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Old 01-19-2015, 09:15 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Auberry, CA
Posts: 960

Part III:

1355 Hours: Broadsword Leader, south of Hispaniola:

Colonel Duarte led his regiment on its southeasterly track, and occasionally turning on their missile radars to search for any targets. So far, nothing yet, and no word from the pathfinders since their last check-in, when they cleared the Haitian shoreline. Where are they? Duarte asked himself. He began to wonder if this was another wasted effort, when his copilot said, “Time to climb, Comrade Colonel.”

He meant climbing to 10,000 meters. Or 33,000 feet. Duarte nodded, and began to climb. As the Badgers did so, they also switched on their radars to search for targets.

1400 Hours: Kennedy CIC:

“Starbase, Seahawk 601,” the Hawkeye controller called. “Multiple bandits, bearing Three-four-zero relative, angels thirty and climbing.”

Mattingly nodded at that. “Here they come.”

The group's AAW officer on Valley Forge called it. “Multiple contacts bearing Zero-Zero three relative. Bandit count is estimated at thirty-plus. Picking up Short Horn radars. Designate Raid-One.”

“Admiral?” the chief of staff asked.

“That's it. Light everybody up. And sic the Tomcats on the bombers.” Mattingly ordered.

The carrier and her escorts lit up all of their radars, and the Hawkeyes began to vector the Tomcats onto the approaching bombers. “All Camelot and Gypsy elements, this is Seahawk 601. Your vector is two-seven-zero to two-seven three, for ninety-five. Kill. Repeat: KILL.”

CAG acknowledged the call, “Gypsy 200 copies. Let's go get 'em.”

Tomcats acknowledged the calls, and began lighting up the Badgers with their AWG-9 radars. Some of the fighters closed into get visual ID with their TCS systems before shooting, while others simply let loose with their Phoenix missiles. And within a minute, Badgers began to explode and drop out of the sky.

Broadsword Leader:

“What the...” Duarte yelled as the first two Tu-16s exploded. The bombers lacked the RWR gear the pathfinders carried, and thus the first hint they were under attack was when the first two bombers exploded. He yelled into the radio, “Scatter!”

Then his weapons officer shouted. “Target to the east! Single ship, bearing zero-zero-two relative.”

“It must be a picket ship! Target him and fire!” Duarte yelled.

Before his weapons officer could do just that, a Phoenix missile tracked down Duarte's bomber and blew the cockpit off, and the headless bomber tumbled out of the sky, trailing fire.

More and more bombers took Phoenix hits and either fell out of the sky, or simply exploded. Three bombers, though, managed to find the single contact and launch their missiles, before turning away. Four others kept on coming, despite the sight of their comrades dropping out of the sky, and closed the carrier group. One of the four Badgers got a radar contact on one of the escorts and fired, and the other three followed suit, before Tomcats closed in with Sparrows and Sidewinders, killing all four Badgers.

Kennedy CIC:

“Vampire! Vampire! We have inbound missiles!” the AAW officer called.

“Here we go,” Mattingly said.

The Aegis cruiser began shooting SM-2 missiles at the inbounds, and thanks to data links, South Carolina began doing so as well. Very quickly, a dozen SM-2s smothered the eight incoming AS-5s, and soon there were no more inbounds. But there were six others targeted on the surface contact to the west, the ship ID'd as a neutral. Two late-launching Tomcats were vectored onto the missiles, and they launched four Phoenixes, killing three missiles. Three others closed the contact. And the various CIC crews watched as the missile symbols closed onto the ship, and two merged with it.

Not far from the Swedish freighter, the two A-7 pilots who'd ID'd the ship watched in horror as two Kelt missiles slammed into the Swede. . One missile landed in the ship's stern, while a second slammed into the freighter's midships section, just aft of the funnel. Both one-ton warheads simply ripped the hapless freighter apart, but she didn't sink. Not immediately, anyway.

Commander Doyle watched from above. “Buns, follow me in. Call out if you see anything in the water, like a boat or raft.” When the raid warning had gone out, they had been told to orbit and wait for the all-clear. Both pilots had a ringside seat to the freighter's demise, as well as seeing aircraft fall out of the sky to the west.

“Roger that.” And the two A-7s went down onto the burning, drifting freighter.

“Good lord....” Doyle said as he made his pass. The stern of the Swede had been blown off, and the midships section looked like somebody had taken a meat cleaver to it and simply gouged a huge portion out of it. And the whole ship from the bridge aft was afire.

“Starbase, Clansman 304. That Swedish ship took two hits. She's still afloat, but barely. No sign of any...wait. One raft in the water.” Doyle called in.

“Clansman 307 confirms. And there's a second raft now, and two survivors just went over the side.” Buns called.

“Starbase copies. Clansman 304, orbit and assume on-scene command. We'll get some help out there real quick.”

“Roger. Have fuel for nine-zero minutes.” Doyle replied.

“Admiral, we'd best get a couple of helos out there ASAP.” the chief of staff said.

“Do it. Notify sick bay to stand by to receive survivors.” Mattingly ordered.

The AAW officer then called in. “Three bombers off scope to the west. Tomcats unable to pursue. Vampires all accounted for. Raid-One is now history.”

“All right,” Mattingly said. “Have four Tomcats top off from tankers, and keep them airborne. Bring everybody else home and get them turned around ASAP.”

On deck, flight ops resumed, as two SH-3Hs lifted off on the search-and-rescue, while Tomcats and tankers whose jobs were now done, began to form up in the pattern for landing. Within minutes, those aircraft due for recovery had trapped, and the carrier resumed normal flight operations.

“Admiral, recommend securing from General Quarters.” the chief of staff said.

“Make it so,” Mattingly said.

1445 Hours, Clansman 304:

Commander Doyle watched as the two SH-3s came in for the rescue. Both helos hovered, and their rescue swimmers went into the water to recover survivors. The swimmers worked quickly but cautiously, not knowing if any of the survivors were injured, and indeed, one of the survivors had to be lifted into a helo with a rescue litter. Once the survivors were aboard, the helos turned for the carrier. And as the two Corsairs turned to follow, the freighter did a heave, a final gout of smoke and flame erupted, and she plunged into the deep, stern first.

“Starbase, Clansman 304. The freighter has gone down. Helos are inbound with survivors, and we are RTB at this time.”

“Copy that, 304. Come on home.”

The two A-7s peeled away and headed east, back to the ship. They beat the helos back to the carrier, and both Popeye and Buns watched from Vulture's Row as the two helos arrived with their human cargo. Sure enough, one was a definite stretcher case, two others needed assistance, but four were able to walk off the helos unassisted. Popeye turned to Buns and commented, “Wrong place, wrong time.”

“This war doesn't play favorites,” Buns noted.
Treat everyone you meet with kindness and respect, but always have a plan to kill them.

Old USMC Adage
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