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Old Guy

The Disreputable Half-Dozen

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LZ Kamel

"Praise the Lord," Gunny exclaimed as the Huey touched down. He climbed out and trotted off the landing pad. The squad hurriedly dragged themselves and their gear off the helo. One of the Larrys called to Red.

"Tell your sergeant to find Captain Spectre."

"Spec-what?"

"Spectre." The Company man spelled it.

The men huddled at the edge of the pad, shielding their faces from the rotor blast. When the noise had died down enough to be heard, Red passed Larry's instructions along.

"Spectre," repeated Gunny. "I know that name from somewhere."

"Some old pal of yours maybe?" asked Joker.

"Maybe. But I'm thinking this Spectre fellow will just cause more trouble." He shaded his eyes and examined LZ Kamel. "Like this place. Trouble, squared."

"Don't look like much to me," said Archie.

"Pick up your gear," ordered Gunny. "We'll head for that bunker."

The bunker in question had seen better days. Grass and a few scattered flowers grew on top. Sandbags dribbled long streamers of sand down the sides.

"Looks pretty sorry to me," said Whizkid. "I don't see nobody around."

Dude dropped his pack and peered inside. "Smells bad. There's nobody home."

"Okay." Gunny looked around. He grabbed Dude and pointed him toward the hill rising behind the bunker. "Head up that way and do some observing, Kit Carson. Take Archie with you."

The two volunteers made their way around the bunker and started up the hill. "Who the hell is Kit Carson?" murmured Dude.

"I think he was an Army scout," said Archie. "A long time ago. When Old Guy was a corporal."

"That can't be. To hear him tell it he was kicking recruits around even before the Sumerians started making pornographic pictures on clay tablets."

"Yeah, but he's always -- ." Archie stopped and pointed down the valley. "What's that?"

"That, my friend, is an intruder." Dude hollered to catch Gunny's attention. "We got company!"

Gunny quickly placed his squad in what cover was available. "Damn this mission. Don't we look lovely standing around a broken-down bunker with nothing but pistols."

"I feel plumb naked without my 240," said Joker.

"Maybe this is Captain Spectre," suggested Red.

"Well it ain't an attack," said Gunny, lowering his binoculars. "Unless the Kurds consider one man to be an assault force. You see what he's driving?"

"Looks like a jeep to me."

"It is. M-151. Vietnam-era jeep. I haven't seen one for years and years."

"Well, we know who's responsible for it showing up in this little drama."

"Keep our clowns alert." Gunny started forward. "I'll see what this guy wants."

By the time the jeep reached the bunker Gunny could see that the driver wore the shoulder boards of an Iraqi army captain. He was clad in BDUs and a soft forage cap sat atop a thatch of black hair worn a good bit longer than US military fashion. A matching black moustache gave him a raffish look. Gunny saluted as the officer stepped out.

His salute was returned with parade ground precision. The captain extended his hand. "You must be the famous Gunny Thrift. Call me Spectre. You would have trouble with my real name and it isn't important." The man spoke excellent English, with a hint of Dixie.

"Your English is very good, sir," said Gunny. The man's demeanor and insistence on a code name marked him as an intelligence officer, possibly a Company employee. "Sounds like you've spent time in the Southern part of America."

"Fort Rucker and Fort Benning." Spectre laughed. "And my last US Army counterpart was an Alabama native. I'm afraid my English is permanently damaged."

"Sounds perfect to me, sir. What can we do for you?"

"Old Guy asked that I facilitate your mission, Gunny. He meant land transport to the target area, but if you need anything else you must advise me. We will assist you in any way we can."

"So you're one of that old bastard's victims too, sir?"

"I would not go so far as to say 'victim', but I have had dealings with him before." Spectre shook his head slowly. "Nothing about those experiences is clear in my mind, but they have an evil feel to them."

"I hear you there, sir." Gunny looked around. "The balance of our equipment is supposed to be delivered here."

"So I was told." Spectre pointed toward the southern horizon. "Somehow I don't think that's going to happen soon."

"Damn." Gunny raised his binoculars and studied the distant yellow-brown clouds. "Dust storm. And a big one."

"We won't get much dust this far north," said Spectre. "But nothing will be coming up from the south for two or three days -- maybe a week."

Red walked out from behind the bunker. "Does this mean we can go home, Gunny?"

"Somehow I don't think so." Gunny's thoughts were a jumble of still-born phrases and ideas. Killing Achmed Achmed would be very satisfying, but the mission seemed doomed to failure. So far, very little had gone right.

"We can put you up," said Spectre. He gestured vaguely to the west. "My patrol base is a few kilometers down the valley. I can offer better shelter than this old bunker and food superior to your MREs."

Gunny nodded. "I wonder why we didn't stage from your base in the first place?"

"This LZ is more suited to secret movements, I suppose." Spectre walked to his jeep and picked up a radio mike. "I have a patrol down below. Shall I call them up here? I can't carry all of you in the jeep."

"Yes, sir. We might as well laager up with your troops. It's probably safer than here."

At Spectre's call, two Toyota 4-Runners crept into view and began ascending the road. Gunny signaled for Dude and Whizkid to come down off the hill.

Donster eased closer to Gunny. "We ain't gonna hafta eat any eyeballs are we?" His whisper could have been heard through a mortar barrage.

Captain Spectre grinned and replied. "Not in the enlisted mess. The good stuff is only served in the officer and NCO mess. In the enlisted mess you'll be fed a normal meal of fried liver, stuffed intestine, and, if you're lucky, a tasty spiced tongue tart for desert."

The Toyotas halted behind the jeep. A burly man wearing sergeant's tabs stepped out and began barking orders. Two men scurried up the hill and two more took up positions near the landing pad. Gunny liked the sergeant immediately, recognizing him as a fellow professional, a regular. His kind pushed men into line in the Tuteborg, on the Somme, at the Little Bighorn.

"This is Sargeant Barzan," said Spectre. "Barzan, Gunny."

The two veterans shook hands. "Does he smoke cigars?" asked Gunny.

"Of course," replied Barzan himself. "But you must excuse. I have run out."

"No problem." Gunny produced two evil-looking black cigars. "A dogface sergeant gave these to me. I've been looking for someone to smoke them with."

Barzan accepted a cigar and produced a lighter. "Permit me." After lighting both cigars, he handed the lighter to Gunny. "A master sergeant gave to me. 173rd Airborne."

It was unlike anything Gunny had seen for many years. The 173rd crest adorned one side. Capable of burning anything from lighter fluid to jet fuel, the thing was far more practical to a man in the field than a prissy butane burner. "That's nice." He handed it back. Barzan, he concluded, was one tough sonofabitch. Master sergeants of airborne units do not hand out gifts to pansies.

Gunny and Barzan rode down with the Captain. The others crowded into one of the Toyotas. The usually loquacious Donnie sat green-faced and trembling. He kept his mouth clamped firmly shut all the way down.

(tbc)

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Going to a fight armed with 9mm pistols and no rifles? Ugh! It'll be interesting to see how this one turns out.

:popcornsmilie:

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Im still alive , things are lookin good so far , great read OG , but no 240 , thats kinda harsh i think

The story is young. My prediction is that Donnie will refuse to suck camel venom out of your right glute.

:D

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The story is young. My prediction is that Donnie will refuse to suck camel venom out of your right glute.

:D

Hell, no, that's right up Donnies alley! The left one too, if you'll let him!

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WTF??? I don't suck ass, I may kiss ass, but I don't suck ass. I may suck in general, but I won't suck a General's ass. :unsure:

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Jeez, the conversation soon degenerates to the lowest level, doesn't it?

:rolleyes:

More later, guys. I had domestic stuff to do yesterday.

Oops. Gotta go. The muse is calling for more beer.

OG

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Jeez, the conversation soon degenerates to the lowest level, doesn't it?

:rolleyes:

More later, guys. I had domestic stuff to do yesterday.

Oops. Gotta go. The muse is calling for more beer.

OG

You expected something better from us? :lol:

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Was ist vrong mit zhe 9mm? You Ami's und dien fazinaschun mit dien vorty-five. Ich zhink you are juzt kompenzatink for zomezhing. Zhe 9mm ist effective und ist zhe produkt of zuperior Tjerman mindz.

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The 9mm is a POS round and has no stopping power except to get it's owner's heart stopped. Come see me Sore Dick and I'll show you.

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The 9mm is a POS round and has no stopping power except to get it's owner's heart stopped. Come see me Sore Dick and I'll show you.

Oh, I'm so sorry, Gunny. Hope it doesn't hurt too much! But I'd think twice before showing it to him!:unsure:

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Operational Necessity

Lunch started out on a sour note when Donnie refused to leave the 4Runner and enter the mess hall. Gunny finally had to collar the nitwit and drag him out.

"Now get inside, damn it! We're the guests of these people. Get in there and face your lunch like a man!"

Looking for all the world like a man on his way to the electric chair, Donnie trudged slowly toward the Peshmerga mess hall. A smiling soldier met him at the door and led the way to a cluster of low tables laden with food. The other Marines were already dispersed among Kurd soldiers, all seated on the floor around the tables.

"Come on, Donnie," called Archie. "I ain't seen a single eyeball or intestine."

Red was seated with two other sergeants, both of whom looked to be Barzan's older, bigger brothers. Spectre motioned Gunny to a table separated from the others.

"This is the First Sergeant's table. Sergeant Barzan graciously invites me to take my meals with him. Otherwise I'd have to eat in my office."

Barzan indicated where Gunny should sit. "Have you eaten a Kurdish meal, Gunny?"

"No. I was never this far north before."

An orderly delivered glasses of black liquid. "We have sweet black tea," said Barzan. He pointed to each dish in turn. "Biryani. Chicken and rice covered with nuts and raisins. Kibbeh. Rice and chopped lamb formed into a ball and baked."

Other dishes contained sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. There were bowls of nuts and a pile of flat bread. Gunny watched as the other two started in, then joined them. No eyeballs did he find, not even inside the kibbeh.

When Gunny had eaten enough to take the edge off, Spectre handed him a folded sheet of paper. "This came in just before I headed up to the LZ."

The message was terse. 'Achmed Achmed scheduled to fly out of Syria in three days.' It was signed by a Colonel OG Armeeguy. Gunny glanced up at Spectre. "Old Guy is up to his usual comedy." He looked at the message again. "This means we have to move right away."

Spectre nodded. "We have some weapons you could use. Are you familiar with the AKM? We have plenty of those. Zastava M92 sub-machine guns. Those would be handy for your men carrying radios. And I think we could loan you an RPK, if you want a light machine gun."

"I've fired the AKM and various similar weapons several times." Gunny frowned, thinking about weapon assignments. "We normally carry the M-4 carbine, M-203 combo. The Soviets made such an attachment for the AKM."

"We don't have any, I'm afraid. We do have a few M-79s. And plenty of 40mm rounds."

Gunny winced. "I should have guessed."

"The AKM and M-92 both use the same cartridge. 7.62 x 39. That will make your ammo loadout simpler. They both use the same magazines."

"All right." Gunny reached for a piece of flat bread. "Is that honey?"

"It is," said Barzan. "Have some more tea."

"I don't like this," muttered Dude. He picked up the RPK and displayed it. "Damn it, Gunny, this thing has a WOODEN stock! Talk about your stone age equipment."

"Just take the damn thing and like it!" snarled Gunny. "Just be glad you're not lugging a Gatling gun or a water-cooled thirty."

"Thirty what?"

"Caliber, you ninny. Thirty caliber."

"Jesus. Is that something my grandpa carried in Nam?"

Gunny shoved the whiner toward the door. "Go out to the range and put a couple magazines through that thing. Go on. Get!"

Donnie sauntered up, cradling a stubby weapon. "Man, I like this. Makes me feel like a gangster. What was that guy's name? Machine Gun Joe or something?"

"Machine Gun Kelly. He carried a Thompson. Did you sleep through history class?"

"All I remember from history class is Miss Cotswold's boobs." A calf-like look came over his face. "I still dream about those." He shook his head. "That chow was all right, Gunny. Kinda spicy though." His gut rumbled.

"Go on. One of the Peshmerga will show you where to test fire that weapon. Try not to gas anyone. These guys have been damn good to us."

"Sure, Gunny. You can count on me."

Barzan watched Donnie stroll outside. "He have problem with food?"

"Donnie has a problem with plain water," said Gunny. The sound of firing drifted in. "Show me this range of yours." He hefted an AKM. "I better see if I remember how to use this."

"Hey, Gunny." Joker stood at the far end of the arms room. "Look at this."

THIS turned out to be a scoped rifle sitting on butt and bi-pod. "It's a Tabuk sniper rifle," said Joker. "We've both been shot at by clowns using one of these."

"So what? People have shot at us with practically everything ever invented -- and sometimes with stuff no one ever dreamed of."

"Do you wish to use the Tabuk?" asked Barzan. "I can ask the Captain."

"Well … " Gunny looked at Joker and shrugged. "We normally carry one sniper rifle."

The Kurd sergeant went out, returning in a moment with Spectre. "You can borrow the Tabuk. Just try and bring it back. They're harder to come by than the other weapons."

Barzan carried the rifle to a table and began showing Joker how to tear it down. Gunny followed Spectre back outside. Some squad members were firing into a steep hillside. A pair of Kurds were showing the others how to field strip and service an AKM. Archie was headed for the firing line with an M-79 in his arms.

"Whaddya think, Gunny?" Archie patted the stubby weapon. "I can throw a lot of explosive with this thing."

"Yeah, but only one round at a time. This thing is slow. You got a Zastava for close-in work?"

Archie nodded. "I already fired that. Now I'm going to see what this is like."

"Have fun. How much ammo can we carry?"

"Twenty rounds or so. I can carry eight or ten. The rest will have to be distributed to the other guys. What flavors you want to take?"

Gunny considered the issue as they walked toward the range. "No sense in taking any smoke rounds. We got no backup. Same-same, illumination. Make it all HE."

By evening the squad was familiar enough with their weapons that Gunny felt like they had a decent chance of surviving the mission. Unless there were a lot more bad guys in the red stone mansion than Old Guy and Spectre believed. Unless the terrorists got lucky. Unless Donnie stumbled and fell at the wrong moment. Unless -- unless -- unless …

He shook off the pre-op jitters. His manpack radios were pre-set to the Peshmerga patrol base frequency and Spectre had programmed all the sets with the same frequency-hopping scheme. They had no common encryption programs, but interception was unlikely.

Spectre reached into a desk drawer and produced a bottle of Old Grandad and two glasses. "A bad habit I picked up from various paratroop officers. Say when."

Gunny let about the glass fill to about two fingers worth. "When. Sharing a drink of good booze between friends is no bad habit, sir."

"Are we friends, Gunny? We've only been acquainted for a few hours."

"Friends. Fellow warriors. Makes no difference." He held up his glass, then lowered it as a guitar began to play and a man started to sing. "Joker's found a guitar. He'll be singing a bunch of sad Irish songs."

Spectre laughed and raised his glass. "I can't think of anything more appropriate. Cheers."

"Cheers." Gunny sipped his whiskey. "It won't stop there, I'm afraid. Donster thinks he can sing. He'll start in soon. But all he knows are filthy marching songs."

"Really?" Spectre walked to the door. "I can teach him some old verses to the 'Girl in the Red Dress' song."

"I'll bet Donnie already knows them."

"I doubt it." Spectre tossed off the rest of his whiskey. "These were recorded on clay tablets. Sumerian, I think."

(tbc)

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Get in there and face your lunch like a man!

At least I can say that I've never been given that line! :rofl:

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The Infidels think I am leaving in three days. Their Intelligence knows nothing! Soon these Marines will know the sting of death! I am going to personally kill the pervert named Donnie. He will suffer much pain for many days before death shows its mercy!!! The big fat one named Gunny too!

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Ich zhink Ich zhould get to finish off zhe Gunny. He zeems to zhink beink schot mit ein 9mm vill nicht hurt. Ve vill zee about zhis.

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You too couldnt blow a paper bag , move along folks just some air wasters

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I predict the Axis of Weasel is going to get its clock cleaned. :popcornsmilie: :popcornsmilie: :popcornsmilie: :popcornsmilie:

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Yep followed by Gunny and his Chain of Command

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Itchie climbs into the cockpit of his Mitsubishi A6M8 Zero, and his ground crewman assists Itchie with the safety harness and parachute. A single 250 kg bomb hangs on the underside of the fuselage. The crewman jumps to the ground, Itchie salutes and slides forward the throttle. The Zero inches away from the Iraqi Air Force built revetment and heads towards the runway. Itchie grabs the microphone and thumbs the button on the side with his gloved hand. "Lt. Colonel Clotchie hele, leady fol takeoff!" Itchie hangs the mic back in place on the console and waits for a response. "You are clear for takeoff sir". Itchie adjusts the flaps and guns the Zero down the runway. Within seconds the Zero is in the air, headed to intercept its target. "Gunny-san and the lest of his lagtag bunch of Maline molons wirl now expeliance the hush of death flom the sky! No Yankee ailclaft to hindel my attack! Glave mistake fol Gunny-san, reaving his Colsail behind and fighting flom the glound!

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Careful Gitchie. I see flames and the Yokosuka burn ward in your very near furture.

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British Army Fire Direction Center, Southern Iraq:

"Unidentified target, bearing 120. Slow moving. No ID."

Sub-Lieutenant Stag swung his feet to the floor and slaved his console to the air defense scope. "I see the bugger. Give 'im a shout on Guard."

As the operator tried calling the bogie, Stag alerted the crew manning one of the American-supplied C-RAM gun systems. "Shotgun, FDC. Wake up, lads. Bogie bearing 190 from your position. He'll pass within range."

"Bloody hell, Lieutenant. A man can't get any sleep with you FDC chaps ringing up at all hours with these drills."

"Practice makes perfect, sergeant. But this is no bloody drill. Target data coming down now."

"No joy on the radio," reported the radar operator. "The thing is damned slow, sir. About 140 knots. Entering the exclusion zone in less than a minute. Whatever it is it must be made of rags. Didn't show up until just now."

Stag pushed a button alerting the battery commander, but he already knew a decision had to be made before the Major could arrive. "Link the target data to Shotgun. Acquire the target for a firing solution."

The operator performed several arcane actions on his equipment. "Target acquired. Tracking. Designate Target One." He looked around at the Lieutenant. "What if it's a civil aircraft, sir?"

"What if it's a small craft laden with explosives?" replied Stag. "If he enters the exclusion zone, we'll kill it and let the infantry lads sort out the remains in the morning."

Nobody said anything further as the slow moving target approached the no-fly boundary. Stag glanced at his own scope. "Check your alignment. Let's make sure the little lines are in the right place."

The check took only a few seconds. "System is in alignment, sir. Target One is now inside the exclusion zone."

Stag hesitated a heartbeat longer before he activated the line to the gun position. "Weapons free, Shotgun."

The target bloomed slightly, then vanished. There was no sound, either from the weapon or from the falling target. Both were located some distance away. "FDC, Shotgun. Target destroyed. Made quite a fire going in. Must have been a soft skin craft of some kind."

Stag reached for the anti-acid tablets. He imagined the NCO in charge of the gun doing the same. They'd lose some stomach lining until the infantry was able to report on the target.

The Major arrived moments later. His usual idiotic grin faded as Stag reported the destruction of an unknown aircraft operating in the exclusion zone. He sank into a chair, mentally picturing his career prospects drying up and blowing away. "Dawn's not far off," he said, stating the obvious, which was another of his annoying habits. "Then we'll know something."

But, as it happened, the word from the wreckage was not particularly informative. The target was a Japanese Zero, fully armed, including a pair of 100 kg bombs, which had not exploded in the crash or subsequent fire. No one had any idea where such a plane could have come from, nor could they imagine where it was going. The pilot was reduced to ash and a few scattered bones. Investigators recovered small scraps of a brown uniform somewhat like burlap in texture.

Eventually, the investigating team bulldozed the remains into a deep hole and went back to their usual haunts.

The battery commander eventually resigned from the Army and returned to England and a job in his father's bank. Stag was promoted to Lieutenant and decided to get out of the anti-aircraft business. His request for transfer to the infantry was approved, though he had to attend an in-country Combat Course, ostensibly to sharpen his small-unit tactical skills, but the course was really designed so that hard-bitten SAS sergeants could work the excess fat off young officers who had spent too much time at table before foolishly asking to be assigned to the REAL Army.

:D

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