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Old 12-28-2014, 07:42 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Auberry, CA
Posts: 941

Part II:

23 November 1986: 0225 Mountain War Time, North of U.S. 60, La Paz County, AZ:

The party found a campsite near a pond that showed on their BLM maps. There was a rocky ledge about a hundred yards away, but after Guru led Ryan on a search-an old habit from his E&E days, he pronounced the area clear. After a meal of MREs and coffee, they settled down for the night. It would be their last night before heading back to Williams the next morning, and the day after that, for the F-4 crewers, it was back in the saddle, and taking it to the ComBloc. There was some stargazing, and a couple of meteors made sure that part of the night didn't go to waste, then Radner and Ryan went into their tent, and soon after, Guru and Goalie did the same. And things got much more....intimate after that.

Unknown to the party, a six-man patrol of Cuban Special Forces was up on the ledge, watching. They were on a recon, having been inserted by helicopter from Mexico a few days earlier, and they had been watching U.S. 60 and I-10, noting the traffic on both highways. Now, they were about to try and execute the second phase of their mission, and take a prisoner or two with them back to Mexico for interrogation. Civilian or military, it didn't matter. The Team Leader gave his orders, and his men headed down toward the campsite.

In the tent she shared with Radner, Ryan Blanchard woke up. Something just didn't seem right. Whether it was her instinct as a cop-and she had been one before the war, or what, she didn't know, but something was out there, she felt. The moonlight came through the tent, and she could see her bare skin-Kyle was as good in a sleeping bag as he was in bed, and she smiled at that. Still, something was up. So she put on her boots, when there was a sound outside.

Goalie heard that sound, too. “Matt, wake up!” She hissed.

Guru woke up to see Goalie leaning over him. The last time someone had woken him up in a tent, he'd seen that....thing. “What?” He whispered.

“Something's out there, and I don't think it's a coyote.” She paused. “We may have two-legged company.”

“Uh-oh...Get dressed,” Guru said. Goalie was in her birthday suit, and he only had his underwear on. He threw on a T-Shirt and his boots, and was reaching for his rifle, when a shot rang out.

“Oh, Shit!” Goalie said, throwing on a T-shirt of her own, and grabbing her own rifle, when gunfire came from the other tent.

Ryan watched as the intruders-three of them, she could see, approached the camp. She had only time to put on her combat boots and grab her M-16, and wake up Kyle at the same time, before she took matters into her own hands. Ryan poked her M-16 out the tent flap, took aim at the lead intruder, and opened fire, dropping him with a four-round burst. Then AK fire came in reply.

“Great!” Guru said as the bullets started flying. “We come out here to get away from the war, and it found us.” He spotted a target and fired, putting a bullet into the target's shoulder.

“Hey, you're used to this!” Goalie said as she grabbed her own rifle. “I'm not.”

Another burst of gunfire came from the other tent, and in the moonlight, Guru saw another intruder drop to the ground, apparently dead. Then he heard shouts in Spanish. “Cubans.....”

In their tent, Ryan looked at Kyle. He had his own M-16 at the ready. “Remember your small-arms training?”

“Yeah. At the Academy: my Doolie Summer,” he replied.

“Good enough. Cover me.” She said, grabbing her M-16 and running outside, with Radner firing as she did so. Only then did he realize that she only had her combat boots on.

Guru and Goalie saw it as well. “What the??” Goalie said, incredulous at the sight.

“Cover her,” Guru said. He sprayed the ridgeline with his own M-16, and advanced to his Jeep. He cautiously went around the back, and found a Cuban there, clutching his left shoulder. The man tried to go for his own AKM, but Guru put a burst into his chest, killing him. He then saw Ryan running up to the ridge. “Goalie!”


“Throw some gas on the fire when I tell you to.” He ordered.

Nodding, she came to the jeep and pulled out a gas can. “Ready.”

“Not yet,” he said, spraying more fire at the ridge, then he grabbed a fresh magazine in the jeep and slapped it into his rifle.

Up on the ridge, the Cuban Lieutenant was having a fit. What had seemed to be an easy mark was clearly not the case, and whoever they were down there, they were more than ready. He recognized the M-16 by its own sound, and he cursed this wretched country, where anyone and their mother could have such a rifle if they were civilians. Now, three of his men were down, and counting himself, there were only three left. And the gunfire from down below had them pinned down. Going to recover the bodies of their comrades, as per their orders, was clearly not an option. He turned to one of the two troopers left. “You two, get to the rendezvous point. I'll cover you. If I'm not there in an hour, proceed to the extraction site.”

“Si, Comrade Lieutenant,” one of the troopers-a corporal-said.


As the two troopers slipped away, the Lieutenant heard a sound It sounded like someone was coming around one of the rocks. He raised his AKM, only to see a flash, and then he felt his right leg come out from under him.

Ryan watched the two Cubans run down the other side of the ridge in the moonlight, but she saw a third. He turned to face her,and raised his rifle, but she didn't give him that chance. Ryan didn't have time to aim, so she sprayed a burst at his lower body, and watched as he went down, clutching his right leg. She walked over to him and kicked the AKM out of the way, then she safed it and after picking it up, she slung it over her shoulder, and taking his pistol as well.. “Nice try, Fidel.” The Cuban looked at her. “Now get up.”

Down below, Guru, Goalie, and Radner were scanning the ridgeline. There was no more fire coming, and they had heard Ryan's M-16. “We go up? Radner asked.

“No,” Guru said firmly. “We wait.” His time with the Resistance was showing, and this was the first time anyone in the squadron had been able to see it.

Goalie looked at him and nodded. He's been through this before, she realized. She turned back to look at the ridge, and saw someone limping, with another right behind with a rifle in hand and another over the shoulder. “I think that's her. Nobody's shooting.”

“Time to make sure. Ryan!”


“Who were the three hosts of That's Incredible!”

“John Davidson, Cathy Lee Crosby, and Fran Tarkenton! Guru, I loved that show!”

“That's her,” Goalie said. “And I liked that show, too.”

Nodding, Guru said. “Come on in!” He turned to Goalie. “Now you can get the gas on the fire.”

Goalie took a metal gas can and flung some gas on the campfire embers, and the fire blazed up. In the firelight, they could see Ryan, wearing only her combat boots, and with an M-16 in one hand, a Tokarev TT-33 pistol in another, and an AKM slung over her shoulder, pushing a Cuban soldier ahead of her. And everyone could see the Cuban was wounded. “Well, I'll be damned.”

“What?” Ryan asked.

“You're probably the first woman to capture an enemy wearing her birthday suit and combat boots.”

Hearing that, Guru and Radner laughed. And both could see Ryan breaking out with an evil-looking smile. “I wonder if Fidel here knows?” Guru commented.

“He's wounded,” Ryan said. “Someone get a first-aid kit.”

Radner went to their jeep and got the kit. He checked the wound in the blazing firelight. “Looks like a through-and-through.” He commented, putting some sulfa in the wound and applying a pressure bandage. Working quickly, he finished bandaging the Cuban, who nodded his thanks, then he started babbling in Spanish.

“What's he saying?” Guru asked. “Anybody speak Spanish?”

The others shook their heads no.

“All right,” Guru said. He stuck his head in the Cuban's face. “Speak any English?”

“Si,” the Cuban replied.

“What are you talking about?” Guru demanded.

“Senor, please, shoot me.”

“What?” Guru asked, shocked. “Why?”

The Cuban looked at Ryan. “Because, not only have I been captured by a woman, but by a naked woman. I will never live this down, and if I make it to one of your prison camps, I will be a laughingstock. Please, Senor, shoot me!”

The other three looked at Ryan. She had put the Cuban's rifle and pistol in the Jeep, but was still pointing her M-16 at the Cuban. And she was still wearing only her combat boots. She looked at Guru, who nodded, then said to the Cuban. “That's your problem.”


“Sorry, but you'll be handed over to the proper authorities who deal with prisoners of war. If you want to try to escape, you can take your chances with them.” Ryan said to the Cuban, who was not at all happy, and was on the verge of crying.

“I beg you! Please! You can say to your own people that I was trying to escape...please!”

“Sorry...” Ryan said as she went back into the tent.

“What'll we do with this loser?” Radner said.

“We do what Ryan said. We'll take Highway 60 back, and we can drop him off at Luke's main gate. Their intel shop will want to have a chat with this guy,” Guru decided. “But this is a first.”

“What?” Goalie asked.

“We never kept prisoners when I was with the Resistance. Lori Sheppard had a habit of shooting them. Either when their interrogations were finished, or she just plain shot them out of hand.”

Hearing that, the Cuban was hoping that this American, who had clearly been with the bandits and terrorists who called themselves the Resistance, might take his old comrade's habit to heart, and finish him. But that was not to be.

“All right,” Guru ordered. “Goalie, find some rope and tie this guy up. I'll take the first watch. You take over in an hour, then Radner, then Ryan.”

“Hopefully, she'll be dressed this time,” Radner observed.

“Maybe,” Guru smiled, then turned to the Cuban, who was practically in tears.

0630 Hours Mountain War Time, 23 November, 1986, La Paz County, AZ.

“Rise and Shine, sleepyheads!” Ryan shouted.

Guru and Goalie came out of their tent. After taking their turns guarding the prisoner, both had gone back to sleep-fully dressed this time, and Radner had done the same. Now, it was time to eat breakfast, break camp, and start heading back to civilization.

As they ate, they noticed their prisoner, who was hog-tied in the back of Guru and Goalie's jeep. “Give him something?” Radner asked.

“If Lori Sheppard was here, she'd be asking about his last meal,” Guru quipped.

“That bad?” Goalie asked. She knew full well what her pilot had experienced on that E&E, and they'd had a long talk about it. Just in case they went skydiving, and and met up with the guerillas.

“She'd be thinking about where to shoot him and how many times,” Guru said. “Lori had no problems about blowing out somebody's kneecaps, and maybe his elbows, too, before finishing him off. Given what they did to her family, I don't blame her at all.”

“From what you told me,” Goalie chipped in, “neither do I.”

As they ate, Ryan decided to give the Cuban a granola bar, which he took gratefully, even though he was hog-tied in the back of a jeep. And he was still begging her to shoot him. She shook her head, then went back to help break camp. “This chump's still asking us to shoot him.”

“He'll be disappointed. When we get to Luke, they'll have a chat with this dude, and send somebody out after his friends.” Guru said.

“Who?” Radner asked.

“Ever hear of the Apache trackers?”

“Oh...Them.” Radner said quietly.

Goalie nodded. “Yep, them. And a lot of their old ways came back with the war.” She turned to the Cuban, knowing that he was listening. “If they had caught this guy, he'd be smeared with honey, left out in the desert, and leave him for the ants.” And the expression on the Cuban's face was one of shock.

“I guess he knows,” Ryan quipped. “You guys remember that Blinder that went down on the reservation? You know, the one near San Carlos?”

“The one where the Army found all three crewmen scalped and left staked out in the desert, after they'd been flayed alive?” Guru said.

“That's the one. The Army and the AF had to remind the tribe that it was hard to interrogate corpses, and that taking a downed Russian or Cuban alive was a good thing.” Ryan said, glaring at the Cuban, who looked properly terrified.

“Well, the trackers will find this guy's friends, wherever they are,” Goalie said. “And they'd better hope the trackers are in the mood to bring 'em in alive. Otherwise....”

The Cuban lieutenant's expression was one of horror. Were these Americans going to turn him over to the Wild Indians? Their savagery was well-known to the Socialist Forces, and apart from a few progressive individuals, the tribes had disdained the efforts of the liberating forces, and had taken to the hills and formed their own groups of terrorists. If a company or a battalion went on a sweep, they found nothing. If a squad or platoon went on a patrol, they never came back, and often, the soldiers had been put to death in ways that their Soviet adviser said “Would make an Afghan puke.”

Guru finished his MRE coffee. “All right, let's break camp and get going.”

“What about the Cuban bodies?” Radner asked.

“What about 'em?” Guru replied. “Take their weapons and ammo, check them for any documents, maps, etc, and just plain leave 'em. The trackers will take care of the bodies.” Even if it's tossing them in that pond, Guru thought to himself. Good riddance.

0930 Hours Mountain War Time, U.S. 60, La Paz County, AZ.

It had taken an hour to break camp, and another hour and a half to get to a road, but finally, the party was on U.S. 60, headed east. They had passed through a couple of small towns, and except for locals, and a couple of delivery trucks making their rounds, there was hardly any traffic. It was a Sunday, after all. When they went through the towns, some folks waved. At a STOP sign, a local deputy sheriff was curious. “Got an extra passenger?”

“He crashed our party last night,” Guru said. “Taking him to Luke AFB.”

“Cuban or Mexican?” The deputy asked.


The deputy nodded. “Better you guys got him than the local posse. They've found a few Cubans and Mexicans out this way.”

“Turn 'em over to the Army?” Ryan asked.

“A few. Some tried to escape,” said the deputy. “And they got either shot, or if they were recaptured, the posse didn't bother with the Army. They got strung up from the chaparral.”

“Good way to deal with 'em,” Goalie said.

“You all have a good day,” the deputy said. “If he tries to escape...”

“Don't worry about that.”

A couple hours later, they were approaching the Phoenix area. Goalie was driving this time, and Guru had a map out. “Litchfield Road is the one we want. That takes us right to Luke.”

“Roger that,” Goalie said. “How's our passenger?”

Guru turned to check on the Cuban, pointing his M-16 in the prisoner's direction. He was still hog-tied in the back, half buried under the camping gear. “Still there.”

“Good,” she nodded. Then an intersection came after a few miles. The sign said, “Litchfield Rd. Luke AFB.” She glanced at Guru. “This it?”

He nodded.”Take the right.”

She took the right, and Ryan and Radner were right behind them. Traffic was light for a Sunday, and it didn't take long until they were at Luke's main gate. As one expected, there was a lot of security. “Now what? Just drop this chump off?”

Guru unbuckled his seat belt and stood up. There were quite a few CSPs there, checking vehicles entering the base. One of them seemed to glance in their direction. He waved, and the airman came to the jeep to see what was going on. Guru handed the airman his ID.

The airman looked at the ID, then said, “Sir, what can I do for you?”

“We were off-roading, and had this chump-” Guru motioned to the Cuban, then went on “crash our party last night. Can we turn him over to you?”

The airman-who'd been in the Air Force all of six months, nodded. “Let me get my sergeant, Sir.”

“You do that.”

The airman went back to the gate, and talked to a couple of other CSPs. They came back, and one of them was a Staff Sergeant. “Sir?”

“Got a Cuban for you guys,” Guru said.

“Sir, bring him up to the gate, and we'll take him off your hands.” the Sergeant said.

“We'll follow you,” Guru said, nodding to Goalie.

The airmen waited until the traffic ahead had gone onto the base, then waved the two jeeps on in. Since Guru was the ranking officer, he went to deal with the security people. The sergeant opened the door to the Security Office at the gate. A female CSP Lieutenant was there, “Captain,” She said. “You have a Cuban?”

“That's right, and I want to turn him over to you guys. He's wounded, and there were likely buddies with him.” Guru said.

She nodded, “Let's go see him.”

Guru took her to the jeep and showed the Cuban to her. She nodded to her CSPs, and they got the prisoner out of the jeep.. “No problem, Captain. We'll take it from here.”

One of the CSPs checked the Cuban over. “Sir,” he jokingly said to Guru, “you don't have tags for this one.”

“Open season, Charlie,” the sergeant replied. “And no bag limit.”

“Lieutenant,” Guru said, “You might want to sic the Apache Trackers after this guy's buddies. We killed three of 'em, and he had to have had more.” He took out the map and showed where the encounter had occurred.

“No problem, Sir,” the CSP officer said. “We've got some here, and they'll find the rest of 'em. Dead or alive.”

One of the airmen came up with a EPW form on a clipboard. “Sir, you need to fill this out.”

Guru nodded, then waved to Ryan “Come on up here. You caught him.”

Ryan came up, and both of them filled out the form. After signing it, Ryan said, “He's all yours.”

Guru handed the form to the CSP officer. “One other thing: this guy's been begging us to shoot him since we caught him.”

“Why?” Asked the CSP Lieutenant.

“Because, when Lieutenant Blanchard here caught him, she had on only her combat boots and an M-16.” Guru said. The CSP officer looked at Ryan, who simply nodded.

“We won't let him forget it,” the CSP Sergeant said, overhearing the conversation as two airmen untied the Cuban.


The Cuban tapped the CSP Sergeant on the shoulder, then pointed to Ryan, “Mean Woman!”

And everyone laughed.

1400 Hours Mountain War Time, 335th TFS, Williams AFB, AZ

After turning in the camping gear and weapons, and returning the rented jeep to the dealer, the party went back to the squadron to check in. Colonel Rivers was there, earlier than they expected. “Boss,” Guru said. “Enjoy your time off?”

“That I did. Never been to the Grand Canyon before, so that was a good one,” Colonel Rivers said. “How about you guys?”

They all looked at each other. “Well, Sir,” Goalie said. “We had some offroading, some stargazing, and...”

“Let me guess, each other's company?” Rivers asked.

The couples looked at each other and shrugged.

“Guess that's a 'yes,' I'd bet,” Rivers said.

“Yes, Sir,” Ryan said.

“Now, what's this about a Cuban?” Rivers wanted to know. “First thing I get when I come back is a call from Luke, thanking you guys for bringing in a Cuban prisoner.”

The four all looked at each other. “Well, uh,” Radner said.

“Out with it!” Rivers said.

“It went like this, Sir,” said Ryan. And she told the story. When she was finished, Rivers was incredulous.

“Was it really like that?” He wanted to know.

Guru and Goalie nodded. “Yes, Sir,” Guru said. “It's true. In every detail.”

“Incredible,” Rivers said. “All right, get settled back in, get plenty of sleep, because 0530 tomorrow, it's back in the saddle.”

“YES, SIR!” All four shouted.

“Dismissed,” Rivers said, still shaking his head.

As they left Squadron HQ, Radner asked, “Now what?”

“Follow the Boss' advice: have a good dinner, hit the sack early, and it's SA-6s, Shilkas, and MiGs all over again,” Guru said to his wingmate.

One week later, Radner and his back-seater were dead, victims of SA-6. A painful reminder of how in wartime, life could be short. It was Guru and Goalie who broke the news to Ryan. Ten years later, Major Ryan Blanchard would name her firstborn son Kyle, in honor of a friend who had helped make her first weeks at Williams as pleasant as could be in wartime.
Treat everyone you meet with kindness and respect, but always have a plan to kill them.

Old USMC Adage
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