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By Terry L. Wood
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2014 Terry L. Wood
All rights reserved.
Later that night six other men, sitting in the team leader Reed's room, were listening to the radio.
"Six days to go before jump school, gentlemen! 'SSG. Reed's strong voice declared.
"Yeah! Six boring days of lying around" bellowed a half drunk Crocker. Hughes and Wood were each reading a magazine, with a beer near by. A news flash came on the radio: "Six members of a sniper team were killed at the Los Angeles International Airport this morning. Names are being with held pending notification of the next-of-kin. Several top German Officials were also killed."
"Grimm jumped his feet and growled; "Those commie bastards!'
"Settle down Grimm! Your time is coming, so just hold on. Besides, I don't want to hear it!" Reed's voice cut in.
Grimm just stood there looking like someone had just kicked his feet out from under him.
Wood, Townsend and Crocker just smiled. Reed stood up with his hands on his hips and roared with laughter.
A knock came at the door and as Townsend answered it, Reed stopped laughing long enough to get hold of his men.
Captain Hanson stood at the door and said, "Gentlemen, your jump school has been dropped from the program. You have thirty minutes to report to Colonel Wattsman's office. Be on time! A staff car will be waiting for you. Goodnight gentlemen," Captain Hanson left.
"I'd like to get that collage boy just once sarge, just......." "forget it Grimm it's not worth it." commanded Reed. "Get dressed and let's find out what 'Old Bullhead 'wants."
Each man went to his room to shower, shave and dress. As the members of this team left, Reed and Hughes yelled, "Make sure you're in khakis and spit-shined boots, nothing else. Thirty minutes later each was standing in front of Colonel Wattsman.
"Gentlemen, we had a small accident in L.A., which you've probably already heard about. I'll say this, before I get any static from you. The Sniper School here has begun an advanced course and you six men will be the first to go through it. Do you have any questions, gentlemen? If not, you're dismissed."
They saluted, turned and left the Colonel's office and returned to their rooms. Crocker and Grimm changed into civilian clothes. "Hey Hound, did you notice something strange about the Colonel's orderly?"
"You mean like being a little edgy on the phone?" replied Hound. "Yeah! Let's pay him a little visit. What bar did he mention? The Law Inn Bar on main street?"
"That's right, Butcher, and it's about a ten minute walk from here." replied Hound.
Ten minutes later both men were sitting across from Corporal Hellmen, the Colonel's orderly. Their conversation was light at first, then became heavier as the evening progressed. Hellman kept looking at his watch. "What's wrong, Hellmen? Expecting someone?" asked Crocker. "Why yes! I'm expecting a very lovely young woman soon.
She is going to meet me here so I can take her out to dinner," said Hellmen.
Didn't know anyone liked you that much, Hellmen. What have you got that some of us don't, old boy?" asked Grimm.
Before Grimm could get an answer from Hellmen, a beautiful blonde walked into the bar. She was about 5'7", had big blue eyes and legs that ran all the way up to her ass.
She was wearing a very mini-skirt and a halter top with a light jacket. To top it off she was built like a brick shithouse. Her measurements must have been about 38-24-36.
Grimm and Crocker looked at each other, both wondering what she saw in Hellmen.
Hellmen was really jumply now. He introduced the woman as Jean McCalley, then jumped up from the table, saying they'd be late for dinner, as he had made reservations at Long's Restaurant for 8p.m. Hellmen and McCalley left through the front door, then turned left. Grimm watched them walk out then turn left. To get to Long's they should have turned right. Something was up.
He tapped Crocker on the shoulder and motioned for him to come on. They followed Hellmen and McCalley for a short distance, until they entered Hellmen's apartment building. Crocker looked at his pocket watch, it was 8:10 p.m. Grimm glanced at Crocker's watch too. In silent agreement they watched Hellmen's apartment building until they saw a light come on in Hellmen's apartment. They moved cautiously up to the third floor; it was the second room from the stairwell. Grimm reached it first, followed closely by Crocker. Both heard the noise inside. It sounded like an argument was going on. They listened for a few minutes, then knocked on the door. McCalley answered. When she saw who it was, she tried to slam the door and made a mad dash for her purse.
Grimm kicked the door in and rushed McCalley, knocking her down. Doors flew open and people were looking out curiously, "Police! Stay in your rooms! There's been a murder. Don't unlock your doors!" Crocker yelled...................Doors slammed shut.
Hellman tried to get out through the door only to catch Crocker's fist. Grimm jumped sideways in time to catch Hellman and bounced him off the bed. McCalley had a knife in her right hand, she had taped to the inside of her jacket. She made an attempt to stick it into Grimm's unprotected back, but Crocker grabbed her wrist and swiftly broke it. Then he knocked her to the floor and told her to lie still, keep her mouth shut. Hellmen was out cold.
Grimm looked around the apartmentand noticed there were quite a few papers and documents lying around the kitchen table and a night stand. He picked up one of the papers and discovered it was a classified document, detailing the activities and duties of the group 1 team that was killed in L. A. that morning. It listed their name, rank, ages and all the vital statistics on them and their mission, including times and dates.
Hellmen was starting to come around, but never made it to full consciousness because Grimm sank McCalley's knife straight into Hellmen's heart, with all his weight. Crocker pulled a nylon cord from his pocket and looped it around McCalley's neck. Horrified, she tried to jerk away, but this only only made the cord tighten. Her eyes were open wide with fright which quickly turned into desperation. She tried futilely to draw air into her lungs; her body jerked and twisted like she was having convulsions. She bucked and kicked; her hands clawed at the cord around her neck. As her struggles got weaker, her face became horribly contorted. She then started to turn blue, then purple, her eyes bugging out grotesquely, her neck was bleeding from the scratches she'd made, while trying to claw the cord loose. Her broken wrist laid in an awkward position. With the bones broken nearly poking through the skin, and she laid very still. In death she was not very beautiful at all; instead, she made a very pathetic picture. A picture which would make more people wretch.
Crocker picked up the phone and called the Colonel's BAQ. The phone rand several times. "Colonel Wattsman speaking."
"Colonel, this is Sergeant Crocker. I believe you and a couple of Military Police should come to Corporal Hellmen's apartment in town. What I have to say can't be done over the phone.
"Sergeant, I'll be there in twenty minutes."
"Sir, I'll call the civilain authorities."
"No! Don't do that yet, Crocker. Wait for my arrival."
"Yes sir." then Crocker hung up and turned to Grimm and said, "Lets mess this place up a little, but not too much."
Fifteen minutes later Colonel Wattsman and a C.I.D. Agent arrived, entering the apartment and looking around, then saying "My god what happen here?"
As Grimm and Crocker explained what had transspired, the Colonel and C.I.D ( Criminal Investigation Detective ) Agent gathered up all classified documents.
After setting the sence, they called the civilian authorities. The police arrived and took over. They asked Crocker and Grimm some questions then released them. The Colonel and the C.I.D. Agent left a little later.
Grimm and Crocker returned to their rooms as if nothing had happened.
Each took a shower and went to bed. Their work for the night was done.
Monday, December 18th, 0800hours, Staff Sergeants Reed, Hughes, Sergeants Wood, Townsend, Crocker and Corporal Grimm reported to Colonel Wattsman in the briefing room.
"Good morning gentlemen!" said Colonel Wattsman.
"Good morning, sir! replied the men as they seated in the room.
Colonel Wattsman stood facing the men and said, "Gentlemen, I'm going to give you a brief description of your advance course. This course is to be sixteen weeks long:
First week: Security, Weapons orientation, Communications, Reconnaissance.
Second week: Weapons Firing and Qualification.
Third week: Civilian and Military Weapons, Security.
Fourth week: Reconnaissance
Fifth thur Seventh week: Field training, Moving targets, Firing from a building and moving vehicles.
Eighth thur Twelfth week: Weapons, Reconnaissance, Demolitions, Communications and Security
Thirteenth and Fourteenth week: Review of course
Fifteenth week: Real training
Sixteenth week: Monday- Tuesday; Firing weapons, Wednesday; Qualifications which consist of 200 rounds for 200 points, Thursday; Prepare for Graduation, Friday; Graduation at 1000 Hours at Post Headquarters Conference room in which you will be honored by General Hineman.
"Do you have any questions?" asked the Colonel.
"Yes sir" replied Sergeant Wood, "On final qualifications what type of targets do we have to shoot and hit?"
"Good question Sergeant and I'll tell you, at this time. You have 100 rounds for the rifle and 100 rounds for the pistol.
First: Target in a building; 25 rounds for the pistol and 22 rounds for rifle.
Second: Moving target from a stationary position; 25 rounds for the pistol, 22 rounds for the rifle.
Third: Moving targets from a moving vehicle; 25 rounds for the pistol and 22 rounds for the rifle.
Fourth: Blowing demoiltions; 12 rounds for rifles only
Fifth: Picking a person out of a crowded area; 25 rounds for the pistol, 22 rounds for the rifle.
"Do you have any more questions, gentlemen?" asked the Colonel. "Well, if there are no further questions, classes start at 0800 Hours tomorrow morning."
Tuesday came and went just like every other day for the next four weeks.
Classes were boring.
All six men wanted the field training more than anything at present time.
Now the pressure was getting heavy.
"One more day of these boring classes and I'll die," came Crocker's moody voice. "You can hang in there for one more day, can't you?" came a rough voice from Grimm. "Knock it off you two and get back in side," Reed's voice rang out. Both men moved back inside for the last hour of classroom instruction.
0430 came early that fifth week. It had been raining most of the night and it was still raining. The moving target range was a sea of mud. Targets moved to slow for practice. Mud seemed to stop the whole exercise. The targets in the buildings were easier to hit. There was paved streets, so remote controlled cars and trucks could be employed.
Butcher kept yelling, "My Weatherbee is too heavy and the sights is all wrong!"
Two weeks of this and every day he yelled about it. He knew something was wrong. "It's not mine, damn it Major! This weapon can't be mine! I don't care what the serial numbers say, IT'S NOT MINE!"
In the seventh week things began to look up again. Clear skies were showing. What once had been a sea of mud, was now dust. After two days of sunshine and heat, the moving target range was finally ready. Each man scored high, just like firing from a moving vehicle and sitting in a building.
"Hey Midnight! Are they putting some new dummy targets in the buildings tonight for IR firing?" came Boom's question.
"Well Boom, it seems they are. It has a heat seeking unit built into it.
It's suppose to simulate a sniper in a building or a ground spot. These targets will give you a halfway chance to meet a real target. It is tied into a computer so if it fires before you, you're dead." came an explanation from Midnight.
"That's just fine with me, because I'm getting pretty damn tired of hitting a stupid doll that doesn't fire back at me," came the Butcher's voice. "Me too," came the voice of Hound.
"Well, that makes six altogether, gentlemen," said Seeker as they watched the devices being put in.
2100 hours.... it was as dark as a closet without lights. Seeker and Midnight were the first through the course. They disappeared in to the inky blackness. The rest of the team waited in the shack. Thirty minutes later, the light board lit up. Censors showed they were inside the town. Gun fire split the night like thunder. It was a deafening roar as those 425 Weatherbees fired, hitting target after target after target. Boom and Pappy really knew their stuff. "That little IR device worked out just fine on that scope." said Pappy.
Both men hit 75 targets each. For it was 150 targets out. Each two men went and each come back with 75 kills. When Butcher and Hound went out it was different. These two worked like real professional soldiers. Somehow they were inside the town before the censors lit up. A dummy on the ground floor of a building came alive. One of the two snuffed it out quickly. The two censors that surrounded the town never came on, but they were in working order.
More ear splitting roars came from the town. It was really hot out there this time. Not once did the dummies get a hit on these two.
It was strange, the heat censors were picking up heat at ground level then on top of the buildings. They weren't staying in one place very long. Had one of these two figured out how to trip the censors? One hour later they appeared out of nowhere. The censors on the two outside circles had not lite up.
Their eyes showed no emotion at all. It looked as if they really enjoyed it. They just sat for a few minutes, then asked for a cup of coffee. Everyone was looking at them strangely.
"Well, what are you looking at? Something got your tongue boy?" came Butcher's voice.
"You guys look like you seen a ghost or something." came Hound's voice, after sipping his coffee.
"Let's just say that we saw something that reminded us of NAM," said Midnight, followed by Pappy and Seeker.
"Let's get going and get some sleep after we clean these weapons," said Boom.
A twenty minute ride put them back at the special complex. Each cleaned weapon in silence, except Butcher and Hound. They laughed at each other in a roaring fashion.
The thirteen and fourteenth week were easier than anything before. Hound and Boom worked late hours on the micro components. One week before Real Training and only two short sets done. Neither had been tested and time was growing shorter every day. Still, they worked into the night. It was only a couple days before Real Training.
Those two weeks between classes for reviewing and building the radios, everyone was pretty tired. The instructions didn't leave a thing out. It was just like high school all over again. All seemed pretty close like breaking, but each and everyone stuck it out.
It was the weekend before Real Training started. Hound, Boom and Butcher tested the radio's, flaws came up everytime.......one day left.
Hound woke early by a high pitch from a radio reciever. It was Boom playing around with a micro component radio. Hound went next door to Boom's. He knocked on the door. Boom answered, "Yes, they are finally finished. It was a small wire that kept shorting out, causing that high screeching pitch. We should be able to test them fully tomorrow." Both set up the rest of the night making final touches.
0700 hours, Monday, the first week in April. Everyone is sitting in the mess hall having breakfast, when Staff Sergeant Reed says, "Well, men today starts Real Train and we'll see throughout this week if we have our shit together. Reed looked at Sergeant Wood saying, "Pappy, as soon as Seeker and I get the information, lay it out to the men. I want to recon the area, pick out the position, then get your ass back to the team. Then tell us where we go and what to expect." "Okay," replied Pappy.
At 0730 hours the team left the mess hall and went to the training site, which was six miles away. They arrived at the site at 0750 hours. At 0800 hours, the Major gave the team a belief description of what was expected of them and at anytime he could and would stop the exercise if they fucked up and chew their asses out on the spot.
At 0815 hours, Midnight and Seeker went to meet their contact and get the mission for the day.
O850 hours, Midnight and Seeker returned and started giving the rest of the team the layout of the mission. "Pappy, like I told you in the mess hall, and Butcher, you follow Pappy and keep his ass covered and get an overall view of the area." Both men nodded and left. Seeker looked at Hound and Boom asking if they had all of the equipment that they needed. Hound signaled that they did.
0930 hours, Midnight asked Hound if he had seen Pappy and Hound said, "No sign of them yet."
"Where in the hell is he ?" shouted Midnight looking anxiously at Seeker.
"Damn if I know," replied Seeker, "He should have been back ten minutes ago."
Hound yelled down that he had just seen Pappy come out the back door of a building and was running like hell back to the site.
"Where in the sam hell have you been for the past ten minutes?" Midnight asked Pappy.
"The fucking walkie-talkie wouldn't work so I had to check out three buildings in which we can cover the whole area. But you can forget those walkie talkies and you can stick them up your ass for all the good they will do." Pappy responded.
Excerpted from The Elite by Terry L. Wood. Copyright © 2014 Terry L. Wood. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
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