Authors: Steven Linde
Retribution (rev.31), Soldier Up, Book 5
Copyright © 2016 by Steven Linde
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Visit my website at
*You may leave comments on my website.
Follow me on Facebook Author page: Steven Linde
Follow me on Twitter: @lindesteven086
Printed in the United States of America
Word had spread quickly on Fort Huachuca that contact had been made with Washington D.C. and the President of the United States. Everyone on post had questions, but there were very few answers forthcoming. It was fortunate that General Watkins and Colonel Clayton happened to be on post when contact was made. General Watkins was more than happy to take the lead on the call with Washington as the post commander was at North Island visiting Admiral Meyer. There had been some initial contact with someone claiming to be Corporal Byrd from White House Communications. It was lost for some unknown reason only to return almost two weeks later.
They had been able to use the proper authentication over the radio net for POTUS, which was exciting for everyone involved. Rumor had spread over the post that POTUS had actually come on the net to speak to General Watkins and Colonel Clayton who were fixtures now on post. Follow up rumors also had the President coming to visit the post in another week, followed by a series of congressmen and senators; it was starting to feel like the old days. The rumor mill on post was only partially correct. The President had expressed interest in visiting military bases on the West Coast, but no specific timetable had been set and there was no interest to send out anyone from Congress.
Everyone on post noticed that something had definitely changed; the military was no longer in charge, but there would be some civilian oversight now. The various military services had happened in a smart, sharp and in a military manner. They knew they were doing things that they normally wouldn’t, for instance, not apprehending anyone that posed a danger to them or the community; if they were armed and turned that weapon on them they were killed. Killing someone for various capital crimes such as rape, murder, child molestation was dealt with swiftly by a military tribunal. Other lesser crimes such as robbery and assault might be dealt with by kicking them out of the community, taking them to Indian Country and dropping them off and telling them not to come back.
Life for the average civilian any place wasn’t easy; it was a daily grind finding food and water as well as other necessities. They couldn’t walk into a corner market and buy what they wanted because those days were long gone. Meat was expensive as there wasn’t much of it only because it had to be somewhat local to get the meats to the local markets before it went bad. There was no refrigeration for everyone; some people had generators and were able to run some sort of refrigeration device during parts of the day. Fuel was hard to come by and the military had first-come-first-service which means they took it all and then distributed what they could.
The number of aircraft flying into the fort had risen sharply over the past week since contact had been made. Senior officers from all of the services were coming and going all the time and something had definitely changed. Within a month TDY (temporary) orders were being issued assigning them to the 3
Infantry Regiment or something called 1
Combined Expeditionary Force (CFE), which was made up of service members from all of the services. The TDY orders were for ninety days with the option to extend; of course the personnel offices were mindful of families and were looking at possibly looking for volunteers that wouldn’t mind relocating to the Washington D.C. area. Many were all for it as they had relatives back there and wanted to be there for them. However, they were told family conditions in the area were far from those on Fort Huachuca or any West Coast base for that matter.
Life was already hard enough, even for those service members and their families, then to volunteer for something that was going to make it even worse for your family. It was a tough decision that many turned down. There were some that did take it though; the yearning to return to families, assuming they were still alive, and or be closer to where they grew up was a strong attraction for small families that might have only one or two kids. Fortunately for those on Fort Huachuca they didn’t need a lot of signal or intelligence soldiers, but infantry, soldiers and Marines. Camp Parks and Camp Pendleton were moving entire units to Washington D.C. to help secure the city and its surrounding communities.
They also needed enough forces in the area to secure and hold oil refineries and petroleum refining in Virginia, Maryland, and the very few in the Washington D.C area. They also needed to secure many of the cargo ships that were in ports around the areas that were carrying oil or processed oil (gas) that had been sitting in the harbors or off the coast for over a year. It was a dangerous job securing those vessels who were in good or bad condition; some were even so bad they leaked cargo into the ocean. Fortunately, the Navy had been able to perfect the technique of boarding the ships, evaluating them, moving them to a port that could offload the oil or fuel. Unfortunately, there were none of those people on the East Coast. Admiral Meyer was in the midst of pulling in all cargo ships off the coast that had been abandoned, but first they needed to make room in the other ports they were using. He couldn’t spare the teams he had so she sent a group of sailors to train the others, sort of train-the-trainer.
Even though the cargo ships carrying refined oil were not a top priority the military as a whole wanted what was in the cargo containers sitting at each port. There was a very good chance that many of the containers had been looted, but one of the lessons learned on the West Coast was “Don’t assume.” The Army and Marines had found hundreds of containers that were filled with valuable merchandise that could be distributed to the civilian communities. These were valuable lessons that were being passed onto the people in D.C. and Colonel Clayton sincerely hoped they took them to heart. Two battalions of the 184
Infantry Regiment (Airborne) used to be Air Assault, but were re-designated after the event because there were no more helicopters left flying. The Marines sent two battalions also from the 1
Marine Expeditionary Force. These were Camp Parks Marines that had recently relocated back to Pendleton after the liberation of the Camp.
At this time there were no armor or artillery units being moved by train from Fort Irwin across the country to Washington D.C. No one was willing to lose the valuable armor and artillery assets without knowing the status of the states in-between the two coasts. If anything was learned with the fighting of the ISA was that they didn’t have the intelligence network to know what large militias might be out there. There was no point in arming them with heavy weapons because sooner or later the Army and the Marines were going to have to fight them. If there were any threats to the D.C. area they were going to have to make do with what they had. They could bring in a lot by aircraft even smaller artillery pieces. Admiral Meyer and his staff had talked about shipping the heavy weapons, but that would require crossing through the Panama Canal and once again no one knew how that would bode. They would have to send at least two cargo ships and the
to escort them, because for now the
was the only working battleship they had and they weren’t sure it was worth losing it, at least for now.
There were no easy answers for now in getting the East Coast squared away. Many of the West Coast senior staff thought that with the brain trust in Washington they would have been far ahead of their counter-parts on the West Coast, but they weren’t. The military services on the West Coast had been at war for almost a year now with the resources they had. This meant that there weren’t any troop rotations as they were all committed to one action or another. They were only beginning to rotate entire units out of CBAs (combat areas) for some R&R (rest and relaxation) and refitting the unit with fresh troops and equipment. Now those same service members were being called into action once again, but this time across the entire country. There was some sign of burnout amongst the service members and they were being treated accordingly, but as a whole the force was holding up brilliantly. What concerned everyone in the military now was how the civilian leadership, essentially President Washington was going to use them or if it was going to be business as usual.
After the Major’s hand grenade stunt Colonel Magnus still wasn’t convinced that Fort Indiantown Gap was vacant; although he wasn’t an infantry officer and didn’t have much field experience he did have common sense. That common sense was screaming at him not to rush into what could very well be a trap to lure them in. It really wasn’t a secret that they were heading this way and he had lost two more scout teams that were sent here. He had several squads search the area around the Fort to look for any sign of them yet the search area was immense. He didn’t really have the time to conduct a full search and for all he knew they all had gone AWOL taking the vehicle and weapons with them. If that were the case there would be hell to pay as traitors if they were ever caught.
Colonel Magnus thought about how he wanted to approach the situation. After some thought and consultation with his staff he decided he would have the Combat Engineers go ahead and clear the front gate as a diversion while he sent a much larger force to the rear of the camp to clear and enter from there. His hope was that all eyes, if there was anyone home, would be focused on the clearing of the main gate, which he hoped would send the message that once cleared could allow his main force to enter.
Bravo Company, 3
Battalion, 172 Infantry Regiment led by Captain Horatio Li was ordered to set up a perimeter overlooking the main gate. They were to provide security and cover for the Combat Engineers that were going to clear and breach the main gate. Echo Company, 101
Engineer Battalion led by Captain Oregon Gayland was directed by Colonel Magnus to clear the main gate area as expeditiously as possible. Neither Bravo nor Echo Company was told of the plan and that essentially they were bait to draw out the enemy. Both companies were told to be at the LOD (line of departure) in two hours. Unbeknownst to them this would give the main force time to move to positions at the rear of the camp and prepare to breach it.
At 1400 the order was given for Bravo Company to move and set up positions to protect and cover Echo Company. They had one hour to execute that order because at
1500 Echo Company would begin to move toward the main gate to clear it. Captain Li began by setting up machine-gun emplacements around the main avenue of approach to the gate with clear fields of fire to the left and right of it. He had a mortar platoon, which he set up fifty yards behind the machine-gun emplacements. He had spotters set up on either side of the main gate a hundred yards on either side to call in mortar fire if needed. He sent a platoon of soldiers along with the engineers to stand guard over them with orders to stay constantly on the alert. He made it clear to his men that he believed this was a trap regardless of lack of information from command. Captain Li was no one’s fool.
At 1500 the Combat Engineers rolled out to the main gate. They had one M1271 mine clearing vehicle and that was it. It was in good condition when they could get it started, but it was red-lined waiting for parts when the event hit. After the event, it was evident that those parts that would have repaired the problems with it weren’t coming. That being the case the soldier mechanics raided or looted several auto-part stores taking their entire inventory. From that they were able to get the vehicle back up and running somewhat successfully; however there were still problems occasionally. The M1271 resembled a large wheeled bulldozer with a huge rotating wheel that spun heavy duty chains, which eclipsed the ground, which in turn set up any mines. It was designed to move fast and plow through a minefield as quickly as possible. It didn’t need to clear the entire minefield only a path to the gate for the troops to follow.
The M1271 was the only vehicle that the Combat Engineers had moved to the gate to the surprise of the infantry soldiers. It was Captain Gayland’s plan to only use the vehicle to plow through the minefield and then have its momentum carry it through the gate barricade. The M1271 arrived at the near the main gate and started its run fifty yards directly in front of it. It started out slowly, picking up speed with the chains, spinning and flailing, hitting the ground. The chains were thrashing the ground in front of the vehicle that the first several mines it encountered were so badly thrashed by the chains they didn’t explode. As the vehicle picked up speed several of the mines it encountered at about twenty yards exploded, spraying the armored vehicle with dirt and shrapnel, yet it kept moving forward. Approximately every fifteen to twenty feet the vehicle hit a mine that exploded, but caused no damage to the vehicle.
As the M1271 got closer to the gate it retracted the wheel, lifting it over the bulldozer front end. Picking up speed it hit the barricade at the main gate and breached it. Once through it stopped, lowered the wheel and started the wheel with flailing chains and moved another hundred yards onto post. So far they had been successful in clearing a path through the field out and inside the post as well as breaching the gate. The M1271 turned around and headed back down the path. It came with the wheel in front of it still spinning and chain flailing, looking for any mines it may have missed in its path. It returned to its starting point where its engine died. The soldier operating the vehicle tried several times to restart it with no success. “Piece of crap!” the soldier exclaimed, leaving the vehicle where it was at and returning to his platoon.
Colonel Magnus ordered 2
Infantry Regiment led by Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Morris into the breach at the main gate. Captain Li had snipers with M-107 the fifty caliber rifle placed in various positions to cover 2
Battalion’s entrance into the camp. Captain Li had also left in place his machine-gun emplacements with crossing fields of fire to cover 2
Battalion’s move onto post. As of yet there had been no response by the M1271’s excursion through the minefield and main gate. Captain Li still believed it was a trap and the occupants of the camp were waiting to draw them all onto post and then attack. Captain Li wasn’t aware of it, but Lt. Colonel Morris had a bad feeling that he and his men were being used as bait, which didn’t sit well with him. Lt. Colonel Morris was briefed by Colonel Magnus and his staff and was told that he was the main force attacking the camp.
Lieutenant Colonel Morris thought it odd that more than half the force had evacuated their encampment departing for locations unknown. He suspected that he and Captain Li as well as the Combat Engineers were not being told the truth, yet regardless, he would follow orders. Lt. Colonel Morris briefed his commanders on the mission, he didn’t tell them of his concerns, primarily because if he did he was sure it would get back to Colonel Magnus. Lt. Colonel Morris felt uneasy sending his entire battalion down the path that the M1271 had cleared; it would be a blood-bath if forces on Camp Indiantown Gap were playing possum right now. The operation was scheduled to begin at 0100 under the cover of darkness in the early morning hours. It would have been a good plan if the opposing forces were anyone else other than US Army forces they were going up against that were equally trained and armed.
At 0030 2
Battalion moved to the LOD and readied to move toward the camp. If this were a normal operation prior to the event each man would have been outfitted with night vision goggles. Although they had plenty of them they no longer worked because the EMP attack had fried all of them. At 0100 Colonel Magnus ordered an all-go on the operation to liberate Fort Indiantown Gap from the traitors, at least that’s how he saw it. Lt. Colonel Morris ordered his battalion to move on the post. Echo Company was ordered to lead the way since they would be the first ones through the main gate. Captain Li issued orders to his troops that were overlooking the post that 2
Battalion was on the move. Not that it helped much Captain Li and his men didn’t have any night vision equipment either. Echo Company was moving on foot toward the path carved out by the M1271 earlier. It was a very dark night, so the men in the company moved out by platoon in wedge formation and spread five meters apart. There were four formations and in the middle of them was the Platoon Leader, 2
Lieutenant Alfred ‘Ally’ Wills. He was a product of the Colonel Magnus’ Officer Candidate School, more of an indoctrination course. Next to the Lt. Wills was Specialist Ormond the RTO, radio operator, who would help the Lieutenant stay in contact with Lt. Colonel Morris.
The Platoon Sergeant, SFC Cary Dittmyer, was a 22-year veteran of the Army National Guard. He’d never seen any combat and he ducked every single deployment. SFC Dittmyer was bringing up the rear where he felt most comfortable. SFC Dittmyer was a coward through-and-through. He had originally joined the National Guard for the educational benefits, by which he obtained an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts. He found a liking to the easy pay check the National Guard gave him with minimal work, and he also found that as long as he kept his nose clean he didn’t really have to do much to advance in rank. He was lazy.
SFC Dittmyer and 2
Lieutenant Wills were polar opposites. The Lieutenant was a hard charging 2
Lieutenant that really had no idea what he was doing while SFC Dittmyer was lazy and cowardly. These were the two men that were leading First platoon. Unfortunately the men in the platoon recognized the leadership problem. There were two Staff Sergeants in the platoon that were Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and had been regular Army but both had left to pursue college. They were SSG Jesus Arroa and SSG Ben Danes, both good men that looked after and took care of the men in their squads. Both SSGs knew what it took to survive in combat and took measures to ensure the men under their command were trained properly regardless of what SFC Dittmyer and Lieutenant Wills wanted.
SSG Arroa’s squad would be the lead element in first platoon, meaning that the squad would be the first down the path cleared by the M1271 and into the main gate. Also if it was all a trap they would be the first to be hit. As they approached the entrance to the path SSG Arroa raised his right arm in an l-shaped position with his fist closed signaling to the rest of the squad to halt. SSG Arroa then motioned using hand signals for the squad to take a knee in place and stay alert. The following squads reacted in the same manner, Lieutenant Wills now wondering what the hell was the hold up and SFC Dittmyer not really caring either way.
SSG Arroa didn’t like what he saw up ahead. He wasn’t positive that all of the mines had been cleared. He’d seen it before in Afghanistan, where the M1271s were used to clear out swaths of area and then the engineers claimed it was safe, when it really wasn’t. It was always the infantry that had to find out just how cleared it wasn’t; many men lost their lives to ‘cleared’ paths. SSG Arroa moved down the path by himself. It wasn’t easy because there wasn’t much light available, which thankfully it was a full moon, which in this case was good so he had some light to inspect by. It was bad because if he could see the ground and what to look for, people on the fort could see him and his men.
SSG Arroa moved slowly and thoughtfully moving from side-to-side of the path, stopping and kneeling to inspect certain spots. He carried small flags with him and he placed them as he went creating his own path within the path that he knew was cleared. He moved cautiously around the main gate. He was looking for booby-traps that the M1271 couldn’t find. He found two that were set with grenades and strung across paths created by the soldiers on post that forced any incoming soldiers down those paths. He cleared two more by the time he was done. He made his way out, back out the gate and the path he had personally cleared. He made his way back to his squad signaling for them to stay put. SSG Arroa headed over to talk to the Lieutenant about what he did and found.
“What the hell? Staff Sergeant!” Lieutenant Wills said.
“Sir I’ve been down this road before in Afghanistan a few times. You can’t trust the M1271, they don’t always get everything and we end up getting killed for it.” Replied SSG Arroa.
Lieutenant Wills took in what SSG Arroa said, “Alright Staff Sergeant,” said the Lieutenant. “Find anything?”
“Yes sir, I personally cleared a path and marked it with flags so have everyone stay within the flags. I also found several booby-traps around the main gate and a little beyond it. Make sure everyone stays alert because I’m sure there are more.”
Lieutenant Wills stared at SSG Arroa for a moment definitely impressed by him, “Roger that Staff Sergeant. I’ll make sure everyone knows. Can we get moving now?” Lieutenant Wills said.
SSG Arroa moved back to his squad and signaled for them to move out, but to stay behind him and not move out from between the flags.