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The four of us were sitting in the small conference room in the Holiday Inn in London, listening to a military representative of a major power's embassy.
We were the final selection for a team picked to eliminate a sore point for that government. They couldn't be seen to be involved, and anyway were not welcome in this particular country where the sore point was.
Seemingly about ten years previous, a small pacific country would not back the them in the UN. So the government of the day decided that they were going to remove this countries government, even though it had been working perfectly well for nearly 100 years. A well-known agency armed and supported a group known as the IFF (Independence Fighting Force) to cause havoc, and turn the people against the government of the country.
The IFF had been a disaster, and failed, but a group of 25-30 of this group was still active. Two months ago, they had raided a community hospital run by nuns, and slaughtered all the patients who could not walk, raping the women patients then mutilating their bodies, even before death. They had taken 6 nuns hostage, plus four young men who worked at the hospital, and disappeared into the jungle. The news of the slaughter and capture of the hostages was given by three children who had escaped.
This act had brought condemnation down on the US department responsible for this outrage. The country in particular has had no luck in bringing their rebels to justice. They will allow no US citizens now to enter their country. So they have recruited us, ex Special Forces personnel at a fee that is unbelievable, to enter that country and find the group. Erase if possible, free the hostages, and destroy any traces of US involvement. It was felt that a small elite body could go where a large group would be easily detected.
Radio contact would be impossible as the agency had supplied this group with hand-held scanners, which would have warned them of any intruders. The IFF knew the lay of the land and so they were fighting on their own turf.
All weapons and equipment that we requested, would be discreetly landed at an isolated spot on the coastline, for us to collect once we entered the country as innocent looking British visitors. The passports we were issued with were in false names, but the visas were genuine enough. We were also given $5000 US travellers cheques each, to meet expenses while on the island. We were ready to fly out via Singapore from Heathrow in two hours.
The four of us had never met, before the briefing we had two days before, so we only addressed ourselves by nicknames. I was 'Jock', the lad from Liverpool was of course called 'Scouse', and 'Geordie' came from Newcastle, 'Snowy' because of his white hair, he had that Nordic look too.
To us ex-serviceman the nicknames were appropriate, and they are names that any soldier would have used, so there was no chance of us ever getting mixed up about false identities.
Two of us were ex-snipers, so the other two were going to be our spotters. Once we found the group, we no doubt would split up, and act as two-member teams. It was the most obvious choice, that I had Geordie as my spotter, as Geordie had a very broad Newcastle accent, that was easy for me to understand, but would have been difficult for the others. Snowy was going to have a bit of difficulty though, because Scouse's accent was quite pronounced and Snowy was from Southampton.
Both Snowy and I had chosen M85's, as our preferred weapons, they were the weapons we were used to. We would also be needing silencers; these rifles were already screw threaded for just this purpose. I will say this for the US, after we told them our needs; they were surprised that we didn't want more. All the requested items would be provided, as well as the subsonic and Styx ammunition we asked, as well as our usual special sniper rounds.
So dressed in gaudy sports shirts, and carrying haversacks we entered the boarding queues at different points, appearing that we didn't know one another. I did see though that we were being watched by one of the US gentlemen who had been at our briefing.
We were well spread out on the plane, and didn't meet again until we were waiting to board our plane for our final destination. We blended in with the other tourists, who seemed to be dressed similar to us, it must be the tourist uniform I thought.
I got placed in the seat next to a very pretty young Canadian woman, and the flight seemed to go very quickly, as we were into a bit of snogging and a quick grope. It was a pity that I wasn't going to be a genuine holiday maker, as I would have been set up easily with this Canadian woman. I suppose I will have to forget about international goodwill with this lass, much to my regret.
We piled into a taxi whose driver was displaying a sign with our names on it. The taxi took us to one of the holiday hotels by the beach, but well out of the main city. It was also noted by all of us that none of the passengers from our flight came to this hotel.
Waiting for us was a Hawaiian gentleman.
"Our mutual friends say everything is in order, and delivery will be made at midnight tonight, at the spot given. I was also to give you this package. By the way that spot is only about a mile east of here, gentlemen. I will leave you now, best of luck." He said and then left.
In the package was an enlarged blow up of a grainy satellite picture of a camp, surrounded by vegetation, showing rough shelters and a piece of open ground in the middle, with smoke rising from three places. There was a time stamp with longitude and latitude positions in the top right corner, of only 5 hours previous.
We studied these pictures, and thought that we saw trenches on the perimeter of the clearing, but then they may be only shadows. Anyway we had a starting point; the rest was up to us. We had 7 hours to get a good meal into us, and get some rest as we had no idea when we will get either for a while. The rooms in the hotel were booked in our names for a month, so we were going to leave all our things we brought with us in them.
Midnight, we were waiting above the high waterline at the designated drop point; out of the night on silenced motors a rubber Gemini craft shoot up the beach, two men unloaded four large plastic bags. Then push their craft back into the water and disappeared into the darkness, until we only saw an occasional spray in their direction. The whole unloading was done in less than thirty seconds.
We ran down to where the bags were placed, and looked for the identification tags, which showed the identity of owner. We carried our individual bags well under the tree line and opened them, stripped ourselves of our civilian holiday clothing, and redressed in our camouflage jungle clothing and high laced rubber soled jungle boots.
All weapons and ammunition checked, all noises eliminated by jumping and listening for your buddy's sound. We then calibrated our watches which were dead on anyway and then checked our GPU's to make sure of our exact positions. All our discarded clothing was but in the bags our equipment came in was buried, or hidden.
A bearing was taken on the last known position of the rebels, and we then advanced as standard infiltration routine in single file towards that position 25 miles inland.
It took us two days to reach an OP (Observation Point) overlooking the site which had been identified from the satellite. There was no movement at all, so we moved in from two different sides taking extreme care to make no sound at all, or damage any vegetation unnecessary, which would show our passage.
We watched the location for almost two hours, from the very perimeter but it was deserted. We entered so if it was being watched we wouldn't be spotted, by donning our Gilly suits and crawling in. It was obvious by our observations that this camp is used quite often, and the signs we saw were indeed trenches.
So to discourage any future occupants, we planted plastic antipersonnel explosives. The type we used looked like a cartridge, which you pushed into the ground leaving the tip just protruding. Once in place, the metal safety clip was removed and it was undetectable by a metal detector. If you stood on it, the hard plastic projectile was shot up your leg or foot or which part of your body you pressed on it. These devices were light, small and easily carried.
Since neither of us had passed any tracks, leading into or out of the camp, the exit points must be on the opposite sides to our entry. The rebels made no pretence of hiding there tracks. I suppose they thought that they were safe within this area, or were becoming careless.
The tracks were quite fresh, and some of the vegetation hadn't even straightened upright so the party was close. We could hear no sounds, and with hostages, who weren't used to jungle fighting, would be making a noise even walking. We knew that they were not in the immediate surround, unless they had left a 'tail end Charlie' to check on their rear.
We followed the trail for four hours, changing point every half-hour. Point is very demanding as you are on constantly on edge, watching both ahead and at the side of you, in an arc of 90 degrees and more aware of coming upon someone immediately in front of you.
In fact we nearly stumbled on to the rebel group. We were following the contours of a hill and as we came round the corner, there was a small clearing about 75 yards away, by a stream and the group looked like they were settling down for a stay.
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