Chapter 446

I looked at the plane; it was shiny, sleek and big. It was bigger than the C130-30 and twice as big as the Bombardier 200s we owned. I could stand in the air inlet to the engine. I was impressed.

When I looked away from the engine there was a group coming towards me; six of our pilots and six of the flight attendants – including Paula, Andrea and Lea – were walking towards me. I guessed that everyone that was off wanted a ride on Lorrie’s new toy while there was still a new smell.

“Howdy Boss! That is one fine flying chariot you bought for us to fly you home in; the saddle is really comfy,” Cowboy said.

“I better not find any spur marks in the leather,” I replied before I broke out laughing, as did everyone else.

I was surprised that none of the girls were here with them.

“Andy, when you get your gear stowed there is supposed to be some hardware under a canvas in the hangar for us to take back to the armory. Check it to make sure it is safe and not booby trapped before you load it into the cargo bay. Please,” I said.

“You are not getting paranoid are you?” he replied.

“We are playing in a much different arena now with a totally different level of players. There is a lot more at stake and they are willing to sacrifice everything and everyone,” I replied.

The fuel trucks arrived and the other pilots went to oversee the refueling operation.

“Cowboy, show me around and point out the good stuff I paid for,” I said.

“It’s a Boeing 737-700ER with seating for up to 128 passengers; seating is easily changed to corporate setting with meeting tables and conference seating. This is one of the preferred planes by the super rich to modify as private jets; long range, good fuel economy, quiet engines and can use airports with as little as 6000 foot runways,” Cowboy said.

“Some of the cargo bay was sacrificed to give it an additional 2000 gallons of fuel for the extended range.”

“Lorrie said you bought it for large business groups and to be able to move the rapid response team and their equipment as a unit. It will be a great plane for that,” he said.

By the time he finished showing me the exterior and interior of the plane, the fuel trucks were finished and leaving.

Back outside the plane I met Andy, “All checked out and loaded; 15 new Stingers and 5 new TOW missiles – all are OK. Boss, is there something going on that you need anti-tank missiles for?”

“I did not know what was there for us and I did not request any TOW missiles. Maybe someone knows something that we don’t. When we land, would you make sure they are put into the armory? I will open the vault door.”

I turned around to look at another group headed my way; Ambassador’s Fauntroy, Morrison and Schmitt and both boys.

“We hoped we would get here in time to see you off,” Ambassador Schmitt said then he added.

“I wanted to tell you that the German government is increasing its troop commitment to the UN peace keepers on the South Sudan border. Hopefully they will keep the war from spreading over the border.”

“That’s good to hear, let me give you my number; please keep me informed,” I replied.

“It looks like Aric is smitten,” I said. Aric was standing with Rachael and they were having – as best as I could say – a happy conversation. They had some papers and were talking excitedly about them with a little touch and feel every now and then.

“Aric is gifted; he has an IQ of 140. It has always been hard for him to make the social adjustment. All he talked about last night after the gala and this morning was his new friend. I think he is going to be sulking for a few days,” he replied.

“I have a secure system at my office that I use to video conference with my college and embassy teams. We allow family members of those assigned in foreign countries to conference with their significant others, there are private rooms.”

“If you will allow them to video conference, I will have my EIT team contact you to set it up. Rachael only lives 10 miles from my office. We can just set up the best times and days and let them chat,” I replied.

“Let’s see if they would like to do that,” Schmitt replied.

They had already exchanged emails and phone numbers but I was pretty sure Rachael’s parents would put their foot down on the cost of international calls.

They both jumped at the idea and wanted to give it a go so I took more information from Schmitt that I was going to give Robert. It would be in his hands now to set up the technical part.

It was time to leave; the final good byes were said. The smitten two actually hugged.

It was interesting to hear Andrea do a new and different sing-song seat belt and safety message. A few minutes later we were third in the departure line and soon airborne.

The flight attendants made busy as soon as the seat belt light went off. Andrea was giving lessons to the four who had never worked on a plane of this size.

Coffee, soda and snacks, peanuts, almonds, pudding, chocolate chip cookies were on the cart when it came down the isle.

Andrea handed me a new color brochure that Lorrie had put together, “Lorrie wanted me to give you this to look over for changes or suggestions.”

The brochure covered the complete aviation division services and all the planes available for charters, business and recreational flights in color photographs. This was the brochure she was going to send to every major business on the east coast.

I wonder if there was a little competition going on between the girls again.

Everyone was spaced around the plane with all the empty seats. Some were kicked back and sleeping, others working on the company issued laptops.

Hanna and Sylvester were putting together several reports to send to their station. So far everything they had sent the past week was getting plenty of air time.

Another good thing was Lorrie had the airborne internet activated; a necessity for business travelers.

Vicky and I were sitting together; that allowed us to talk and work. Lea handed me a package from Lorrie. When I opened the box it was the dozen thumb drives that I asked for. I needed to make copies of the thumb from the gala to give everyone.

I copied while Vicky checked them in her computer to make sure they were OK before I handed them out.

“I hope you are not upset that I set you up with a partner for the gala last night,” I said to Vicky.

“I was a startled a little at first but I realized that it was necessary; otherwise, I would have been sitting there like a bump on a log. Christoffer was nice and a perfect gentleman. I had a lot of fun; I have a feeling he fills that role a lot. If I get back, he wants me to see him,” Vicky replied.

“I glad you had fun; we are going to be back a lot, at least for a while. We are going to have to split up and take two jets in order to comply with the terms of the contract. You need to be looking at Andy’s men for someone to accompany you. There will be official functions you will have to attend and he can be your companion and to act as a body guard,” I replied.

“Make sure he can dance – if not, we will have to train him – looks good in a suit and speak several languages, Arabic should be one of them. I asked Andy to choose one for me; that’s how I ended up with Gordon,” I said then continued.

“As soon as the Minneapolis investigation is done, we are going to have to get started. Don’t forget, we have Victor and Joni’s wedding this coming weekend,” I said.

We talked for another hour then I went to talk with Andy about the investigation; and after that Hanna, Phil and Robin and Bob and then a nap.

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Chapter 445

We were at the German embassy in plenty of time for the social hour before the fancy dinner was served.

Gordon was my escort; Phil and Robin were going as one couple, along with Hanna and Sylvester. I had a surprise for Vicky, Rachael and Bob.

Ambassador Schmitt had two sons – 15 rear old Aric and 23 year old Christoffer. I had arranged Aric to be Rachael’s companion and Christoffer to be Vicky’s.

I diplomatically explained to the girls that this was a social evening with dancing and mingling and that I had arranged partners to complete the gala experience for them.

Bob was trying not to laugh just as Ambassador Schmitt walked up with his sons. The introductions went smoother than I expected; I expected them to be awkward.

The boys were perfect gentlemen and knew the right words to put Rachael and Vicky at ease. It didn’t hurt that Aric ended his introduction to Rachael with, “You are beautiful.”

I had to admit she was, the dress the girls had picked out for her was perfect; not too much skin and short, but not too short for an official occasion.

It was the first time that I had seen Vicky decked to the nines in the new dress and shoes; she was beautiful as well.

When Vicky responded to Christoffer in German, he broke into a smile that said they were going to have a good time.

One more guest needed to arrive and when she walked across the floor, there was no doubt she was German. Tall and a natural blond, blue eyes and carried her self with pride that showed and was gorgeous. She was late 40s I guessed.

Ambassador Schmitt introduced Frederica Alder to Bob. “Bob, Frederica is your companion tonight; you two have a lot in common. Frederica is the head mistress at the Diplomatic University that almost all diplomats’ children in Uganda attend.”

I explained how the pre-dinner social hour was done. A small plate for finger food, walk around and socialize. The Schmitt boys had done this before and were showing the girls off and their knowledge of these official affairs.

Gordon and I made the rounds renewing old friendships from my previous stay. I introduced the members of my group as they came close.

The social hour ended when the first course of the food arrived. To my relief, no-one from my group had made any blunders that I knew of – so far – and everyone was smiling, so I was happy.

The embassy photographer was making the rounds snapping pictures, and later on would take a video of the dancing.

The main course was made of fantastic traditional German foods. I’d not had a traditional German meal since my time in the military hospital before being discharged. I ate modestly, not wanting to over do it because I wanted to dance to a few of the fast paced melodies. Desert was going to be held until a break in dancing.

There was a break after the main course then the band started warming up. That was the cue to move the grand hall for music and dancing.

The dancing started slow to give everyone time to warm up and get over the big meal. Then they went to the complicated and fast ones. I watched over my brood as I danced.

Aric and Christoffer gave Rachael and Vicky dancing lessons off to the side and out of the way of other dancers until they were comfortable with that particular dance.

Over the course of the evening the band would come back to the same style of songs so there were several opportunities to put the lessons to use.

To be honest, I enjoyed the ballroom dancing with Gordon, especially the fast paced dances that made me out of breath. When the band played the fast paced stuff there were only us younger folks on the floor, although several of the ambassadors and wives did try at least for one dance.

I wondered if there would be any interest in a club on the island. A dinner and dance club that catered to the ballroom crowd that met once a month type of thing?

Before I knew it three hours had passed by with dancing, breaks, and refreshments. It was time to say goodbye to my friends again. I had no idea when I would be back here again.

It was 2230 when the embassy vehicles dropped us off at the Hilltop Hilton. I asked everyone to stop in the restaurant. I wanted to get a general feel on how all the guests felt about the gala and their opinions.

I shouldn’t have worried; everyone had a good time! I wondered about Bob since he was married and I had fixed him up with a companion.

I learned that there was a conference that Ambassador Schmitt was to attend in Washington. His family was now going to make the journey with him, also bringing Frederica.

Frederica wanted to see KCC, John Hopkins University, Washington DC and to meet Bob’s wife. I hoped that I would not be around when they were having that conversation.

I was up at 0500 and packed, and then I went to the embassy to meet with the security night shift crew. I had only met with them once in the five days I had been here; when I was there during the day most of them were in their bunks asleep. This would be my last chance to see them as a group.

The first thing I was directed to at the embassy was running on the continuous ZNN news link from home. At Arizona State University, their Friday night’s basket ball game was hit by two suicide bombers.

I had a bad feeling that turned my stomach and it was not from the food. That something had been missed the similarities to Minneapolis were just too obvious. Was it a copy cat or was there somebody higher up in the terrorist chain directing operations and this was the new line of attacks?

I spent an hour with my men and ladies listening to concerns and minor problems that I would work out with my next meeting with Amy and Victor. If it was a problem here, then it was at all sites in Africa.

At 0630 my phone rang, “Hello girl friend; they tell me you are in distress and in need a knight in shining armor?” It was Max Liberty, one of my preferred pilots when I flew in the G5. When he was not flying 767’s for Delta, he flew for Lorrie.

Max was high on the seniority list with Delta. That meant that he had first pick of the flights each month. Delta also had a limit of flight hours a pilot could fly in a month.

Max picked long flights and connecting flights that added up the flight hours quick. He made his limit in the first two weeks of the month and sometimes in ten days.

“Did you come to rescue me, Cowboy?” I replied.

We called him Cowboy because he had one of the last small farms on Summers Road. He had stables and boarded horses along with several of his own. His nonworking attire was cowboy boots and hat.

When he was flying, his daughters and wife tended to the horses and worked them to keep them in shape. They also sold horse manure for gardens and flower beds.

“The six guns and the Winchester are loaded and the saddle bags full of provisions, the Calvary will be there in 90 minutes. My instructions were stop in front of hangar 17. Is that still the plan?”

“10-4, we have freight to load if you have room; order fuel if you need it.”

“Plenty of room in the wagon and the horses are strong,” he replied.

That was one thing I liked about Max; he could liven up any conversation and make it interesting.

“I will get the wagons loaded and will be headed that way in a bit,” I replied and then ended the call.

A call to Vicky at the motel to get everyone up, fed, packed and ready to go. Then I went to find Ambassador Bernardi; he wanted to see us off. All the cars, SUV and the limo were required to carry us to Entebbe.

When the SUV I was in stopped by the plane and I stepped out, I just stared and stared.

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Chapter 444

After we landed and exited the choppers, they flew on to Entebbe International. The spare was going back into the hangar fully fueled; it would receive a thorough post trip inspection – by the book – tomorrow, since the flight today was over 500 miles and the first long flight since leaving the shop.

The other one was coming back fully fueled in case it was needed for emergency embassy business. It needed a full tank.

After a long hot shower at the Hilltop Hilton and a change of clothes to much better clothes and get rid of the camp stench that followed you, we went back to the embassy.

There was a big dinner at the embassy tonight in our honor in traditional embassy style, with all the bells and whistles. This was the last evening for such activities; tomorrow night was the gala that we were going to. We were leaving early Saturday morning.

Ambassador Bernardi’s staff put on a five star five course meal; Ambassadors Dansky, Fauntroy and Morrison along with their wives and Fauntroy‘s daughters Caroline, Casey and Agatha were the only invited guest.

There was before dinner wine; even Rachel and Fauntroy’s daughters were given a small glass of wine. I was going to say something but didn’t because with Fauntroy’s daughters each having a small glass, I figured it was a customary thing and acceptable.

Ambassador Bernardi added with the toast, “I’d like to thank Ambassador Dansky and others for the fine selection of spirits used for tonight’s celebration.” I smiled and winked at ambassador Dansky.

Salad, steak, lobster and crab with all the fixings and luscious sweet desert made it a fantastic meal, with great conversation among old and new friends made it a wonderful evening.

Rachel, Robin, Caroline, Casey, and Agatha quickly became friends and were at the same table. There was chatter and laughter all night from them.

Vicky – on the other hand – was getting OJT on the other side of diplomacy by interacting with the Ambassadors and their wives in an official capacity.

Off to the side of the social conversations Ambassador Dansky thanked me again for the information they were getting from Randolph’s capture. Then he added, “My associate said there were some things you needed to continue your work. They will be placed in 17 tomorrow night for you to take on the return flight home.”

“Again I thank you for all the assistance you have given me; I don’t know how I shall ever be able to repay you,” I replied.

“The information we are getting connects many gaps in things very important to us,” he replied.

“When you get to Tel Aviv to see your security team at the US embassy, plan an extra day or two there. I have friends in high places who want to give you a private tour of historic Israel and Ben-David has friends there who would like to demonstrate some equipment to you and have other discussions,” he said.

“I will look forward to making the trip and I will plan on several extra days,” I replied.

We were joined by the other ambassadors and the talk turned to the war in South Sudan. I found out I was not the only one worried; all of them thought that the Ugandan government was too slow in responding to the approaching border threat.

Each day was going to be a challenge in the area going forward. I added more things on my list to do tomorrow and that was to have a conversation with Ambassador Furnell; he was closest to the fighting.

The socializing lasted another couple hours. Bob was keeping the adults entertained with the stories of his time in the Marines after the Vietnam War. Bob had a world of experiences as an officer at some of the best billets in the world. London, Italy, France, Spain Hong Kong, Manila, Seoul, South Korea, Osaka and Tokyo were only a few.

Some of those places I served at and the memories were not fond.

Things were winding down at 2200 so I asked Ambassador if I could use VCATS to call home. I could have made the connections at the motel but the embassy connection was a lot more secure.

I logged into my email and sent one announcing I was on the system. As I waited for them to key in, I looked at the email. Lorrie had sent one labeled important; it contained several jpgs; they were of the new plane with the JBG aviation decal on the tail.

“Is this what you wanted to see?” the email read.

The screen went live with the group around the meeting table. Lorrie was pumped; I could see she was going to be the first to talk.

“Did you get the picture I sent?” Lorrie asked.

“Looks great,” I replied.

“Can you send it to pick us up? We have too many things to fit in a G5 and it would give it a good shake down flight,” I said.

“It will be there Saturday morning; I have two flights early next week for it and another possible one on Friday,” Lorrie replied.

Jason and Jenny discussed the attorneys who were going with us to Minneapolis on Monday to the investigation; I was glad that one of them was Curtis Warren. He had a Perry Mason demeanor in the courtroom and shrewd sense of humor. At 6ft 8 and 250 lbs, he easily intimidated most people in the court.

The fact that Grandpa was a former chief justice and that Curtis had turned down a nomination to the court to stay in private practice said a lot about where his values were. He often said he loved to win cases and had no interest deciding arguments between lawyers who were not prepared.

I did not know it at the time, but Curtis had joined Jason deer hunting in the scrub in Robin’s absence and they were getting deer every night.

I listened and talked for another half hour before I signed off. Adam had been keeping Lorrie updated on the Air Force flight. Plans were made for Victor and Joni’s wedding. Joni had asked Jason to walk her down the isle.

I wondered what was going to happen with Alica; so far there had been no mention of what she was planning to do. She and Joni had been close. I hoped that there had been some discussion. I finally called Jenny asking that question.

After that I called it a night and the night crew carried us to the Hilltop Hilton.

0600 came early with my phone ringing. It was Ambassador Fauntroy informing that cots and tents had shown up during the night at Entebbe. Andy and I discussed the issue over breakfast and a few minutes later, the truck and trailer were headed to Entebbe.

Five of my men and five from the embassy were going to make the trip from Entebbe to Nimule with one SUV. Gordon was staying because he was my escort for the gala tonight.

A few minutes after that Ambassador Dansky called, “The pilots capable of flying the chopper arrived last night. If you want to send your pilots to do a check-out flight I will send them to 17.”

“Have them there in an hour,” I replied.

I sent the senior mechanic and the senior pilot from the embassy to check them out and spend time in the air with them.

One of the first things I wanted to do today was VCATS with Ambassador Furnell. I wanted to know the status of the embassy and my forty men there.

I spent all morning talking to every ambassador and my team leaders in the area. After lunch it was more.

At 1500 the hair dresser arrived at the hotel. Vicky and Robin were first and second. Rachael and I were next. The gala started with social hour at 1800 at the German embassy; Ambassador Schmitt was hosting. The German embassy was huge.

We were dressed and ready to party! We followed the truck and trailer into the rear entrance to the embassy. We were going to the German embassy as a group with Ambassador Bernardi and his wife.

They had had a productive trip and day; they had been able to carry all the tents and cots that the aid agency had sent. There weren’t enough for everyone, but it was a start.

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Chapter 443

I was in the Hilltop Hilton restaurant at 0400 finishing my first cup of coffee with Robin when all my men that were going with the truck and trailer came down for breakfast.

I was surprised that Robin was up but she had been full of surprises ever since the class. As soon as she heard the covers move and the bed squeak she was up. I guess it was the early morning hunter instinct.

Another surprise was that she had very liberated opinions about some things and rock-hard conservative opinions on others.

Another was that behind closed doors she was a nudist – clothes went flying immediately – and I had no problem with that. The first night it was midnight when we got to the room, but I was too tired to notice. I wanted to get into bed and asleep quickly.

As soon as we were in the room the next evening, off they came. To be liberated that far; still, I was amazed that she was sporting a full bush. When she saw that I was smooth, she said “I thought only young girls did that.”

“Always kept it smooth; I like it that way,” I replied. “Try it sometime, you will like after you get used to it.”

I did tell her the secret we used at home with over-sized tee shirts and sweat shirts by the doors in case anyone knocked.

The men ordered breakfast sandwiches to go; they were that anxious to get started on the trip. Robin and I rode over to the embassy with them to see them off.

I input the IDs of everyone going into the JBG card system. Then I demonstrated how to track the convoy to the people working the duty desk so they could respond if there was an emergency and described the pecking order of people who were to be notified. I also left one of the satellite phones and a call list for everyone that had one.

I had brought JBG ID cards for the guests with us and one each for Ambassadors Fauntroy, Morrison and Bernardi, but did not tell them why.

Back at the hotel I was having my second cup of coffee when the rest of came down. There was enough time for them to get a quick breakfast and then we met the ambassadors.

Andy insisted that the ambassadors be split up; two ambassadors went on each chopper. The flight was uneventful. Hanna and Sylvester were on my chopper. We passed over the truck and trailer about 50 miles from the camp.

As we got closer to the camp I could see the camp had grown since I was there last. I could see why – off to the north – as we made the circle around the camp at 10000 feet to make sure it was safe to land.

There was smoke rising on the horizon. It was a perfectly clear day so from that altitude I could easily see over a hundred miles and at the very edge of that distance tiny flashes of light that I knew to be artillery shells hitting targets. The civil war was on again in South Sudan.

I wondered how long the camp would be safe; it was only a few miles to the south Sudan border. Uganda regular Army soldiers and few UN peace keepers who were worthless were guarding the border. I wondered how fast the camp could be moved or even if at all, if the war came over the border.

“Kate: call the other chopper; tell them the war is back on in South Sudan. They need to stay high and do a sweep on the other side of the road for insurgents. Keep us high and fly a sweep a couple miles north of the camp,” I said into the headset mike.

Kate and the co-pilot were the only ones who could communicate directly with the other chopper. I could only call to someone in the other chopper with a satellite phone.

“Have the pilot verify that Fauntroy has called the doc to make sure it is safe. Then fly over the camp and look for anyone or anything unusual,” I added.

After an all clear from the Doc and nothing on the sweeps, we landed to the east of the camp. There was a little wind from the west that blew any dust the rotors kicked up away from the camp.

Hanna, Sylvester and Bob stepped out as soon as the rotors stopped turning, taking pictures and video of the crowd headed our way following the puttering old jeep.

Doc Palermo was happy to see us once again. After the jeep was loaded with all the meds it could carry, one of his helpers drove the jeep.

While he and I along with the other three ambassadors walked, we talked about the flare up in the fighting.

“The camp has grown by a thousand residents in the last two weeks. The Uganda government has promised more peace keepers on the border. A few hundred went through here the other day without stopping,” he said.

“We could use more cots and tents and other aid agencies have promised to get them to the Entebbe airport tomorrow morning,” he said.

“My men have a free day tomorrow. If it arrives early, they can bring a truck and trailer load,” I said.

Several groups of reporters from Europe were filming everything that was going on. Bob, Hanna and Sylvester soon found they were surrounded by those reporters wanting information.

Robin, Phil and Rachael did not escape being interviewed. I stood by and watched that they would not be pressured into areas they did not understand.

The jeep was steadily making trips back to the choppers, getting all the drugs that had been put in choppers into the containers; it took ten trips. Bob had made sure that he had plenty of pictures and video for Roger Gifford on the meds and praises from the staff.

The drugs had all been put away when the truck and trailer loaded with food and the medical equipment came to a stop in front of the tents.

The medical equipment donated by St. Agnes was the first thing to be unloaded off the trailer. The docs had known some of it was coming and another 4077 style Mash tent had been put up to house it. Some of the stuff was so heavy it took 6 men to carry it to the tent.

Hanna took video at my request of the equipment being unpackaged and set up. I would send it to St. Agnes for use by their PR department.

The ambassador title had gone a long way as I made calls asking for donations and anything that would help the camp. Dr. Palermo and I talked at length about future needs, both in equipment and food for the camp.

The food on the truck and trailer was the next thing unloaded and carried into the storage container. The truck was actually overloaded – if it had to go over any road scale in the states – but there were no such rules here.

It took all of us, excluding the medical personnel and the guards that I insisted Andy place about the camp. It took the rest of us and the staff three hours to put all the food into the container. With the leftover canned food that they had not used since the last food deliveries and other donations and the food we brought, the shipping container was full; stacked all the way to the ceiling this time.

The day was stretching on far too long; we had been here 5 hours. The truck and its escort crew had been on the road 5 hours to get here. They needed 5 hours to get back. It was past time for them to leave.

We held an impromptu press conference so the men could all participate; it was something all the international reporters wanted. Then we let Hanna do one for her station that included segments for the KCC and Rachael did one for the Advanced Education School.

I sent the truck and SUV on its way back to Kampala; an hour later we left with both choppers ourselves. The trip been good in many ways; Robin, Phil and Rachel had seen just how impoverished and destitute some parts of the world were first hand.

I saw the pain and disbelief in their faces as some stories of the children were translated for them; the struggle to survive and the loss of their family members in their escape from the civil war in Southern Sudan.

Vicky was equally moved by her experience today. At one point she tearily asked, “How does the staff look at and listen to all the grief and sorrow and not go crazy?”

“It takes a special kind of person to volunteer their time to come here and serve as doctors and nurses. It takes a very special person to keep coming back again and again,” I replied then added, “These are the kind of sights that will give you nightmares for long time if you are not strong.”

They also learned that starvation does not discriminate by race or sex, only by strength, with the strong taking what they want and the rest left to die.

As the choppers took off they made a circle over the camp. There was more smoke to the north and more flashes. I wondered if this was the last time I would be to this camp.

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Chapter 442

On the flight to the embassy, “This is most likely the last time I am going to be able to personally participate in deliveries to Nimule; I guess it will be your option how involved you actually are at going to the camp.”

“I know from the feedback I have gotten that Washington likes the PR. My men have said they would continue unless I directed otherwise. JBG intends to stay active in seeking donations and getting the items to Nimule,” I said to Bernardi.

“As long as there are things to go there, I will be involved,” he replied.

With my portable office in hand Vicky and I went to the communications room to start on the business of today. When Andy and the SUVs arrived, they were going to take the guests on a tour of Kampala.

First was a SVOL to Jenny, Ching Lee and Jason to get things in the works for Monday; they needed to decide who and which attorneys were going to Minneapolis. That call lasted almost an hour.

Then I called Cindy for an update on the rest of the embassies. The South American embassies had finalized the paperwork to send to Victor with their request for JBG security. ‘Good Luck with that,’ I thought.

Then I called Marcy’s office, her administrator said she and Lorrie had left early this morning for the west coast. I had forgotten that 2 PM in Kampala was 7 AM on the island and if they left early, that meant 4 or 5 AM.

Lorrie had been next on my list but I would wait on that. Then I thought better of waiting; after all the C5 was part of her business group.

I made the call to her cell and relayed the conversation I had with Adam; everything except the part about the kind of weapons they suspected they were transporting. I was positively sure that was super top secret.

Ambassador Bernardi had gone with the group to be tour guide. I had given Robin, Rachael, Vicky, Hanna, Sylvester and Phil each five hundred in twenties so they could get some souvenirs for family and friends if they wanted.

When the trip was laid out, there were no openings for a sightseeing tour of Kampala, but with the change to split up the food we had brought into three shipments two weeks apart, we had gained a full day and a half that was open

I gave them a few quick words of wisdom for carrying cash in rough foreign countries and bad places at home. Never carry all your cash in one pocket. Split it up between two or three; that way if someone tried to rob you, whatever pocket you pulled cash from they would assume that was all and run, or you simply handed them the cash out of one pocket. You would lose some but not everything. A pickpocket would be the same way, as soon as he found cash he was leaving; he was not staying around to check other pockets.

That gave me time to visit with the group here at Kampala; they had been brought in piecemeal. There were fifteen after the attack then the rest on the day I left. A little face time was due. I spent time with all the men and ladies who were not in their bunks.

I expected it to be dark when the group returned. The delay would give me time to start on preparation for Monday’s inquisition. Robert had loaded the same files that the Minnesota State Police Office received onto a large portable hard drive.

I had video that the State Police did not have and that was the thermal imagining videos. I flipped back and forth between those and the surveillance cams.

In the communication room I connected the equipment together to use the big 6 x 8 foot flat screen so I could get a good look at everything. With a notepad at hand I started watching, starting with the west cameras.

I knew the three two ladies and a man working the security console would be cranking their necks to look, but it really didn’t matter. They worked for me, were seven thousand miles from home and had also signed secrecy oaths.

12:45 Diya drove into the west entrance and the two women exited the SUV and loitered at the entrance.

12:55 they started walking towards the entrance.

13:10 the women had walked to within fifty yards of the building when they were challenged and blew themselves up. Fifteen minutes to blowing yourself up. What in the hell did they think about in those fifteen minutes? How do you convince yourself to do something like that?

13:12 the thermals showed they were wearing vests and two of my men challenged them.

13:13 the first one stumbled and exploded causing the other to detonate. I watched the video one frame at a time, trying to see why she stumbled.

I wondered if one of Andy’s men on the roof had put a bullet in her to keep them away from the field house. I looked for any sign that had happened. I couldn’t see anything but if the explosion followed milliseconds later, the naked eye would not see it.

The roof cams had audio: there was no sound of a gunshot that was distinguishable by my ear, but again – were they too close to separate?

I sent Robert an email giving the camera number and a range of time stamps. I wanted color photographs of each frame of the video of the two women. Then I wanted the audio run on an oscilloscope to see if it detected a gunshot before the explosion.

I watched it one more time in standard speed; seeing those two brainwashed women disappear in a fiery red blob turned my stomach.

I then looked at several more camera angles; that changed nothing.

12:55 Diya drove in the east gate behind the other two SUVs and let the other two out. Then he followed the first two SUVs to the back of the parking lot where they all got out and had a meeting.

13:00 the two had joined the line waiting to enter the building.

13:03 Ching Lee and I worked the line towards them.

13:12 I began with the first hit on my terrorist and then Ching Lee on hers.

13:14 the video was showing me disarming the suicide belts.

I ran the tape back and forth looking for anything I had missed on them or about them.

13:15 the two SUVs started towards the building.

13:15:30 the firing from the roof of the building started, followed by both of them exploding.

13:19 Ching Lee and I were running towards the entrance to stop Diya’s SUV from leaving.

13:20 I was pouring rounds into the SUV before it went through the fence.

The roof videos told the rest of the story with the massive explosions and a video record of all the collateral damage. Other than my curiosity about why the one on the west side stumbled, there was nothing that changed the events.

I got the pictures Ching Lee had taken of the explosive vest and looked at each one carefully; why, I did not know. It would take an expert in that field to make heads or tails out of the design and to connect it to a bomb maker or a trainer.

I would give Ben-David another day and then call him.

Then I watched the thermals from both East and West entrances; there was nothing there to change anything.

Marcy had included the SAP file for the excursion in my emails. The two weeks had cost JBG almost 1.2 million dollars. This included the five round trip flights from Morton to Minneapolis, all the extra scanners, the thermals, the entire RRT team cost plus the house Andy used a command center and auto rentals.

Even though we owned the rental site and the vehicles, no cost escaped Marcy’s calculator to put the charges where they belonged.

When Cindy’s clerks had time, I wanted a better cost figure of what the thermal scanner setups and manpower cost would be for each of the colleges. I was sure that at some point as the investigation was made public, that question would be asked from all of them.

I ended my research; there was nothing more to be learned from looking at any more video. The only thing that could be done now was to wait for the questions to begin.

The tourists were still not back so after a refill of my coffee mug I took a walk outside around the grounds. The circle and X on the old tennis court had been repainted and boxed in.

The sand on the volley ball court was much deeper; they had added several truckloads and it looked well used. A float was used to level the sand and several rakes were leaning against the embassy building.

As I walked around I noticed that there were still ball bearings lying around in places; we had picked up buckets of them as it was.

I was just stepping to the rear door when Ambassador Bernardi and the group came back; it was almost dark.

We had a feast at the embassy for supper; the cook went all out. After supper the plans for tomorrow’s trip were laid out. An early start was planned for the truck and trailer at 4 AM and the choppers leaving at 0730.

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Chapter 441

At 6:30 we were sitting in the Hilton Hilltop restaurant eating a limited few American foods. The hilltop catered to British and American tourists. Of course I was recognized and had to have pictures taken and autographs.

The embassy attack had been broadcast worldwide, plus the Nimule camp was getting all kinds of air play in Britain. Every media station in Britain and Ireland had made treks to the camp and several others, according to Ambassador Fauntroy.

I completed calls to British Ambassador Fauntroy and Canadian Morrison telling them I was back in Kampala. I asked that if they had time to come to Entebbe in a couple hours to see what I had brought for the camp.

I called Israeli Ambassador Dansky to tell him that I had brought gifts from his friends in America and that he could pick them up in a couple hours at our Entebbe hangar.

Three taxis carried us to the US Embassy. Vicky, Robin, Rachel, Bob, Phil and I were going to meet with Ambassador Bernardi and then fly to Entebbe in the chopper so the pilots could give the one we brought a good checkout. Bob and a couple of Andy’s men were driving one of the Suburbans assigned to Ambassador Bernardi to Entebbe and we were going to keep it for a few days.

A couple of my men were going to take the truck and trailer back to hangar 17 to load up all the crates we had brought that contained the wish list of supplies for my men and the embassy.

The group of men who went from the motel to the hangar included the pilots, load masters and helicopter technicians. Major Culpepper – along with Hanna and her camera man Sylvester Combs – went with them.

For them the first order of business was to unload the chopper so the mechanics could go to work putting it together and test it out.

At the embassy, after a quick meeting with Ambassador Bernardi and introductions, he informed me that he too wanted to fly to Entebbe to check things out.

The truck and trailer left as soon as we got to the embassy; the chopper, Suburban and one of the cars Andy had bought left 45 minutes later.

When we landed, Hanna was already filming; the truck was in the process of being loaded with the stuff for the embassy. It soon finished loading and the crates were strapped down. It left for the embassy; I guessed that we would see it back in a couple hours or a little longer.

The chopper mechanics had the rotors installed and were rechecking all the things from the shop check list. The two pilots walked over to help them finish the checklist so they could go play in the air.

I was giving Bernardi a tour of the plane and then the hangar when Ambassador Dansky arrived with the two cars that I suggested he bring. Both were full when I put the last box in.

The forklift began the task of sorting out the medicines for tomorrow’s trek to Nimule. The meds were going to be divided between both choppers and loaded today.

I was not going to leave part of it in the hangar like the food we had brought. I wanted the docs to have the meds and be responsible for it. I would feel bad if someone broke into the hangar and stole it.

The pilots were ready to go through the power and flight control test. To escape any flying debris and dust, everyone ducked into the hangar until the chopper went through the procedure and then a short flight test.

Vicky had brought several of the handheld aviation radios that the ground persons used to position and monitor aircraft transitioning Morton Field so we could maintain communications with the helicopters. The pilot radioed that the chopper’s test was satisfactory and they were going to fly it to Kampala and back for an extended test.

Kampala was too far for the hand held radios so the best we could do was monitor the general aviation frequency and wait.

“Ambassador Dansky that is the chopper that Ben-David and I have been discussing. It is going to be left here in this hangar, we may at some point use this hangar as a maintenance site for both choppers as needed,” I said.

“I was led to believe that you either have qualified persons to fly it or at times I may have to supply a crew and security for you,” I said.

“Mossad and I have had several discussions. They are going to send me several more men and two are to be qualified,” he replied.

“Ben-David speaks very highly of your people he has met and you. We are looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship between our two organizations,” he replied.

“Once they arrive, contact me and we will develop a policy on how to handle any defects or problems that show up. I want to make sure that it is always ready for either of our groups to use,” I replied.

Our conversation had finished when Ambassadors Morrison and Fauntroy arrived. The forklift had been unloading the food and putting most of it in the hangar. I had decided that we would carry one third tomorrow and in three weeks my men could carry another third and then in three more weeks, the rest.

I was hoping that along the way I could plan another resupply flight before the food was gone. I explained my plan to Morrison and Fauntroy and was glad to hear that they were working on supply mission in 14 weeks from Britain. That would work out perfectly, giving me an extra six to eight weeks to put one together.

We planned tomorrow’s trip to Nimule; the meds would be split between the choppers. Both choppers would be flown back to Kampala. The normal embassy one would be parked on its pad and the other outside the embassy by the new fence. The night security crew would assign someone to guard it.

The truck and trailer would be loaded and driven to the embassy today. The truck and both Suburbans would leave at 4 AM for Nimule and both choppers at 8. The two mechanics were going to act as co-pilots. They were both capable of piloting, even though they were not working in that capacity for JBG.

Some of the security day shift would be going with the truck and Suburbans. The VIPs would be split up between the choppers.

It was planned; well, I would see how well that worked out tomorrow.

By noon everything was loaded and the C5 and hangar secured. We had lunch at the hotel; Vicky and I with some guards were going back to the embassy. We both had dozens of business related emails and conference calls to do and the secure systems at the embassy were appealing.

We were just getting ready to leave for the hotel when Major Culpepper handed me his phone, “This is General Walton; I understand the C5 is in Africa?”

“Yes, that is correct,” I replied.

“I have an emergency contract flight for it and your crew, since you are in the area,” he said.

“Let me give the phone to the pilot and you can fill him with all the information,” I replied as I handed the phone to Adam.

The C5 agreement was up in a few weeks; I wondered if this was a test of just how flexible we would be to their needs if we were given a contract with the Air Force. I was positive that he knew what we were doing here and the plan to return home. Sending the C5 away would take away our ticket home.

The fuel trucks were called to add 25 thousand gallons of very high priced fuel to top off the C5 tanks and it was nearly ready to leave when Adam motioned me off to the side.

“First stop is Saudi Arabia to pick up freight and then to Turkey. After that the flight is to the Minot Air Force base in North Dakota and then to the repository in Texas.”

“I think we are going to be transporting NATO nuclear warheads out of Turkey because of the turmoil there,” Adam said.

“Are you comfortable with that?” I asked.

“Nothing we have not done before. You need to develop plan B to get home; between loadings, layovers and flight time, we won’t be done in time to get back here to pick you up on Sunday,” Adam replied.

“It would not make sense for the C5 to come back here anyhow – as much fuel as it uses – so I am already working on it. Be careful, Turkey is not a good place any more. I will see you men next week,” I replied.

I could tell that there was some concern with some of the members of my group, but I had plan B in the works and plan C as the last resort. To complicate things, Ching Lee, Andy and I needed to be in Minneapolis on Monday to give a deposition to the investigating committee.

With the hangars locked down, the truck and other vehicles left for Kampala. Vicky and I split the group up and flew to the embassy.

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Chapter 440

Sunday afternoon Ben-David brought over the items he wanted to send to Ambassador Dansky. All the boxes were labeled and sealed as diplomatic cargo, the same as Frank’s.

The C5 crew was there going through last minute items. The cargo master loaded Frank’s and Ben’s freight and secured it. There were 20 crates of supplies and requested frozen foods – packed in dry ice – for my men at Kampala.

The fuel trucks loaded the tanks to 80%. Tomorrow morning before the plane hit the taxi way they would be filled to the brim.

The flight was leaving at 4AM; with the flight time and time changes – with good luck – we would be on the ground at Entebbe at 11PM their time. I made one phone call and told Hanna that she needed to be at Morton at 3:30.

Hanna and her camera man were going; she had expressed interest when I returned from Kampala the first time. Her station was changing its format, trying to find a niche to separate itself from the competition.

When I made the decision to bring the group, I invited her on the condition that any video needed to be approved once we were in Uganda and she could not say anything until the plane was off the ground. Hanna and Walt got the shots the next day at our Docs.

I was hoping that with Hanna along it would make good public relations piece and help donations for the next humanitarian flight.

After some intimate family time, all of us turned in early and also Vicky and I planned on sleeping on the plane after takeoff.

At 3AM Vicky and I were dressed and had plenty of help to load all the bags into the Suburban. We loaded all the fancy dresses and our jewelry and shoes. I had Rachael’s and Robin’s dress and shoes; the girls had bought them. This time since I was just visiting, I took along a couple pairs of my camo as well as the pant suits. Because of the sleeping boys, we said our goodbyes with hugs and kisses at home.

At Morton I picked out an extra armored vest for our guest along with hardware for Bob and drove to the plane. The crew was already loading their things in the plane and helped us put our things in the plane. I carried my portable office to the front where the seating was set up. The fuel truck was topping off the tanks. I stopped at the restaurant to pick up the subs I had ordered for the flight and a couple of the thermal cartons of fresh coffee.

Hanna was filming the preparation for departure – including close ups of the plane and JBG decal on the side of the fuselage – and going through a dialog for her station to use if they wanted. I let her cameraman do a sweep of the full cargo bay.

I had things done a little differently this time; there were large labels on all the food and medicines pallets with the company names that had donated them. I was pushing hard for good PR and hoped that the companies would continue support.

There was a communication link to an internet satellite that she could use to send it and I could also use it for my portable office.

Bob, Phil, Robin and Rachel were there; as soon as we boarded we could leave. The last question I asked was “Do all of you have your passports?”

Major Culpepper was there with his bags; I guess he decided to go along on this last flight.

At 4 on the nose, the pilots went full throttle on the engines; our long trek had begun. The guest, Andy and my 10 body guards, Vicky and I settled in the seating area over the cargo bay and tried to nap.

Seven hours into the flight a chime went off and the phone was blinking, “Hello.”

“We are just off the coast of Africa, the tanker is meeting up with us in less than ten minutes. I did not know if you wanted your TV lady to film out the window for a few minutes or your guest to watch; also, you need to call home,” Adam said.

All the visitors wanted a look so down the cargo bay we went and then took the ladder to the cockpit. It took some finagling to get everyone in and the camera into position; the KC135 tanker and the C5 were maneuvering into position.

The boom was already moved from its stowed position, elevated high and extended to give Adam a mark to aim for. The planes played a cat and mouse game, carefully closing until things were in place. Less than a minute later the planes were joined by the boom and fuel was flowing.

After what seemed too quick, the KC boom controller came over the radio, “That’s the 20,000 gallons you wanted; we will be waiting for the return trip. What credit card number do you want to use for this?” he asked, laughing into the mike.

“Hanna, give me your gas card,” I asked to carry the joke further. The camera was still rolling.

“How much is it going to cost? I don’t think there is a high enough limit,” she replied.

“$80,000 for the half a tank of fuel,” I replied.

“Boss, you might need to increase the limit on my gas card,” Hanna was now looking into the camera. “Hanna Page signing off close to African coast,” she said.

We went back to our seats, and I made a satellite call to the office and hooked my portable office to the internet through the communication system.

I had a list to call: Marcy, Lorrie, Eric, Kent Dalton and Victor. I started with Marcy; she had started working on the items from our meeting Friday. I listened while she related the conversations among Jenna, Robert Alderman and herself.

To add more problems into the puzzle, Jenna wanted to make another investment in the company as she had done before. The oil dome she owned in Nebraska was producing a bumper crop of natural gas as well as oil. With Marcy as her only child, she and Robert were concocting ways to get her wealth to Marcy without massive estate taxes some time in the future.

One of those ways was for the stock to be joint ownership, another was the estate exception and there were many more that were above my head.

That required an explanation of what we had done last time to Robert. This time he suggested changes that would work even better and a change in our how we generated stock.

“Marcy, it sounds like you and Lorrie have it covered; you are there – I am here. Do what you think is best,” I said.

“Call Lorrie; she is excited! The jet she was looking at is still available; she wants to talk to you,” Marcy replied before she hung up.

Just then an email with two huge files arrived from Lorrie; one was a jpg file and the other was a video file. Vicky and I were sitting side by side so we could both watch my computer.

The pictures and video were from the aircraft broker; a complete set inside and outside. It looked very nice. I called to the cockpit to see if Adam could come to the passenger area. He had pilot in command time in this type of aircraft. There was a big sign in the cockpit ‘no computers allowed.’

Adam looked at the pictures and video with us. When they finished, I asked, “Is this a good plane or a problem plane?”

“A very good plane, reliable, tough, good range and performs better than the spec sheet,” he replied.

I hit the reply tab, “I only see one thing wrong; it does not have our decals on it, YET. I assume you and Marcy have negotiated a good price for it. Take Robbie to check it out and the necessary pilots and if it looks as good as the pictures, fly it back.”

I finished the calls to Eric and Ken Dalton, the investigation was under way at MU. Thirty four people had died. Their explosive experts estimated that the two SUV’s had two thousand pounds of ANFO each; more than enough to bring down the field house.

I called Victor last.

“When are you going to be back?” Victor asked.

“Hopefully Sunday; why?” I replied.

“We have moved the wedding date up. We have decided on a small wedding with close friends in two weeks. We are going to have a small one at the church in town. Joni and Allie both wanted to make sure you could be here,” Victor replied then he added “Allie wants to tell you something; here she is.”

“Ms. BJ, I am going to have a little brother or sister! Mommy is going to have a baby. I’m so happy and so are Mommy and Daddy.”

“She has been busting at the seams to tell you. I’m sure she will tell you all the details when she sees you,” Victor said.

“Congratulations, and pass that on to Joni for me, I’m happy for the both of you. I know both of you wanted children. All of us will be at the wedding. You can count on it,” I said.

We were an hour out of Entebbe when Adam called to alert me to our position. I called the embassy at Kampala to send both Suburbans to carry us and our bags from our hangar in the general aviation area to the Kampala Hilltop Hilton Hotel where we were staying.

It was time to give the girls a safety speech and I had them all move to one area of the seats; all the ladies that went through the embassy training received the portions of the speech at various part of the training.

“We are not landing in a generally friendly country; there are areas that you will be reasonably safe. There are areas that will not be safe at all if you are by yourself. That said, do not go anywhere by yourself. Do not even go from your motel room to the ice maker by yourself.”

“I asked you to bring light long-sleeve tops and long pants and jeans. Uganda has hundreds of diverse cultures and beliefs. Women baring skin in certain areas can get you all kinds of problems. Stay with your group, don’t wander off or allow someone to shepherd you away the group.”

“Do not fall for the trap of someone knocking on the door telling you they have an emergency or you need to come with them. Do not open the door unless it is one of us; we will clearly identify ourselves,” I said.

When we taxied to our hangar, the Suburbans, the two cars Andy had bought months ago and two of the limousines were waiting. Four of Andy’s men were going to stay with the plane tonight. 18 of us made the trip to the Hilltop Hilton. It was midnight Uganda time.

I had reserved 12 double occupancy rooms on the same end of the same floor for safety and security reasons. Andy insisted that his men were to have the rooms at each end of the group. I signed for the rooms and passed out the room keys.

“Because of the jet lag and the time zone changes, sleep is going to be hard for a couple nights; go to bed and try to sleep. Breakfast is 6:30, be ready. We have a full schedule every day.”

Robin was rooming with me and Rachel with Vicky. I left it to the men to sort out who their roommates were.

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