to be safe from the storm. Any fleet carriers that don’t have survivors are to join with the assault ships,’’ I said.
‘’When the storm has passed the assault ships and fleet carriers with them are to sail back to Oahu and investigate what the storm did to the island and if it is necessary to continue the graves operation. At that time the nuclear weapons are to be removed from storage and loaded onto the fleet carriers,’’ I said.
‘’All the ships carrying survivors are to sail to California. At that time all the cruise ships are to be released,’’ I said.
‘’General Ingram, Eric – we need to plan a survey crew to access what needs to be done on the military bases on Oahu,’’ I said.
‘’Eric you may want to consider taking a couple of Senators from the armed services committees and the DHS committees as part of the survey group. They will be staying on one of the fleet carriers. They are to get no special accommodations and there should be no staff, just the senators and representatives. There will soon be political pressure for answers,’’ I said.
‘’Is there anything that I have missed or any better suggestions?” I asked.
There were no suggestions. ‘’Well then, I guess we are past this part of the tragedy, depending on that the storm reveals. We need to be thinking about a long-term solution for the survivors and what’s left of the island.”
‘’I have one more thing to bring to your attention.’’
“The scientific community has filed a lawsuit in federal court to gain immediate access to the islands, including an injunction to halt your restrictions to gain immediate access. The DOJ is handling the suit for you,’’ Eric said.
‘’That’s all we can do for the time being,’’ I said.
‘’BJ, stay on the line a minute. I need a private chat,’’ Frank said.
‘’OK,’’ I said as the windows were being closed.
‘’Andy and my people finished with the four brought back from Korea, looks like they have adopted the old Iran method of operation. They are planning on kidnapping ambassadors or killing them and support staff. Ours was not the only embassy they were watching. Andy has been updating Vicky while we have been discussing Hawaii,’’ Frank said.
‘’I will notify the other countries intelligence groups and Robert has a lot of data to work with,’’ Frank said.
‘’OK, I will see Vicky in a few minutes,’’ I said.
‘’Oh, according to a note, I saw the White House gate repairs should be finished by the time you return from your vacation,’’ Frank said.
‘’That’s good news, it was nice to work from home but a pain in the ass with all the extra people in the office,” I said.
The helicopter carried me back to the beach house. A Gator carried me down to where my mates and the kids were sunning and playing in the sand. The employees were stacking logs on the beach for a bonfire tonight after the sun went down.
It was a good night with family and friends on the beach. In the cottage I talked with Vicky about the North Korean problem.
‘’I’m going to send ten more security there for a while and Robert is going to send an intelligence person to add some more equipment. What do you want to do with the four we have?’’ Vicky asked.
‘’How high up in the political chain do you think they are?’’ I asked.
‘’Three of them are at the bottom rung – the other was a supervisor,’’ Vicky said.
‘’Off the three, hold off on the supervisor a couple days so I can think about it,’’ I said.
‘’Andy suggested to off all four of them, it took a lot of drugs to get them to talk. Doc Burns thinks their heart and brains are severely damaged,’’ Vicky said.
’’That’s your answer then, have Andy put them in the furnace,’’ I said.
Tomorrow was the last fundraiser while we were on vacation. This one was a short distance away in South Carolina. Three days later it was time to move back to Washington White House.
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Proof read by Bob W.