Prepared and ready to goMature

The hours hastily rushed by and the time arrived for Jamal picked up the gear he would use on the mission. First Sergeant Roger Pickford transferred a brand new M-16 assault rife across the booth. Sergeant Pickford carefully placed the assault weapon and a case of ammunition on the counter. His large blue eyes quickly glanced across Jamal's face. He inquired, ‘You are new around here. Is this your first mission, son?'

‘Yes, sarge,' Jamal replied and signed for his weapon. ‘I got here a few months ago from Fort Benning. I am assigned to C Company barracks over by the mess hall.''

Sergeant Pickford faced Jamal again. ‘That's good, private. There are only a few rules here,' he announced pointing to the large laminated poster that decorated the wall to the left of the door. The poster read ‘Clean your weapon before you return it, check your weapon to make sure it is unloaded before you return it and keep track of all you ammo you do not use, you will need to return it.'

Jamal departed the armory’s office and headed for the helicopter pad. The time on his watch changed to 2140 as he drove the loaded Ford into the parking lot of the base airport. Jamal opened the driver side door of the blue truck, stepped out of the cab and locked the driver-side door. Slowly, he reached into the back of the bed and retrieved his gear. Later, he heard the deep loud cry from the pipes of a custom Harley as it turned into the parking lot. It was followed by a black 2000 Dodge Ram 2500 truck. The Dodge pulled into the spot right next the Harley. Jamal threw his backpack over his shoulders and began walking toward the far south hangar on the base airport. This was the sector where the base heliport is constructed. Halfway between the parking lot and the hangar, the guy on the motorcycle caught up with him and touched him on the shoulder. The young Irish American soldier replied, ‘Hey are you the new recruit Captain Jab was looking for this morning.' Jamal barely nodded his head and abruptly continued to walk.

By the time, he reached the hangar both men caught up with him. They entered the opened door of the hangar in perfect stride. A dozen eight feet long florescent light fixtures illuminated the hangar from the ceiling. A small table and five chairs were grouped in the center of the hangar. Jamal noticed that two of the chairs were already occupied as they walked closer. The captain and the sergeant major arrived a few minutes before them. ‘I am glad you gentlemen could make it this evening,' Captain Jab sarcastically expressed. After some quick introductions, the captain continued, ‘for a while, I thought that Wilson and I would have to do this mission.' The captain returned their salutes and directed them to sit at the table. He placed four folders that had top-secret stamped across them on the table and strolled to the dry erase board on the north side of the table. ‘Okay, gentlemen, this is the mission' he said.

For the next ninety minutes, Captain Jab steadily detailed the mission to them. They will be flown by helicopter out into the Gulf of Mexico to the small Caribbean Island nation of Tilfar. The mission was clear. Their team would penetrate a weapon laboratory on the island. The sergeant and the corporal were assigned the job of breaking in and hacking into the computer system. The team meeting concluded about 2300. An Army green Chinook helicopter was setting on the helipad waiting for them. The pilot was performing his final inspections as they walked up. Sergeant Shelton and Corporal Richardson sprung into the cargo area of the Chinook. Jamal never could comprehend what had disturbed him. Maybe, it was the assignment as a lookout. Maybe the comment the sergeant major had made earlier was still bothering him. Either way he said very few words during the whole mission. Jamal finished loading the gear and sat down opposite the corporal.

The End

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