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Old 01-13-2015, 11:15 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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Location: Auberry, CA
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Part III:

21 May, 2012; Wing Commander's Residence, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. 1325 Hours Mountain Daylight Time:


Colonel Matt Wiser, USAF Reserve, was sitting in his den, reading the latest issue of Air and Space Magazine. This issue had a couple of articles on how the New Air and Space Museum was taking shape on the National Mall, and how exhibits had been recovered, decontaminated, and sent to the “temporary” museum at Quantico, and the same had been done for the aircraft in storage at the Gerber Restoration facility in Maryland. Now, the Air and Space Museum was going home, though the Quantico Museum would stay as a satellite museum, and would house exhibits too big for the main museum on the Mall. As he perused the magazine, he wondered how the Smithsonian would treat World War III. He'd given an oral history interview, and wondered what aircraft would fit in the new museum's World War III gallery, when another article caught his eye. “What?” He reread the piece. It was from a former reporter for Air Force Times, who was now a respected aviation historian. The article gave details of the mission that he and his flight had flown, two days prior to PRAIRIE FIRE kicking off, and had been told not to talk about with anyone. Guru then went to his laptop, and went online. He found the magazine's web site, and found the article. Then he picked up his phone and called his wife, who should be in her office.

“Yeah?” The voice on the other end asked. “What's up?”

“Goalie, get online, and go to Air and Space magazine's web site. Click on the current issue, and open the third article down from the top. Then call back and tell me what you've read.”

“What?” Colonel Lisa Eichhorn-Wiser asked. She was the CO of the 366th TFW at Mountain Home.

“Just do it,” Guru said. The CO of the 419th TFW (AFRES) was firm in that.

“Okay, but if this is some kind of joke, buster....You'll get it. No romping in the hay for you...”

“As one wing CO to another, this is on the level,” Guru said.

“Okay,” his wife said, then she hung up. Five minutes later, she called. “I read it, but don't believe it. Is this the one where....”

“This is the one,” Guru acknowledged. “The guy must've FOIA'd the mission reports, because everything's there. Is Kara in her office?”

“I'll get her,” Goalie said. A couple minutes later, Kara came in. Then she got on the line.

“What the hell, Guru? This guy on the level?”

“Looks like it,” he said. “Put Goalie back on.”

“Guru?” His wife asked.

“You might want to make some phone calls. JAG, OSI, HQ TAC, and who know what else? You might want to tell those folks that this mission's now in the public domain, and we might get contacted by other media, or other researchers. Bottom line: are we still bound by the NDAs?” Guru wanted to know.

“I'm wondering that myself,” Goalie said. “I'll make some calls, then call you back.”

While he was waiting for his wife to call back, Colonel Wiser turned on CNN. At the top of the hour, Wolf Blitzer was on, and after covering the '12 Presidential Campaign, turned to the next story. And it was the subject of the magazine article. He watched Blitzer interview the author of the story, and ask if these men and women knew they had saved the guerrilla portion of PRAIRIE FIRE, and who knew how many lives in the process?” The answer was blunt.

“To be honest, Wolf, I don't think so. These men and women are still bound by a nondisclosure agreement, which is why I never contacted them for the piece. They still wouldn't have been able to say anything about this mission.”

How right you are, Guru thought. No way would we have told anyone about this. Then his phone rang again. He checked the Caller ID, and knew who it was. “Yeah?”

“Guru, I just got off the phone with JAG and HQ TAC. We're still under the NDAs for now,” Goalie said.

“Lisa, did you tell them it's public domain now?”

“I did, Matt, and they said we're still covered. But they did bump it up to the Chief of Staff. It's his call, and he should have it by now.”

“If Sundown Cunningham was still Chief of Staff, he'd be volcanic right now.”

Goalie let out a laugh. “He would be,” she said. “And he would probably tear up those NDAs and say 'Boys and Girls, you can talk about this to whoever you want.'” Then there was an audible knock on the line, and Goalie said, “Yeah?”

Guru was able to overhear. “Ma'am, Chief of Staff's Office for you. On line two.”

“Guru did you-”

“I heard,” he replied. “Let me know how it turns out.”

“Will do.” Then she hung up.

A few minutes later, the phone rang again. It was Goalie. “Well?”

“He'll formally release us. As of 0900 Eastern tomorrow, we're free to talk about the mission,” said Goalie.

“Don't know if we'll get calls from reporters, but there's three people we can talk to,” Guru told his wife. “Eric, Sandy, and Melanie.”

In her office, Colonel Eichhorn smiled. “Well, well....when the kids get back for summer break, this is one war story they'll be glad to hear.”

“And Kacey, too,” Colonel Wiser reminded his wife.

“Not to mention the gang down at the 419th, especially Kelly Ray.”

“Okay, tell Kara, and I'll spread the word to Sweaty, Preacher, Hoser, and KT. Too bad Brainac's no longer with us,” Guru said.

“Yeah. I'll tell Kara, and I'll see you around 7:30 or so. Got a evening hop on the schedule,” Goalie said, the wing commander's voice coming back.

“And you know me: when you're out late, it's 'Hello, Pizza Hut?'”

She laughed. “Okay, get me a combination, and you that pepperoni and sausage you like.”

“It'll be here. Take care, and have a good flight. Who's it with?”

“Me and Kara are taking some newbies up. Teach them a thing or two.”

“Ah, memories,” Guru said. “See you later,”

“Will do. Love you.”

“You too. Bye.”

After hanging up, Guru e-mailed KT, Hoser, Preacher, but he called Sweaty. She was flying F-15Es down at Eglin, doing weapons tests, before hopefully getting her own squadron command. She was surprised, but relieved. Now she could tell her boyfriend about the mission.

After talking with Sweaty, Guru sat back and checked the F-4 Phantom Association's web site, and the message board. Sure enough, there was a link to the article, and there were posters already talking about the mission. Then his phone rang. “Wiser.”

“Colonel Wiser?”

“That's right, and you are?”

“Phil Shafter, Salt Lake Tribune. I'm calling about the article in Air and Space..”

“Mr. Shafter, I can't talk about that mission until I've been released from a nondisclosure agreement.” Colonel Wiser said. “That should tell you enough.”

“I understand, Colonel. When do you expect to be released?”

“In a few days, but listen to this, Mr. Shafter. IF you want to talk to me about this, go through the PAO at Hill Air Force Base,” Guru told the reporter, and his tone of voice said that the reporter had better do so.

“Of course, Colonel. Sorry to bother you.” Then the reporter hung up.

“I doubt it,” Guru said to himself. Then he called his wife again. “Lisa? Listen, I just had a reporter call me at home about that mission.”

“You're kidding.”

“No shit, Sherlock. I think you'd better have your PAO say something. Say three of the aircrew who flew that mission are on base, but are not talking to reporters until we're released from the NDA,”

In her office, Colonel Eichhorn looked at her Duty Officer. She whispered. “Get the PAO in here. NOW.” And the man slipped out the door. “Will do, Matt. Anything else?”

“We and Kara need to talk, and decide how much we're going to say about this. Tomorrow night, over leftover pizza.”

“Good idea.”

Guru nodded. “Okay, then. See you later. Love you.”

“You too,” his wife replied. “Bye!”

After hanging up, Guru thought. This is going to be a long evening. Too bad Raid doesn't deal with these kinds of pests....
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