Today's guest author is fellow Sirenista, Bella Juarez, with an amusing and recently declassified (meaning now she won't have to kill us!) report of one of her Christmas-pasts. :)
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At the time this story takes place, there were no crazies running around threatening the good ‘ole USA, at least none that we took seriously and the country was not involved in any major conflicts. It was the Thursday before Christmas and the holiday fell on a Monday. It was one of those rare times we got a four day weekend. The base was closing for an energy day on Friday. Most of the time when serving our country we understand the US military doesn’t know or care about your holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. The DoD cares about the mission and most of us serving care about keeping the country and our families safe. Period.
So here we were a bunch of airmen blowing off steam at our annual Christmas party, at that time we could drink at these functions as long as it didn't get out of hand. The definition of out of hand varies from service to service and unit to unit. For example, the Marine Corps definition of out of hand meant someone got into a tank and blew up something, on US soil. Our definition for out of hand was no civilian casualties, and every one made it home in one piece.
The party was just picking up when the shit hit the fan… Yup, we were all put on alert. Being put on alert meant, if you went home – you were called back to the base, if you were at the base – call home because they weren’t going to see you for a while. We all looked around at each other. No one at this point was having a Merry Christmas. Much to our credit, no one bitched either. We all knew it was our job. No use in complaining, we all were volunteers.
“Section chiefs to the command briefing room, ASAP!” the Captain who ran our squadron said.
Putting down our drinks, and a couple of new airmen we had hanging from the rafters, we headed over to where we had been directed. No one tells you why and you don’t ask questions. You just follow orders. I was a section chief so I fell in and went with the rest of my squadron to the command center. I was surprised to see who was in the center, pilots from the air wing, load masters who handled the cargo for our planes, and us, aircraft maintenance. Mostly I was surprised to see our command general.
The general NEVER came to talk to us unless we had royally screwed up or there was some other important dignitary with him. We all nervously looked around at each other.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, earlier this afternoon I was called in by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. When I got to his office, the Secretary of Defense and the President were waiting. I was asked to select the best MAC air wing I have for a top secret mission. Because you folks received a commendation for your last inspection, I have volunteered you for this mission. OPERATION POLARIS DISTRESS is now underway. Once you reach your landing zone, you will be given further orders by General Jonsdottir.”
Wonderful, we kick ass at our last inspection and get our Christmas screwed up? Nice.
As I sat and listened to the briefing, I kept having to shake my head. Was I hearing this right? Did I have too much damn tequila already? Did one of those chickenshit motherfuckers do something to my drink? Holy crap! Was this real?
I turned to one of the other NCOs I worked with, the section chief of navigation systems and whispered, “Am I hearing this right? Am I high?”
“I think we both are,” he whispered back.
Six hours later, I figured out this was no joke. Me and six-hundred fifty other airmen and officers were on three C-5s bound for our destination. We had our field maintenance equipment with us. Along the way, another C-5 stopped and picked up a bunch of Marines from Camp Pendleton. I shuddered when I thought about where we were going. They had promised us we would be home for Christmas day.
Yeah, right. I've heard that before.
While on the plane bound for our destination, I managed some sleep. In fact we all managed some sleep because we were going to need it. This mission was going to stretch our endurance and limits. I woke up ten hours later and stepped off into a winter wonderland. We had been sent to Greenland. In fact the airstrip was a secret airstrip that was only used by the CIA and special operations. It was even further north than our own Thule Air Base, which was the northern most base in the world. At least, that’s what I thought.
Like the machine the United States Air Force is, we unloaded all the equipment, set up our facilities and were ready to roll within twelve hours of landing at our mission site. Everyone was called to a building at the far end of the runway. As we walked to the site, I could see carcasses of burnt out cargo planes. I counted five as I walked past them. It was as if the base had come under attack and the planes had been the target. When I stepped inside, I physically felt my jaw drop. As I looked around, I could see I wasn't the only one trying to catch flies with my mouth, we were all in shock. I had never in my entire life seen Christmas until I saw what was inside that building. The décor in that building was spectacular. The lights that lined the ceiling were like stars from a clear winter night. The Christmas trees in the four corners must've been 20 footers and were decorated to Victorian perfection. I could smell the scents of Christmas, warm cinnamon and tangy citrus. The atmosphere in the room made you feel happy and cheerful.
“Good morning!” a man said from a platform at the end of the large building. “We are glad our American allies are able to help us with this mission. I am General Jonsdottir of the Royal Danish Air Force. I am the commanding general at Aalborg Air Base which includes this airstrip. Now, for the reason why you are here. Six days ago, Thule Air Base received a distress signal from this location. Because this base belongs to us, it was forwarded and investigated by RDA. While we are still looking into the causes of this attack, it is clear the aircraft used here have been decommissioned and will not be able to fly their scheduled missions. Your mission is to lend support to this gentleman here,” the general said extending his hand.
Just then a man dressed in camouflage walked up to the platform. He was a short man, he had a white beard, and white hair.
“This mission will use the C-5s that brought you here to fly missions in four different directions. The maintenance crews will perform field level maintenance for the sorties we will be flying. The Marine Corps along with Royal Dutch Marines will provide security since there are hostiles in the area. Pilots your crews will have lead navigators, Majors Southwind, Northwind, Eastwind and Westwind. The majors are under Colonel Clause’s direction and know the nature of the sorties they will be navigating,” the general said as four blue, yes I mean blue, men in flight suits walked on stage with him.
“Load masters, you will have the load masters from this base directing your airdrops because they’ve done this run forever and know exactly what to do,” the general said as a contingency of small, almost child-sized men and women got into formation in front of the stage. They were dressed like load masters.
I wasn’t high. Something in that tequila I had drunk had put me over the edge. I had gone to crazy town and just been elected mayor! The building we were standing in was quiet. In fact, silent as the grave did not do that kind of quiet justice.
“Are you seeing what I’m seeing?” one of my airmen asked me.
“I think so. Are you seeing Santa and his elves?” I asked.
“Yeah, that’s what I see,” Ray said.
Needless to say the mission went off like clockwork and was perfect. There were a few skirmishes around the perimeter of the base but I never found out who or what it was. We did our job and much to my surprise I was home Christmas morning. I drove home from the base at four a.m. I knew no one would be awake so I quietly snuck into the house. I started a pot of coffee and lay down on the couch watching a little TV. I awoke to my husband kissing me on the cheek.
“When did you get in?” he asked.
“A little after four, I didn’t want to wake you up,” I said.
I got up, took a shower and joined him by the tree. We opened presents and did our general Christmas thing with family. On the ride home, my hubby finally asked if I could talk about where I had been for the last couple of days.
“Honey, if I tell you I’ll have to kill you. You know that,” I joked.
What I wanted to say was, You won’t believe me if I tell you and frankly I’m not sure I believe it myself.
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Bella Juarez’s latest release, Hostile Home Front, is available at Bookstrand.
As they fall in love, they deal with challenges from their damaged pasts. After twenty four years as a SEAL, Gavin is haunted by demons of war. Amy carries on the quiet life of a librarian, but the facade hides a damaged soul.
As the pieces of a dangerous plot come together, Gavin must survive terrorists, dirty cops, and gangbangers all taking aim at him. Gavin walks a razor-thin line when terrorists decide to use Amy as bait. As Amy’s life hangs in the balance, Gavin realizes that failure is not an option to save the woman he loves.
Buy Link: http://www.bookstrand.com/hostile-home-front
Places to visit Bella on the web:
Web site: www.bellajaurez.com
Blog: bellajuarez.blogspot.com – Rough and Ready where Bella has fun with her BlackOps Brothers
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/bellajuarezauthor?ref=hl