It was a cold night in camp as the chill of the night air settled around camp. Despite popular belief, the Sahara was prone to very cold air, especially near the coast. Arctic blasts would come out of the North Sea and blow across Europe, the Med and into the desert making the experience unpleasant at best.
Joey rubbed his hands together near the fire, his mind wandering back to his beautiful wife and son back home in Baltimore. Michelle was an Army wife and knew that she might receive a knock on the door at any time from a representative of the Army bringing the news she anticipated, but did not want to hear.
Joey, born Johan Friedrichson to German immigrants in 1907, had entered the Army after he turned 18. The depression had set in and the Army was a means of providing for his aging family. After several years of distinguished service, the Army had taken steps to commission him as an officer. Just in time for the war.
As an American of German descent, he was an immediate asset to the Pentagon. In a bit of bureaucratic mismanagement, he had received orders to ship to Hawaii to support the Navy’s intelligence gathering operation there but that order was quickly replaced with his current assignment.
Joey leaned back against a pile of wood near the fire and listened to his German comrades quietly laugh and shared war stories of sexual victories they had exploited with women in numerous places.
But his thoughts were of back home with his wife. He missed her so much and just wanted to hold her and tell her he wouldn’t be leaving to go off to war again. Soon enough, he thought to himself. I just need to get through this mission and figure out what the Desert Fox had planned.
Joey had been on this god-forsaken assignment for 6 months now. The United States had people inside the German Army. Close people. Advisors to Hitler, even. Somehow, he had pulled this assignment to pose as a German soldier in Rommel’s 5th Light Division. His German heritage and fluency in the language were perfect for such an inside job. His orders constituted a very broad, yet precise sentence:
Gather information around military plans in place by the German forces in North Africa.
It would be easier if the Germans were talking, but no one was. Rommel did not share his plans with his troops. He would still be here awhile.