Wir arbeiten heute für eine bessere Zukunft! Emotionale Schwäche muss mit einer eisernen, muskulösen Faust zerdrückt werden!
Geörg Kaiser ‘Gäs III’ 1921 – Weimar
Cast of Characters – So Far
The Bad Guys
Helmut Differndorffer – Terrorist – Extreme Red Army Faction (XRAF) – Team Engels from Düsseldorf, BRD
Klaus Schleinmittel – Terrorist – XRAF – Team Engels from Schweinfurt, BRD
Abdul-Rahim-Mahmoud-Al-Akhbar Steinemetz – Extreme Palestinian Revolutionary Brigade People’s Communist Faction – Team Karl Marx from El Tulkarm, Occupied Palestine, home of the Zionist (Pronounced Zoi-o-nist) Infidel
The Ugly Guys
Percival Q. Fraunifaisce (Pronounced Frowny-Face) – Evil General – V Corps Vilseck – from Dallas, TX
The Suit – Name [CLASSIFIED] – Agency [CLASSIFIED] from Washington, D.C.
Jack Dawson – Lieutenant – Logistics – 1st Armored Division from Herminie, PA
The Good Guys
Rick Davies – Colonel – S-4 – V Corps Vilseck – Vietnam Vet USSERV from Los Angeles, CA
John Smith – Spec 4 – Driver – 1st Armored Division from Falls Church, VA
Bill ‘Mad Dog’ Higgins – Colonel – 1st Armored Division – Chief of Staff from Cody, WY
Bleigh Quolquier – Airman – Ramstein AFB from Davidson, NC
Giuseppe Excellente – Spec 5 from Carbondale, PA
Botendaddy – Second Lieutenant – 28th ID, 2nd Brigade, 107th Field Artillery, HHB Attached to 1st Armored Division, V Corps from Cooperstown, NY
Emmanuelle Francoise Delacroix – Captain – Transportation Officer V Corps Vilseck from New Orleans, LA
Rochibauld Sachse-Heutelier – Leutnant – German Bundeswehr from Leipzig, GDR
Milton Holmes – MSG – Transportation Chief – V Corps MP’s Vietnam Vet – Lotus Division from Flint, Michigan
Jim Jones, Sergeant – USMC from Detroit Michigan
Safe House Düsseldorf- HÄADER-BEINHÖF Gang – Extreme Red Army Faction – Team Engels – December 2, 1984
“Klaus, war mit dieser sogenannten Botendaddy ist?“
Klaus fragte (pronounced ‘frocked’ – Deutsche for ‘asked’) Helmut. The safe house was a typical, shitty, tiny fourth-floor walkup in a typical Deutscher street-front apartment building.
The walls were decorated with posters of Che, Karl Marx and various German concert adverts. Cups, plates and utensils covered in half-eaten food were scattered randomly everywhere. Tables were covered with newspapers and various newspaper clippings tracking the movements of the various potential targets and exploits of the XRAF. The smell was thick with Sauerkraut and Schnitzel.
“Agreed Helmut, it makes no sense. Er ist ein großer Schmuck. A reject of the US. Military Academy at West Point, ROTC (pronounced row-tuh-see) and Federal OCS. A graduate of the savage National Guards’ State OCS. He has no connections, no important relatives. I don’t understand how he can project any personal power. He must be an extreme deep operative. He doesn’t seem like one of their best. He has no known connection to the Kapitalist hegemony Ivy-League Wall Street and typical Washington insiders. He literally came out of nowhere.”
As he wandered around the drab apartment with its hideous, shitty, green 1970’s decor, Helmut roaked his Flemish Ciigaaraat in the reversed-hand, pretentious European style.
He scratched his head and took a swig of brandy. He hiked the back of his Kaiserslautern football jersey to scratch his neck.
“There is one connection. Jeder Amerikaner ist ein Cowboy und jeder Amerikaner ist ein Held. You know, his mother worked for the grand, muscular, turgid cowboy himself, the jingoistic, sexy and utterly dominant Ronald Wilson Reagan in Sacramento back in ’66-’68.”
Helmut shuddered, spilling his effete brandy as he spoke of the manly, vicious cowboy.
Klaus, in his typical turtleneck and sweater, walked gingerly around the prized füßball table and he pointed his finger vaguely in the direction of the poster of Ché on the wall as if targeting an idea.
“He is no Schmuck then. Er ist eine monströse Schlange, and he is here for a reason. They hid him in the National Guards so the KGB nor STASI could not track him, I would wagermany Deutschemark. He is supposed to look powerless, unconnected. Why is he showing up everywhere we are showing up? Like Diekirch, Luxembourg this summer? He had our Alpha team intercepted and arrested before they could make a move on the Kaserne. A newly-commissioned National Guards’ Lieutenant! I underestimated him. I paid no attention to him. He seemed useless and impotent, reviled by his own General Staff. I thought he was a shitty French interpreter and third-rate Field Artillery Officer sharing quarters with the General’s aide Lieutenant Otsego – which…would…explain why Botendaddy was not anywhere, not in the Kaserne! I don’t like this, Helmut.”
Helmut pulled a drape and looked out the window into the darkened street. He could hear a couple fighting across the way and the crash of a bottle.
“He knows who we are. He knows our every move. He could be watching us right now. I saw him when I was in deep cover at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Luxembourg City. He was in a conversation with the Ambassador’s wife. What kind of man is so comfortable talking to the wife of an Ambassador when he is so young? You see…men like Botendaddy, they are hulking, awkward, not attractive and not interesting. He deliberately talks too much about nothing so you think he is a fool, but in the end you are left with no information and he has learned everything. No-one would give him a second look. He is perfect. Wir haben Anal wurde durchbrochen und ejakuliert in diesem… dieses Genies!”
Helmut shuddered with orgiastic ecstasy.
“We need to trap him and find out who put him here and why they put him there, if it isn’t already too late. Let’s work our contacts at Vilseck. Then, we hit Diekirch again, this time for the grand prize.”
Klaus took a long roak on his Schigg, blowing effete, pretentious European smoke rings.
“I know how to get to him, Helmut. He has a fanatical sense of justice. I know how to get to him.”
Grafenwöehr Vilseck Base, Federal Republic of Germany December 17, 1984, V Corps HQ, U.S. Army Europe Extreme Cold War Era
Rule Number 1: ‘Every interaction is an opportunity to f&ck up.’
I was waiting out in the hallway on the ground floor. It was a shitty former German HQ that had been taken over by the allies a billion years ago. I looked up to the ceiling (pronounced sigh-leeng) for cameras or microphones. But they were probably too low-budget here to afford spy-gear.
Spies always looked for counter-spying equipment.
Waiting was horrible. When I’m waiting, I feel like I’m dying.
I was nervous of course. This General could fuck up my career. I really wanted to stay in Europa and not go back to the ‘Great Satan’ (pronounced ‘United States of America’, Komrade reader). You had to act like a man, a Lieutenant that a General would want in his Army, but still be respectful.
I hated meeting senior officers. They all despised me instinctively. I was bad genetic material for the Army. Like botulism. I looked nothing like a soldier and nothing like an officer. I had no military bearing, whatever the f&ck that is.
I climbed the last flight of stairs in the HQ building upon being summoned by the General’s aide, and I thus reported in a military fashion. I was self-conscious of my shitty wrinkled uniform, my poorly-shined boots and my not high-and-tight hair.
I was standing at attention before the man himself. His shitty office window overlooked more mud and pine trees. The office smelled of boot polish, Brasso and shitty cigarettes.
The artifacts of his career were displayed everywhere, unit coins, plaques, jump wings from various countries, old photos from Vietnam. I figured I’d never get up that high myself. Maybe never even have an office. The razor-thin grey-haired man jutted out his chin and he sprang from his leather chair. He leaned in close as I stood at attention.
“Well whoop-tie ding-dong-doo, if it ain’t Lieutenant Botendaddy, from the shit-covered National Guards, you fat f&ck! You sicken me. Who are you? You’re a nobody. I looked at your file. A shitty third-stringer OCS Mustang. This country is going to sh%t and this is the best we can do? You must have friends in high places!”
Shrieked the sharp-featured, immaculately coiffed General, as he prowled around me like a diseased, mangy, emaciated, unnecessary adjective-inducing aged cat.
He took a long roak off of his Schiggarettenstein, a hoary German tobacco grown at exceptionally high altitudes in the extreme elevation of the Bavarian Alps and hand-rolled by Romansch-speaking neo-proto-Neanderthals.
He paused to examine the roak. Then he handed me a square and he lit it with an 82nd Airborne Lighter he probably bought at some open air shop in Saigon.
I took a long roak from the ‘Schigg’. I nodded with approval at the fine, healthy Alpine tobacco.
I looked out the window of the shitty concrete World War II-era building. It reminded me of being stuck in elementary school on a rainy day in Cooperstown, wondering what was out beyond the confines of the school.
There was ugly wet snow on the ground in Germany. Europe seemed always wet. I had just been called in from the field where we had been training with Armored units. 33 degrees and raining all week.
“How may I be of assistance, Sir?”
“Watch your tone you sh&tty punk! I’ll have your ass in the stockade!”
The General whispered out of eyeshot, his head perched just behind my ear.
He had an almost erotic hatred for me. I represented everything bad about the Army and I had to be destroyed.
Theorem #1 A small percentage of any ‘bad’ group are actually pretty good
Men like that think they are saving the Army by f&cking you. But what if the Army needed men like me? I had thought about this before.
- Say the West Pointers are the best. That means that 50% of them are really good, 40% OK and 10% bolos.
- Then take ROTC Active Duty. They are 40% Good 40% OK and 20% substandard maggots.
- OCS Active duty 30% Good 40% OK and 30% duffle bags.
- Finally reserve and National Guards’ officer 20% Good 40% OK and 40% eventually oxygen thieves.
The distinguished looking ‘Suit’ sitting in the corner of the room looked at the General with old Washington insider Anglo-Saxon disapproval. The Suit was perfectly dressed, with snow-white hair and little ivy-league spectacles. He stood up and walked towards the general.
“Enough of the horesh&t, General. Washington doesn’t need your consent for this. Signing off is just a formality. We acquire the Lieutenant as a detachment for as long as we like, whenever we like. You sign the papers with the G-1 and it’s a done deal.”
The General grew angrier.
“You Ivy League a$$holes from D.C. think you can come in here and tell people what to…”
The Suit squared to the general.
“I’m sure you’d be happier tending your garden in your shack outside Ft. Eustis on terminal leave.”
The General looked up in shock, realizing that he had f&cked up. I tried not to smirk. I remained at rigid attention my eyes focused on his Georgetown Diploma.
“OK, roger, roger, got it, got it. You want this a-hole? You got it. No discipline, self-involved, grabastic individual. Good luck to you.”
The General gave me an angry stare and he left the room briskly, slamming the door behind him.
The grey-haired insider walked down the stairs with me. He wore a very expensive pin-striped blue suit, probably tailor-made.
“Thanks for keeping a low profile here, B.D.” The suit smirked. “But screw him. He’s an anachronistic d*chebag anyway. He doesn’t understand true national security.”
He directed me to a small room on the first floor which was guarded with a pin combination lock. He closed the door behind us and he laid a dossier on the table. It was marked “Top Secret S.C.I. Caveat 6. Destroy upon reading.”
“Botendaddy. Have a seat, son. You speak eleven languages including Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Bolivian Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, Basic Spoken Lao and Canadian French. You are a slick one. That move you pulled off this summer in Luxembourg was incredible. The old man was pretty happy about it. He knew your mother from the state archives office in Sacramento back in the day. She was a great operative. no-one would have ever suspected her. She covered like a straight-up Bolshy.”
He took a draw on his Danish Ztsigarat. He handed me a roak.
“Anyway, the old cowboy, he’s got an assignment for you. It’s going to be dangerous, but hell, you went to High School in Brooklyn. Here are your orders – the official ones. The unofficial ones are on file in the Pentagon. Tomorrow, there will be a 10k run in Ramstein (pronounced: Romm-Shtein). At mile marker 3 you will meet your first contact. You should be damned near last place by then.”
“You want me to drop into last place sir?”
“No you enormous fat f$ck, I’m counting on it happening naturally. And good luck, kid, You’ll need it. I know you. You are a third-rate degenerate with delusions of grandeur. You would die or let yourself get drilled in the anus if it mean completing the mission. That’s why you are the best. You want that goddamned patch.”
He winked at me and handed me a leather file folder.
I walked back to the Grafenwoehr open-bay barracks. It was cold and wet with a slight swirl of snow. It smelled cold. I was still wet and filthy from the field. One of my weaknesses. I liked being clean and dry. Who are these weirdos that enjoy cold, wet and sleep deprivation?
I stopped at the mini-PX for a bottle of weird Italian iced tea.
I walked past all of the RAFOV’s on my way back to my shabby gray building. I never got issued a RAFOV. RAFOV is a term for a ‘Ride Around F&ck Off Vehicle” Only well-connected, lazy sh&ts get one. They are basically a civilian rental, nominally for military use.
It took longer and longer for me to get showered and dressed. It had turned into this bizarre process. I was wondering how I would get my muddy uniforms cleaned. When would I have time? I stepped out of the shower in the hideous concrete block barracks.
Very inappropriate for officers to share mixed barracks with vulgar, shitty, smelly officer-hating enlisted men. By virtue of being a mustang, some of them viewed me as a traitor – to what, god only knows.
Call me a snob, but I just think that drunk, vomiting, flatulence-igniting, dick-dancing and thumb-smelling contests are just not my speed.
I went to my bunk, wrapped in my shitty dark-green army towel. I turned on the radio: Trio: Da Da Da I had to get everything packed for tonight’s trip. I assumed I would get a C-130 or maybe even a private jet out of Nürnberg.
I showered, shaved, put on a set of the new BDU’s. I liked being clean. That was part of my problem. I hung my original dog-tags from basic training with the P-38 can opener around my neck.
Everything was changing in the Army from when I started in 1980. I had OD Greens, Khaki’s, the Beseler cue/see. Now we had BDU’s, new belts, no more buckles to shine. Oh well.
My boots were highly-shined but I could never get them perfect. I was glad that there was no more belt buckle. At any rate. I thought about the Beseler cue/see training system. The incredible lengths that our army went to train us. The intricacy of detail. It was odd in a way.
What war were we really training to fight? Some kind of Armageddon where every soldier was a storehouse of knowledge and a potential trainer? Who was behind all this training and doctrine?
I packed my canvas maintenance bag last. It had an extra uniform and sundries, towels. It was a ‘go bag’, with a change of clothes, winter PT uniform, shower shoes, sewing kit. It was good in case you get stranded.
I was packed and ready by 1300 hours. I got word to report to the V Corps G-5 tent.
V Corps G-5 tent Vilseck Base: Weather 33 degrees and raining
I was in the back row of the wooden benches in the poorly-heated tent complex. I was always physically uncomfortable.
There was a female officer seated next to me. She had a V Corps unit patch. She told me she was from New Orleans. The females were a rarity back then. She had the black hair and weird Crescent City accent.
“Hey LT” she said. Usually women never spoke to me. Like never. So it surprised me.
“Hi.” I said.
“You here for the movement order?”
“Say what? No-one said anything about a movement order.”
“You Lieutenant Botendaddy right? You takin’ that convoy to Bäumholder this afternoon. I’m going to Ramstein right behind you. We’ll be arriving probably after O-Two Hundred. Why don’t you find me at Ramstein tomorrow, maybe we’ll get lunch.”
“Sure, sounds good. How will I find you?”
“I’m Captain Emmanuelle Francoise Delacroix. You can find me in the women’s barracks in the Air Force VOQ’s, Building 162. I’ll write it down for you.”
Inside the tent they were playing Nena
I was concerned that she knew who I was and also might suspect what my mission was.
Also, almost every woman that ever encountered me in my entire life hated me with an unbridled disgust borne of an ancient horror that sheer terror prevents me from describing here.
What if she was sent to spy on me, or worse to keep an eye on me? But if so, for whom?
She handed me a card with a note on it. Her name, building and room number and a smiley face, were scrawled with these words. “Hi sexy Botendaddy. Make love to me tomorrow. I need you bad.” I was immediately suspicious. Women were never nice to me without an ulterior motive or hidden agenda.
The movement brief was endless. I doodled in my notebook. I hated paying attention. After the movement brief finally ended, I went up to talk to the G-5 Colonel. I had to wait for other officers to finish talking to him.
“Sir, I’m not the 1st Armored S-4. I’m a Fire Support Officer from Corps Artillery. I’m not supposed to be on convoy duty.”
The hulking brown-haired Colonel looked over his tiny wire glasses at me. He had a USERRV patch from Vietnam.
“I don’t give a fuck who you are fat-boy. You god-d#mned overgrown Frankenstein. I need a convoy-trained officer to take a movement to Baumholder. There’s a fricking terror alert, son. Red Brigades and Red Army faction. I needed a combat arms officer. Your reputation precedes you. I will inform your commander that I borrowed you, assh&le. In the meantime, be on time for the SP at 1500 hours. Throw your shit in the S-4 convoy commander vehicle and shut that filthy anus that you call a mouth before I beat the living sh&t out of you. Are we clear?”
The Colonel grinned. He was awesome.
“Crystal, Sir!” I shouted and saluted at the same time to peals of laughter from the crowd of logisticians.
I noticed that my four duffels were gone. I went out through the tan canvas tent-maze to the road where the convoy waited. I stopped near the road amidst the wafting smell of diesel fuel. The motors of the convoy hummed like a herd of massive animals at the watering-hole.
I looked over the route map. Baumholder was only 24 miles past Ramstein. I could easily be there in time to register for and run in the 10k.
A Spec-4 Smith popped out of nowhere. He rendered a hand salute and pointed to the command jeep. My duffels were stacked in the back. I tossed in my maintenance bag. I checked my watch. I walked the line of vehicles greeting each driver and I made sure they had their trip-tik and that they all marked their time to my watch.
Convoys are easy if you follow the rules. Do your briefing. Inspect the drivers and vehicles, do commo checks, make sure everyone filled up, check PMCS etc.
I gave my convoy briefing. I did my commo check. I could see the other convoys lined up behind us, going god knows where. I got up to my jeep and I got in, it was 1457 hours. My first convoy in Europe. It was exciting. I felt like a real officer instead of a much maligned ‘National Guards’
At 1459 we moved across the SP and headed out towards the Autobahn. The jeep seat was wet. I would have canvas-jeep seat diaper rash by the end of the day. I was cold, tired, wet and miserable, so everything was normal.
My driver was a talker. He talked fast while looking at the road.
“Sir, good to have you on board. The old S-4, he was an asshole. West Pointer. I heard you were a Mustang. That’s OK. By the way, I have a weapon for you. Terror alert High Precedence. Just sign the weapons manifest for the M-1911 and the rounds.”
He was a suck-up typical enlisted man, trying to compromise me. I had to use that to my advantage. Thank god he had a radio. We listened to German radio playing: Trio: Lass mich Rein Lass mich Raus
I watched my checkpoints carefully. My mind drifted back to shitty convoys from Funck’s Mini Mart™ at Ft. Indiantown Gap to Ft. A.P. Hill, Ft. Pickett and other sad, forgotten, hideous, sweaty, played-out destinations with rotting, third-rate wooden barracks, extreme humidity and the best 1940’s surroundings money could (not) buy.
Now I was in Germany! Thank Khufu! I was in a real place. But still this didn’t cut it. I needed action, I needed a war and above all I needed a combat patch. Without the combat patch an American Army soldier is sad and naked. Without that you were nothing and everyone knew you were nothing. Only the grizzled Vietnam vets and a smattering of Grenada vets had them and no worthwhile war was in sight.
I was in Europe, the big game, but still just playing army. It’s like the entire system: even Europe or Korea was just like being full-time National Guard.
I listened to the chatter of the soldiers on the AN-VRC radios constantly breaking squelch. We called each checkpoint. I grew angry about the shitty way I was treated by the senior officers. Maybe it was just the pecking order, but nonetheless every generation of my family served in every major way since the Spanish-American War when my great-grandfather and his brother volunteered for duty.
My grandfather in WWI. My dad in WWII and Korea and my uncle in Vietnam. Was I to be the only one to be disappointed? Maybe I really wasn’t a good officer.
We traveled a long way. Sometimes there was a bit of rain, but we didn’t put the flaps up. I wondered what the mission was, but I usually didn’t get a packet right away. They would get it to me when it was time.
I didn’t volunteer for this gig. They had pulled me into a room at Escuela des Americas at Benning before I even graduated from OCS, and they told me the game. I was definitely in. Life was too boring so I had to do it. Besides, no one ever escaped the Guard to go on Active Duty, this was my only chance.
We stopped along the Autobahn near the town of Anspach in the military vehicle lot at the Frühstück gas station. Germany had amazing breakfasts at Roadside gas stations. It was weird.
One of the other Lieutenants sat at a table with me. He was miffed that I was named convoy commander when I wasn’t even in the 1st Armored.
“My name is Boten Daddy. Pleased to meet you.” I said as we stared at each other across the Frühstück table.
“This is ridiculous. Nobody even knows you. Are you going to be assigned to us? I heard you were a National Guards, anyway”
He said with blistering contempt.
“Yeah a National Guards who’s your fucking convoy commander, you pretentious douchebag. Maybe they just don’t like you, because you’re a disloyal asshole.”
I picked up my sausage with my fork.
“Something isn’t right about you. Why did they put you in the transient barracks and not the BOQ?” Dawson demanded.
“Maybe you ask too many fucking questions and you should just obey your fucking convoy orders Lieutenant Dawson.”
“Well, we lose you at Baumholder, so who the fuck cares.”
“You need to maintain, son, I guess they didn’t teach you much at ROTC.”
We finished our Frühstücken. Paid our bills. Dawson, like a typical lifer mumbled something about a travel voucher. I had no idea what that was, nor did I care. I knew that I had to hold on to money, but being young, in Europe, with steady cash from the paymaster every month, life was good.
We lined up the vehicles. Did an equipment and personal items check. One soldier left his wallet in the shitter. I didn’t want to ask why. We headed back out onto the road. I thought about how much I didn’t like Dawson. He lacked gravitas.
The snow was picking up as was the wind. The temperature was dropping, but the driver was smart enough to have put up the sides on the jeep. The field jacket was the new one, the BDU, but still a field jacket. I could feel my dog tags around my neck. My ears were getting cold.
My driver kept up the mindless chatter in between my talking to the convoy. He was boring as hell, my driver. I like some country music, but he only liked the boring romantic shit. Talked about his girl back in Virginia. I had nothing in common with him and I prayed that he would shut up. He was actually named John Smith. A phonebook nightmare. He rattled on about the Redskins.
Rule Number 2: ‘No Smoke’
I was conscious about maintaining the convoy in good standing. I didn’t like any civilian driver trying to break our convoy with their POV’s.
The main rule was ‘no smoke’, like the old Indian Smoke Signals back in the day. That meant no trouble, no accidents or incidents, and don’t report any problem until it was absolutely unsolvable.
Convoys could be monotonous. Even worse when your diver is mindlessly boring. Why should I be nice about it? We were different. He was from Virginia and did Virginia things. I was an Upstate New Yorker who went to school in New York City. Things he liked, I didn’t. I tried to avoid speaking about anything complex.
He rattled on about home repair, about car racing, hunting, fishing. I lost track. It was hard to stay awake. I thought back to College. I had just graduated from Pitt. I liked Pittsburgh. I wasn’t from there, but I liked it. It still had the old mill-hunk flavor even though the mills were shutting down. The ‘Deer Hunter’ weddings in Lawrenceville, with old Babushka ladies cooking up a huge spread with Halushki, Pirogi, stuffed cabbage and endless Slavic pastries.
Rule Number 3: When outside of New York, keep a low profile.
I didn’t really fit in with Pittsburgh. I was too loud, brash and New York, even when I tried to tone it down. I detested kissing everyone’s a$$ just so I wouldn’t be utterly reviled. Why should I always have to change myself to make other people happy? In the Army, they hated me too. Only in New York did I fit in. I wondered if I would even have a career. I wondered how bad my first OER would be.
Axiom 1: Never complain about anything in front of anyone else in the Army.
The jeep was cold and cramped. I hated being uncomfortable. “Oh sounds like a personal problem” they all would say. We passed other military convoys. Some had flatbed trucks with tanks.
The whole Army experience in Germany was strange. It’s like each base was a little American town. They even had a reserve unit here. How the hell was that even possible? lazy, expatriate Americans leeching off some government job and serving in a US Army Reserve unit located in Germany. We had definitely been there too long.
We stopped again at Neckärsulm. So far, we were right on time at every checkpoint. No smoke. I thought about the girl as I snacked on Grümmi Bären. She was an odd one. Lots of risk there. She came on a little too strong. That was so unusual, that it almost never happened.
You see, girls hit on good looking, macho, rich or important guys. They don’t hit on guys like me. Never. Not ever. So it was odd. What was the ulterior motive? There was something very odd about it. Could she be an operative?
They talked about things like this at the caveat briefing where they told me about [CLASSIFIED-Redacted] and then they showed us a film about [TSSCI-Redacted] and then they mentioned [NOFORN-Redacted]. It was almost like the nuclear briefing where they mentioned [FOUO-Redacted]. You get the picture?
Rule Number 4: Shut the f&ck up
Escuela des Americas, Panama, Nicaragua (pronounced Nick-uh-rag-you-wah), El Salvador, Colombia, Peru. All places I had been as a sailor without ever being there. No combat action ribbon, no AFXM. Nothing. Just a censored referral to a TSSCI-Caveat 6-eyes only document on my DD214. To talk about it meant prison and being cashiered. My gold bar was too hard to get, so I could not complain. OCS was the nightmare from which you never awake. God the TAC Officers hated me. I wasn’t going to risk it. So I stayed quiet.
My bad personality made no one ever suspect me as an operative. I talked too much, but it was all inane crap about nothing.
We were back on the road again. The endless communications about status, about keeping an interval. We had been lucky. No breakdowns.
Axiom 2: Nothing exciting can ever happen to Botendaddy, because he must be deprived of glory at all costs.
I thought of the DA Form 2404 – horrible DA PMCS Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services. I fell asleep in that class. I hated maintaining my vehicle. My redneck driver probably lived for it.
Most of the Army stuff was boring, M-8 Chemical Detector kits, BRM, OCOKA. I neither knew nor cared what any of it meant.
Yes, I was a bad soldier and a worse officer. How could I love the Army so much, but hate all of the training? It was in my blood. My great-grandfather’s two brothers in the Spanish War, My Grandfather’s brother and First Cousin (Who earned a DSC) in the AEF in WWI, My Dad in WWII, My Dad’s First Cousin in Korea, My Cousin, the Surgeon, in Vietnam, and then here I was. The BNGT. The Botendaddy No Glory Theory.
I was wondering what the mission was, but I almost didn’t care. I wondered why they needed me and not someone more seasoned. I didn’t know Europe, but I was fluent in French, German and Spanish. Long story, I’ll tell it later, if I remember.
A car pulled just in front of us in the left lane. The passenger gave me a very odd look. Threatening. He was dark-complected, middle eastern? Italian? Latin American? Communist, terrorist? It was definitely not right. My driver of course, did not notice, his situational awareness being zero.
But, that’s what made me a good officer. I thought like the enemy. My hand instinctively moved to my pistol. I didn’t like it. We weren’t scheduled for a stop for a while. I saw the man roll down the window of the vehicle. It was a large silver Mercedes. He was dumping a box of something out of the window.
‘Pull over NOW!” I yelled to the driver, he veered onto the wide shoulder and all of the vehicles behind us, like a giant serpent, all pulled over in turn. The Mercedes sped off. It was a good call. He had dumped some kind of nails all over the road.
I got on the horn. “All vehicles, this is Alpha-One-Bravo actual pull off now, go into security posture. Vehicles tight interval, weapons out. Condition Yellow, this is not an exercise. Trail: block all Westbound lanes. All units on this net acknowledge.”
“Sir, what’s up?” Asked my driver.
“Smith, get your f&cking weapon out. Come with me.”
We made sure that the Autobahn was clear. I checked the roadway. It was nails, tacks and small explosives.
“Smith, find us a path along the shoulder and let’s pull off at that next pull-over, once I give the order to pull out.”
The MP who was in the trail vehicle ran up to me. He was an MSG, MSG Holmes, a Vietnam Vet about 35 years old with a Lotus Division Combat Patch and no CIB.
“Sir, what’s the score?”
“Well, did you see that Mercedes?”
“Yes that asshole was driving along side of us and jockeying for the past two miles.”
“You might wanted to have let me know sooner.”
“Roger Sir. What now?”
“I need you to call whatever US Military Police are closest. Do you have your camera?”
“Yes sir. get some pictures of the debris and those little bomblets. Let’s also watch the Eastbound lanes. I want a full security patrol until we get this figured out.”
By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-L0820-0018 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5365861
This wasn’t good. It was all smoke. But I had to follow protocol. This was a mass clusterf&ck. Tall pine forest on either side of the road. I was right in the middle of it. Then it hit me. ‘Run through the ambush’ I learned this in Colombia.
“Holmes, I don’t like this, what if he wanted us to stop?”
“Right sir.. Right! But if we pull on through and they have a trap waiting for us. What if they have sniper or what if they stopped us right over bombs hidden in the road?”
“Let’s think this through. Get your MP’s on your radio.”
Homes called in and he explained the situation.
“Sir, the MP’s and Engineers from Hammerau are headed this way. They were monitoring our traffic. They told us to get on the berm and move to the pull-off one half mile up. Someone will have to walk the convoy on foot to make sure the road is clear.”
“Well Holmes, it’s you and me then. Smith! Get everyone moving along the shoulder. Weapons out. But on safe: no accidents or incidents. Tell trail to do a rolling block on the Westbound lanes until we are all in the pull-off.”
I walked with Holmes with our weapons out. I wonder if this was planned, but no-one could have know that I was going to be with the convoy other than the people in the tent. I feared we had a mole.
We got all the vehicles into the large pull-over area. There was something that wasn’t right. Why didn’t the creepy guy just shoot at us? Why slow down the convoy?
The MP’s and Engineers showed up. It was a big to-do. Then, just like that we were back on the road with an escort. It was long since dark by the time we got to Baumholder.
I signed off on the convoy. I stood around in the cold for about 30 minutes when a 1st Armored Colonel popped up out of the dark and thanked me for doing a good job. I was shocked as I almost never heard a compliment. He was the rare decent sort, hard to find in the hyper-competitive officer corps.
Rule Number #5 Enjoy Great Days when they Happen
They didn’t have anyone to get me to Ramstein, but miraculously the Colonel happened to have a RAFOV! A little Mercedes 4×4. He told them to sign it out to me.
“L-T, do me a favor, tell whoever the hell you really work for them that Colonel Higgins did you a solid, alright?” He whispered.
“Roger, roger, wilco sir, got it, got it.. and thanks!”
Soon, I was on the road to Ramstein in the dark. It began to snow heavily as I wound my way down the little roads. I realized that even if someone was tracking me they weren’t looking for a little silver 1983 Mitsubishi Pajero, winner of the Dakkar Rally.
I was in Germany. I was unsupervised. I had my own RAFOV and I had to be up by 5AM and I was tired as shit. What a great day to be an American. If only my TAC Officers could see me now.
Ramstein Air Force Base FRG December 18, 1984 Annual Jingle Bell 10k run warm-up area
It was cold. I was tired and in no mood to run a 10k. I stretched in the snow next to the road where the race would start. I never saw her coming. I felt a hand cup my left buttockeal cheek as I was stretching.
“Hi, Botendaddy, It’s me, Mademoiselle Delacroix!”
“Hi Captain.” I said, looking at her decked out in Army APFT winter sweats.
“My god you are utterly repulsive! It’s so hot! I love hideous men.” She said, looking me up and down.
I immediately thought that she might be psychotic as well as ill-mannered. But hey, I was only a Lieutenant.
I stretched out fairly well. No pain. I wanted run run a good race. I started near the front. I know the top runners should be up front, but I was tired of stepping aside for people who had nothing but contempt for me. I was ready.
I lost sight of Delacroix. I started hard running to the outside. I checked my watch and I counted my steps. I hit one mile at 5:45. Tied for my fastest mile ever. 11:58 at two miles. 19:00 at three miles.
I looked at the German houses and weird little European cars along the route. I smelled the sweet goods from a local bakery. Europe was good. The cold was invigorating.
I was running very hard, not tired. I felt good. I picked a couple of Air Force guys at the three mile mark to keep pace. One of them, a skinny airman started chatting with me. He was unusually friendly. I began to suspect that he was a homosexual. They would have to stay in deep cover or get kicked out. Anyhow, I was no rat.
“So Lieutenant, you run well for a big man.” He shuddered with ecstasy when he said big.
“Thanks. You look like you could run faster.”
“I could but I wanted to meet you. I’m in the male VOQ, room 66. Do stop in, say around 20 hundred hours?”
“Sure, sounds great.”
I didn’t think any more of it. Then I realized that Airman Bleigh might be my contact. He took off and disappeared over the horizon on the snowy road.
Four miles 25:55. Five miles 32:54. I had a chance for 40 at six miles. I ran even faster. This was one of my best races ever in bitter cold on snowy roads. I checked my watch as I neared the six mile mark: 39:50 unbelievable. 41:30 I finished. My best race ever. Fat? Frankenstein? They could all go f&ck themselves. I was a 300 APFT that summer. So, whatever. Third rate? Really.
I forgot about the girl. I went to my shitty BOQ room. God it was nice to have my own room. I showered, shaved, brushed and I got into my BDU’s. It took me forever to get dressed. Deodorant. Putting powder in my socks. Shining my boots. I had locked my weapon in the wall locker in my room.
I headed into the hall where I saw the Air Force dudes from the race.
“Wow you guys can run! I lost you at the four mile mark.”
“Thanks, much appreciated. You were motoring there LT.”
I realized that they were pilots. That was cool but flying wasn’t my thing.
I got breakfast at the VOQ. I had no mission as of yet. So I was free for a while. Then I remembered the girl. A girl who was interested in me..
I walked outside to look at a post locator board when a massive explosion rocked Ramstein. This explosion felt like Engineer demo. It was literally bone shaking. It sent a shock through my system. There was a smell of explosive in the air.
If you’ve ever been in a war or a violent incident your first reaction is more like ‘what in the hell just happened? As opposed to shock or fear. Debris was falling slowly, boards (wood where did that come from? I wondered) small chunks of concrete, insulation, endless dust that kept rising and billowing almost majestically.
I ran towards the blast. There was an inferno coming out of the entranceway of building 162. I worried about a secondary blast. Then I wondered about Captain Delacroix. My instinct was to go help her when I saw the two people on the ground in the parking lot.
Amazingly I was the first one there. ‘Open airway, restore breathing, stop bleeding….’ I thought to myself. I didn’t remember the order. One was a young woman in civilian clothes, the other a young airman in his office uniform. They were both gone. It looked like each had been just walking from their cars to the headquarters when the blast went off. I felt for a pulse on each. There was none. The injuries appeared catastrophic. They were utterly motionless, not even the rise and fall of a breath or the animate undulation of a pulse.
I felt intense sadness. I tired the girl first. CPR. Nothing. A marine came over to help. He tried to revive the airman. Soon a crowd of medics came up, thanked us and shooed us away. I looked back and I heard the name Bleigh.
“Follow me!’ I yelled to the Marine. We crashed through the broken doors of Female VOQ 162. It was dark inside. The blast had killed the power. We climbed over broken glass and furniture. I saw a female wearing white sweats covered in dust sitting at a table in the lobby not moving. Then I saw her eyes blink.
She was perfectly white from the dust like a ghost.
“What just happened, y’all? She asked quietly, still staring straight ahead.
The Marine and I grabbed her under the shoulder and we walked her outside into the light. We laid her down in the snow next to the staircase. She clung very hard to her ALICE pack with her left hand. Most in the Army called it a f%g bag. I called it an ALCA (Alternative Lifestyle Carrying Apparatus).
Air Force Security Police and Firemen poured past us, up the steps into the building.
I sat the girl up.
“Do you feel pain anywhere?”
“Can you see?”
“You can hear us.”
“Yes a ringing in my ears, though, but I can hear y’all.”
It was absolute chaos in the parking lot, Airmen looking for friends and family, ambulances, Air Force Security police everywhere.
We realized that she was OK.
I realized that it was Delacroix.
“Come with me sweetheart, I said.”
The Marine and I walked her back to my BOQ.
“What’s your name, Marine?”
“Sergeant Jones. Jim Jones, like the dude, sir.”
“I’m Lieutenant Botendaddy, attached 1st Armored, she is Captain Delacroix V Corps both Vilseck. Please report to the SPs that all three of us are alive and OK. Let’s meet later at the Mini-PX on top of the hill at 1800 hours. You’re a good man, Jones.”
“Roger, Sir, Roger, got it, got it.”
We shook hands and he walked back out into the fray.
I took Delacroix into my room.
“I want to take a shower, LT, please help me.”
I opened her bag. He BDUs and change of clothes and female sundries were in the bag. I laid them out on the bed. We could hear a cacophony of sirens and alerts. She had me help her take off her sweats, down to her bare, perfectly toned, light-brown Cajun body. She was weeping silently.
“It’s OK Ma’am, I know it’s quite shock. I’m trying not to look, so forgive me if I’m holding you in the wrong places.”
She was still unstable so I held her up in the shower and I helped her bathe. It would have been a highly erotic moment, but instead I was just feeling very sad for her and what she just went through. I thought about the family back home in the swamps that must have been so proud of her becoming an Army Officer.
I wanted to make sure she retained her dignity. I helped her dry herself off and I helped her get dressed. She brushed her teeth, but did not put on any make-up. I threw her sweats and her running shoes into the laundry box on the floor. She sat next to me on the bed, then she wrapped herself around me, in a very tight embrace.
“Thank you Botendaddy. I’m sorry you had to see me like this.”
“No worries, Miss, no worries.”
I opened one of my bottles of weird Italian iced tea for her.
Power was still out everywhere. I thought I should go out and help, but Delacroix needed me more and I had nothing to do. I couldn’t report, so I figured we would wait until Delacroix was OK to go out. She slept on her side and I pulled a blanket over her.
I thought about what just happened. Who and why. But I knew the answer was obvious. I felt like it was me that was being targeted and I brought all this on Ramstein. I thought about the dead Airman and civilian woman and the women in the VOQ.
A wave of anger came over me. I was going to find the people that did this and I was going to f&ck them and f&ck them hard. Literally or figuratively it didn’t matter to me.
That’s why I was a good operative. That intense rage for all things American, for defending the American Way of Life even if everyone else had long stopped believing in it. Washington knew that I believed the fantasy with whole heart. I was no careerist.
The people in Washington and Southern Command knew I would never quit but rather die trying. Red Ivan or some sh&tty pinko Bolshevik East German Franz was behind this and I was going to make them pay.
Axiom #3 Never play füßball with a European.
Lockdown. None of us were allowed to leave Ramstein. I sat with Delacroix and Jones at a small table in the Big PX food service area. I got a shitty PX Chili dog. We were joined by a German Bundeswehr Lieutenant.
“My name is Rochibauld Sachse-Heutelier. Might I make your acquaintance?”
Jones extended a hand and introduced himself, as did Delacroix and then myself.
“Please join us.”
“Ah Lieutenant Botendaddy” (sexy) he muttered under his breath.
“I was going to run in the race this morning, but I was late due to a an utterly mindless, shitty monotonous briefing. Of course, I was completely apathetic and I could not bear to listen to the childlike droning of the sub-moronic operations battle Captains.” (horrible) he muttered.
Then it hit me. Bleigh was not my contact, just an accident of timing. It was to be this weird German instead. We chatted about who we were and where we were from. Rochibauld seemed utterly uninterested in the girl, but rather more interested in me and Jones.
As Jones or I would talk, Rochibauld would lick his lips and occasionally wink, causing Jones to recoil imperceptibly in repressed horror. Jones, in an effort to distract Rochibauld from his obvious predilections, asked Rochibauld his story.
“I was born in Leipzig in the DDR. Life was utterly hopeless and drab. We were a defeated, subordinated, crushed people, completely raped by the Russian muscular bear. We were hated by all as Nazis (dominant) and they let us forget our past as if we who were born well after were somehow to blame for such excesses. We lived in shitty drab concrete block Orwellian apartments like in ‘1984’. Our lives were shitty and meaningless and filled with endless self-hating propaganda. But at least, the lack of any semblance of free will made life easy and tolerable. We just did as we were told, to avoid the shitty Gulag. I escaped, and in time gained my education at Augsburg and this year became an officer in the Bundeswehr (masculine–delicious) but the story will be told once I know you all better.”
We made the mistake of going over to the füßball table with Rochibauld. He beat each of us 10 to nothing in turn. Reacting with each win as if he had just won the world cup.
“Rochibauld, what the f&ck? Only you shitty Euros know how to play this stupid game. You know we suck at it. Why the overkill and the inane celebration? It’s like playing Wilt Chamberlain one-on-one and him reacting like he won the NBA Champoinship.”
“Well, the European has been homosexually dominated in the most masculine, aggressive and sexual manner by the American Cowboy for the past 90 years since McKinley sensuously violated the Spanish rear and Pershing erotically subjugated the French, dominated the British and raped the German people with your sexy genocidal psychopath Woodrow Wilson. (Ah the smell of it!) Not to mention your complete takeover of Europe after World War II. You have created entire American towns on each American Army base. The West German is likewise cuckolded to the butch, macho stern-eyed (hot) Eagle as we are in the DDR to the (virile) Russian Bear.”
Jones leaned over to whisper to me. “Is this guy joking or is he completely insane?”
“No, he’s just European.”
Jones nodded with complete understanding. Delacroix looked disgusted and she motioned to me to get rid of the creepy German.
“We have something to discuss. Treffpunkt at 0500. BOQ gym shower-room. It is imperative that you be entirely and completely naked (glistening)” Rochibauld whispered to me as he got up abruptly to leave.
I walked back to my Q, Delacroix came with me. Normally there was no gender-mixing in the Q’s, but everyone seemed to know that with the chaos of the bomb, I was watching out for her, so nothing was said.
I took a shower and I got into my APFT sweats. I liked being comfortable. Who doesn’t? Who is actually comfortable in a suit or in a uniform? Not me.
I thought about my dad and my uncles who served in WWII. They had awesome uniforms. They looked like GI’s. we looked like clowns, first in our stupid OD greens and idiotic ballcaps, now our ridiculous BDUs. I thought about my uncle Steve who died on a shitty, muddy hill on Okinawa. My dad in his bomber jacket flying over Germany.
They were real soldiers. I was shit. We were all shit because we didn’t have a real war. I suppose this cat and mouse crap would have to do.
Some days I wished that the OPFOR would come through the Fulda Gap and make us all instant combat soldiers, so we could have our era like WWII, like the Jacques Brel song: ‘l’ennemi qui viendra et me fera hero.’
When I was a little kid, everyone’s dad was a WWII Vet. They had their own little community. They all read Vonnegut. They all had that great shared experience. We had nothing. Even my super-sophisticated cousin Dr. Mike who had been a combat surgeon in Vietnam could hang out with Leather-Jacket Harley riding Viet Vets and still be accepted.
Back home, soldiers were not really respected. Even Grenada did not help. Everyone knew that we didn’t have a war. Germany. I supposed it was slightly better than nothing.
The world had become lame. In a sick selfish way I was happy for the bomb. It made a nobody like me part of something relevant. It was an awful way to think. Maybe good officers never thought that way.
I read the sealed orders while I was in the bathroom. They were to be destroyed upon reading. It was interesting though. They let me assemble my own team. With one phone call to the V Corps S-2, I could name any three soldiers I wanted as long as they were TSSCI with caveats. I was to destroy the orders. I knew what to do when. I carefully ripped the two papers to shreds, then I turned them into paper maché with soap, then I flushed it down the toilet a bit at a time.
Jones, Delacroix and Holmes would be my team.
That night, Delacroix and I slept in the only bed in the room. Throughout the night she moved closer and closer to me. She was grinding her ass against me as she slept. I had my sweats on thank god, or I would have just, I would have… well you know. By 0400 I was completely wrapped around her. She smelled good, I didn’t want to let go of her. I don’t know if it was because she was a highly attractive, voluptuous hard-bodied woman, or because I felt protective of her.
I got out of bed at 0405 and I went to run. I put my maintenance bag into a locker at the gym and I went to run in the snow. I ran three miles in about a half and hour in the snow. I went to the gym showers as Rochibauld had instructed. Rochibauld was there showering. It was very awkward.
“Hello dear Botendaddy, you are utterly delectable. But enough small talk. The shower is perfect as no-one can overhear, there are no cameras or listening devices and no-one can be tempted to bring a recorder or take notes.”
“OK what’s the plan? And before we do anything I need to see your orders or I can’t be sure that you are the right contact.”
“Excellent. I will show them to you shortly. At any rate, enough of your tedious spy-games. We will be proceeding to Luxembourg City. There will be a NATO meeting, and our best sources tell us that XRAF will be there. The Kremlin is angry about US support for rebels in Afghanistan and they are helping XRAF to let NATO know that unless America stops supporting the rebels, they will keep hitting NATO where they are vulnerable. You see, it’s Yuri Andropov’s virus theory: you only need support a revolutionary group then let it run free to do harm. You don’t need to actively control it.”
“But there’s a lockdown.”
“That only applies to the plebes, not to us, Mein Geehrter Herr. (delicious)”
We met at the lockers. He showed me the official orders from a sealed NATO envelope.
We were to leave that evening in the dark at 2000 hours. We were taking my RAFOV.
FLASH FORWARD DECEMBER 3, 2003 WEST OF NASSIRIYYEH, DHI QAR PROVINCE, IRAQ
He and his forward observation team trained their weapons on the three stragglers as the infantry finally made it over and started to detain the three living insurgents. The medics inspected the dead. The insurgents did not look up. They looked very young.
The Lieutenant Colonel was breathing heavily. They had just arrived at the area for a routine KPR when he had spotted the movement in the ditch. He had been the first to open fire, and his mixed team of FO’s and USAF FACs set up a skirmish line and gave him cover.
“Sir, It looks like we have them all. The only ones were in the irrigation ditch over the berm. You killed the three, the other three have given up. That was pretty impressive for a Cannon-Cocker, with all due respect.” Said First Sergeant Cuevo.
“Well, I just do like I was trained. We hit the ground whenever we unass a vehicle and set up security. Everyone else can do what they like.”
The medic walked up to the LTC. “Sir, you’re bleeding.”
“Whoa, maybe I scratched myself getting out of the vehicle.”
“Sir, he means you’re bleeding a lot.”
“No shit sir, let’s get you in the truck and take a look at you.”
“I’m feeling very winded, but running that fast with all that equipment.”
He lay down in the ground ambulance as the medics cut open his BDU pants and pulled off his shirt.
“Sir, you were hit twice, the one possibly penetrated your right lung, it went through your flak jacket and through a rib. The other round went through the inside of your left thigh. You were very lucky, but a little higher and you might have had a little trouble with the wife.” Said the Physician’s Assistant.
“Let’s go, get him to the Ali Airbase field hospital, we don’t have time for MEDEVAC.
Frühstück-Tankstelle Petrol Station Weiersbach, Rheinland Palatinate 0200 Hours 20 December
“Why are we driving a RAFOV, but we are in uniform, Rochibauld?” I asked
“Yes, idiotic.” Added Jones
“Aren’t we a little obvious?” Asked Delacroix.
“It’s cold as balls out here.” Interjected Holmes.
“We’re in the Army, man. Butch up.”
“You Americans are so sexy, like Cowboys.” Said Rochibauld.
We went in to get our Fruhstuck.
“We look like a bunch of typical soldiers.” Said Holmes
“We all look more like National Guards. You know, the Southern Comfort National Guards, the Rambo National Guards, the 1960’s-80’s National Guards that had been cuckolded by President Johnson and shit on by the Army from oh say, 1954 to present. We all have National Guard time right?”
They were playing Köln II by Kraftwerk™ inside the Tankstelle. It was rhythmic and soothing. I thought back to my old National Guards base. My shitty OD Green ‘Stripes’ uniform. Eating at Funx Mini-Mart.
Rochibauld, was magnificent in his Bundeswehr fatigues. As magnificent as a former East German who became a West German could be. He ordered for everyone. His choices were good. Some kind of breakfast cake with some kind of würst.
Rochibauld bore an uncanny resemblance to William Patrick Hitler, the nephew of the Fuehrer who ad served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. As a matter of fact, he looked exactly like a tall version of Adolf Hitler himself. Odd, I thought.
I went to the weird German bathroom, with the toilets with the little shelf where bowel movement collected and never got flushed down, leaving a horrible stench.
It was ungodly cold in the bathroom. I could see steam as I broathe (Past participle of breathe) What the fuck was up with these fucking Europeans? My ALICE pack came with me everywhere. I opened the one classified envelope in the shitty stall.
Wow. Rochibauld looked like Hitler for a reason. He was his grandson. Legitimately, really the true blood descendant of Adolf Hitler, the dossier explained that Der Fuhrer had had an affair with a women from Saxony, the daughter of a Baron. Her son, Karl Sächse, was married to a woman from Alsatia the daughter of a former Duke named Heûtélièr. Karl never knew his ancestry.
This was literally insane. Why was he assigned to us? This psycho former East German Punk-Rocker who escaped the Iron Curtain, went to University and joined the Bundeswehr, but was some kind of non-violent nihilist who excelled at the hideous Fü∫∫ball. This had to be some kind of PSYOPS, everyone knew that Hitler had no children… or did he?
As we sat in the Tankstelle, I took a look around at the other Putniks who were on the road. Nothing out of the ordinary. A few truckers, a couple of German families and an innocuous Schwüle couple.
I wondered if they were coming back from some party or maybe going on Holiday as the Euros like to say. I wouldn’t have thought any more of it, but one of the Schwüler looked over his purple tinted round glasses at me for a second with a curious look. It wasn’t the typical glance of Schwülen, but a more straightforward look like he was sizing me up.
JHe broke character. He may have been Schwüles in real- life, but he and his ‘partner’ were no typical Putniks. I had seen him before in some briefing photo. I knew him. I did not alert the rest of my party immediately. One of the Schwüler went to the bathroom. the other one, his back to us, remained.
“Listen folks, don’t anyone look up or break character.”
“The couple”, I said, referring to the Schwülem couple at the booth by the Fenster. The window looked out over the back parking lot where the Benzinpumpen were located and Langstreckwagen were parked.
“I want to find out what kind of car they are driving. We need a plate. When they leave, we stay, but one of us goes out side to roak a Zigaraat, one of those Dutch Cigarettes. Rochibauld, why don’t you go to the schmutziges Badezimmer, but don’t be obvious.”
Rochibauld winked and walked back to the Badezimmer.
FT. INDIANTOWN TRAIL – “NATIONAL GUARDS” – FOUCK’S MINI-MART AUGUST 1983
I had just graduated from State OCS. I was now a Second Lieutenant. I was on a field exercise. But it was important to get a whole Italian sub with hot pepper mayo and a Grapple Bottled Iced Tea. My driver was a bookie in real life. He needed the phone, I needed the sub. So it worked out. While he was on the payphone I was ordering my sub.
There were some active duty officers in the place. They were complete assholes. Uniforms perfect. They had the new BDU’s while we had the dogshit OD Green ‘Stripes’ uniform. They looked good, we looked like ass.
My theory was that for the most part we were genetically inferior material as soldiers. Not as physically strong, not as tough, not as mentally fit. Sure a good percentage were OK and as good as any on active duty, but on a sliding scale most of them were better than most of us and they always reminded us of it.
I thought about the National Guards in the 60’s, humiliated forgotten, portrayed as fat idiots in movies like Southern Comfort and First Blood.
I hated those phony’ strack’ Active Army assholes. So they were better than us, did they have to shit on us constantly? As our evaluators, they fucked us at every opportunity.
Their General was an almost complete asshole. Super-thin, super-strack, Vietnam Vet. BG Fraunfaisce, what an odd name. He picked me for prime hate. I felt a tap on my shoulder.
“Hey Lieutenant, I’m looked at your file. Why in the hell are you trying to be a forward observer instead of following your real profession?”
I had an immediate feeling that my hair was too long, my 1960’s uniform looked like shit, my boots were worse and I knew this asshole could make trouble for my unit.
“Sir, well, the National Guard gives me an opportunity to do something different than I do in real life.”
“I’ve been watching you son, you are an asshole. You are the worst officer I have ever seen. You are capable of being good, but you don’t take any of this seriously. You think you are better than all of this. You are lazy, slovenly, irreverent. There is something not right about you. If I didn’t know better I would think you were a Bolshevik spy. Why are you even here?”
I didn’t like confrontation, but I wasn’t smart enough to be political.
“Thank you sir. I’m here because five generations of my family have gone to war in the Army for their country. Some were active duty, some reserves, and yes some were shitty National Guards, two of whom were KIA in WWII. My uncle Steve, whom I obviously never met, was in the US 77th Division out of New York, and he died on a shit-covered muddy hill in the Pacific on some forgotten volcanic island, killed by the shitty Japs. My uncle Harry was a ‘National Guards’ MP in the 28th Division who served in WWI and died at the Battle of the Bulge in WWII when he was left alone at vehicle checkpoint and he fought to the death rather than being captured by the filthy Krauts. So forgive me if I am out of line, but I’m here for them and not for you. I need to get my fucking sandwich if I may be excused, Sir.”
The General didn’t care. He glared at me. I found my driver Spec-5 Giuseppe Excellente and we headed back to training area Bravo right next to the Appalachian Trail. We were in store for more humiliation and bad evaluations.
Düsseldorf Kaserne – North Rhine-Westphalia 2200 Hours 27 December 1984
We drove through the narrow, empty streets in the old part of the city. It was late at night, cold with blustery snow. In the morning it would be bustling with Leute going about their business oblivious to the cat and mouse game of bold heroic Hollywood American Eagles against the muscular Red Russian Bear and their slimy German Commie proxies.
We checked into a separate cottage at the Kaserne. The Bundeswehr knew not to ask any questions (Frage in Deustch, pronounced Fra-kka). The Kaserne was stocked with everything we needed. There was a small vault room for weapons.There was a separate room for Delacroix. There was only one other bed. Rochibauld started singing ‘Drei Mann im Doppelbett‘ by Trio.
Meanwhile back at Safe House Düsseldorf
There was a knock at the door, it was Abdul-Rahim-Mahmoud-Al-Akhbar Steinemetz of the extreme Palestinian Revolutionary Brigade People’s Communist Faction – Team Karl Marx.
He gave the secret challenge:
Es ist kalt da draußen, du Arschloch! Warum hast du nicht schneller auf die Tür geantwortet?
They gave the secret password:
Oh schloss den Mund Sie dumm stinkenden Kopf schütteln!
Axiom #4 Enjoy it while you can: You may Never be Relevant Again
Four Days Earlier – Habay La Neuve, Belgium: Maison du Frommage Vert
We drove directly into the garage. It was cold and overcast when we pulled in. It was deep in the Ardennes. The RAFOV was parked in an elevator pad that was part of a NATO secret missile complex. We descended slowly for about four minutes.
I nodded to the driver and he pulled out into an underground tunnel. We stopped at a security gate. I handed the Airman the packet and we were waved to a parking area deep under the forest.
We emptied the vehicle and marched our team into a barracks building that was constructed especially for deep Ultra Extreme Top Super Secret strike teams.
Delacroix had her own room as did Rochibauld. The EM’s were roomed together and I finally had my own room. I showered, we all got changed and awaited the next briefing.
After a fashion, a “suit” came in. He took our packets and orders and he handed me a new packet. He whispered in my ear.
I gathered the team and we waited out front in the tunnel. An Army Major came up and without a word waved us down the tunnel then into a super top secret briefing room. There were two MP’s at the door, both heavily armed. We sat around a table and we waited.
Soon the suit came in with the Major.
“Let’s not bother with the bullshit formalities Lieutenant Botendaddy, come with me. The rest of you assholes wait here.”
I was escorted into a ‘clean room’. The room was like a war room with the most advanced electronic view screens, maps, comms equipment, phones and an array of senior military and civilian people. Everyone was roaking cigars, cigarettes.
The main suit was there who greeted me in the General’s office back at Vilseck. The Major stood against the wall, looking disgusted. The suit spoke first.
“Botendaddy. You aren’t stupid. Lazy, self-involved, irreverent, disrespectful, dysfunctional, pre-verted, self-serving, idiotic, glory-hound. But one thing about you, you are deathly loyal for the wrong reasons. You are a megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur. Worse than that you are a god-damned, rotten, Jew. Even worse than that an English Jew, the worst kind. Loyal only to the ghost of Oliver Cromwell, you are practically an Anglican-Episcopalian. But you would gladly betray your Bolshevik, Jew-commie, Marxist, scumbag brethren to prove your Americanism. You would literally do anything to be an American Army hero like your ancestors. That’s why we can trust you. You would die rather than sell out to the shit-covered, filthy, pinko, commie, rat-bastard Soviet (pronounced Sah-vee-yet) scum.”
He threw a new folder on the table.
An intel Admiral nodded to the disgusted Major. The Major threw a manila envelope on the table. The major was a young Vietnam Veteran. Probably served there in ’70. He looked to be about 34 years old. He had a Bronze Star with V device, Purple Heart, CIB.
“We picked you so you would pick the worst group of fuck-tards imaginable. Delacroix is a token woman Louisiana Cajun swamp-running moron, Holmes is a third-rate NCO, Jones, I don’t know him and Rochibauld is the biggest asshole I’ve ever met in my entire life. You were selected to go up against the Commie-Terrorist ‘C-Team’ You guys are too fucked up even to go up against the ‘B-Team’. Maybe you’ll catch them building a bomb and you’ll all get blown up, that will save the United States years of agony dealing with useless, shit-covered National ‘Guards’ Officers like yourself.”
I handed the Major a Schiggarettenstein and I lit for him. He nodded, acknowledging the fine roak.
“OK Sir, I think I get it. I’ve got it from day one. I’m not that stupid.”
“Your orders? Read them yourself and figure it the fuck out. We plan on you fucking up this operation so we can have headlines and then carry out our counter-attack with impunity. If you get in trouble you can fucking die for all I care, once you leave here, you get no help. You can never talk about this operation. But if by some bizarre shred of luck you succeed, we will make sure you and your team get favored assignments and you will get the first opportunity at a combat patch. You will stay in until you get it. If you ever disclose any of this mission outside authorization, I will have you sent on a mission that I guarantee you will never return from alive. I will personally f&%k you in your man-cunt. You will also not let your idiot team know that they are anything but the A-Team, like BA Barracus, are we clear ‘Lieutenant’?”
(Ich Lieb Den Rock n’ Roll by Trio) Musical background theme as Botendaddy angrily leaves the briefing room as the senior officers and suits chuckle and take long roaks off of their ‘Schiggs’
Axiom #5: It takes a thief to set a thief
I thought about what they said. It was true. You know if you are the real thing or not. Or at least the real thing within the confines of the world you are brought up in. If you don’t excel within the system you were raised in, even if you try, then you are not a success within the system.
The reasons are obvious: not athletic enough, not circumspect enough, not studious enough, not smart enough, not capable enough. It’s an objective standard. The only way to beat it, is to create your own system, play your own game. If you didn’t get into West Point, if you weren’t an active-duty airborne ranger, then you aren’t one of the best. Case closed, end of story.
Conclusion: a first rate opponent will have trouble with a third-rate opponent. Why? All of their expectations will be off. The opponent will be late, show up at the wrong place, not read or listen to orders, not train, not practice, forget salient details, miss deadlines, attack in the wrong place at the wrong time. The first-rate operative will be caught off guard.
The third-rate operative thinks in the same slow, sloppy, lazy way as the third-rate opponent. Each is expendable to their own side. That’s why we were there. We were a distraction from the real game. The one thing our side missed: these third-rate terrorists were playing their own game.
I couldn’t let my team know that they were considered third-rate, hated, sub-human ‘shitbirds’. In reality, they were American heroes and they were willing to die for it. But our handlers thought themselves so superior to us they would have gladly led us to the slaughterhouse, then gone and eaten a sandwich.
I didn’t feel an urge to prove them wrong. My battle with the terrorists was only with the terrorists. I hated them of my own accord and my own sense of American tradition.
TO BE CONTINUED