1st Lieutenant Cooper
I took shotgun while the Staff Sergeant loaded in the back seat. The Humvee's only occupants were a Corporal and a Sergeant. As the vehicle started back towards the convoy the Sergeant, who was driving, struck up a conversation with Carrington.
"I can't believe that you two are the infamous sniping team I've heard so much chatter about. Most of the grunts followed what was going down over the Comm's channel." He glanced over at me for a moment. "Is is true you took down a Hind?" I kept silent as Carrington jumped in.
"Hell yeah she did. You should a' seen when we were engaging the mortar teams and the rest of the enemy forces. They could build a wall with those bodies, ain't that right LT. ?" I grunted in agreement staring out the window. This was the second time I was invading this godforsaken hell hole. The first time had been my first deployment as a young Staff Sergeant. I chuckled lightly, remembering how eager I was to kill someone and how I had to play spotter for someone else. I knew where Carrington was coming from when he wanted respect, but he'd have to earn it the hard way. Just as I had to during the precious invasion over ten years ago.
"What's the invasion been like for you guys?" Carrington asked over the radio chatter. The Corporal in the backseat laughed.
"It's been a stroll in the park thanks to you and a few other Spec. Ops. teams. You'd think we owned the place when our boots hit the sand." I gave a glance back to the excited Corporal.
"You shouldn't get to cocky, Corporal. Last time we thought we had it made and got stuck in this suck for a decade. Never get complacent." The Corporal nodded, falling silent. "Sergeant?" I asked, grabbing and lighting cigarette off the Humvee's dash.
"Yes, ma'am?" I put the cigarette between my lips ans drew in a breath, then breathing a bit of smoke out.
"Wheres our Base of Operations?" The Sergeant, spit a bit of Copenhagen out the window.
"This is it, ma'am. We're living out of Humvees and constantly pushing north. Right now, we're heading to the edge of our active A.O (area of operations). The Colonel is waiting to debrief you there." His voice dropped to a whisper. "There's also rumor of a special mission, covert shit and all."
"Taking out what?" Carrington asked eagerly.
"Tanks. The North Korean's mechanized divisions are a part of the main defense grid. They're sitting a perimeter around the capital." The Corporal replied.
"And how did you come by this intel?" I asked sharply, looking to the Corporal. He squirmed in his seat and looked out a window.
"Just scuttlebutt ma'am." I smiled and looked back out the window, miles of sand reflecting back. The Humvee pulled up on a circled convoy of tankers, tucks, Humvee's, and tanks. As our vehicle rolled to a stop, two men approached. The second I stepped out the door, I noticed one was a Colonel. Instantly, I snapped to attention, Carrington was quick to follow.
"At ease you two, you've earned it. I'm Colonel Lewis, welcome back to Iraq."
"Thank you, sir." I replied following Lewis toward a tan colored tent. The moment we stepped inside, a myriad of maps greeted us. Lewis lead us around to a large topographic map.
"This," he said pointing to a point on the map "is where we think the North Korean's are stashing a fair amount of armor. We also have word that a high ranking officer is also at the base. Lieutenant, you and the Staff Sergeant will hike up here." Lewis pointed to a high point of elevation. "Overlook operations and send us back any intel you observe. Also if you spot this high ranking officer," Lewis handed me a picture "you are cleared to take him. Do not engage, unless you have authorization. Understood?"
"Yes, sir and Colonel?" He raised and eyebrow at me. "Sir, I was wondering if my anti-material rifle made it with the convoy, sir." Lewis nodded.
"Yes Lientenant. Your Barret along with some special optics for the Staff Sergeant are out in one of our trucks. I know you two have already been through hell today but I'm going to need you at your best. You'll have 5 hours to sleep before the Op. Dismissed." Again Carringtion and I saluted then headed for one of the makeshift barracks. We were tired as hell and if we wanted to complete this next mission, we'd definitely need some shut eye.