Alpha Troop 69 Cav — Part II

Danger and desire in the desert

Stryker Vehicles during Training Exercise: Photo contributed by CM Jaxon

On non-mission days, time seemed to stand still. The heat didn’t feel any better walking to the command post. The morning walk with First Sergeant Walker became a routine. An old school Cav Scout, his 6’5 frame towered over her, making it appear as if he was her dad. A country boy from Alabama with a thick and deep southern accent, he was a man of very few words. He didn’t raise his voice when the troops got in trouble. He did have a way of making troops feel very uncomfortable with his piercing gaze. Their first few months together were a bit of a challenge. It was an adjustment for him to get used to having a woman as a commander. A 22-year career soldier, he only led men. But his professionalism didn’t let his bias interfere with the mission. He lived, ate, and breathed the Army. He never questioned policy as long as it didn’t violate safety or law.

“Good morning, ma’am. I reckon you are going to see 1st platoon off before they head out?” Handing Roquel a medium to go cup fill with coffee from the dining facility.

Taking a sip, the coffee was the same temperature as outside. “Yes, First Sergeant, I want to ensure Lieutenant Brooks is ready.”

“He will be Ma’am, Sergeant First Class Davis is a seasoned combat vet with eight deployments. The majority of it is done here.” “He will ensure everything goes right.”

“Yeah, First Sergeant, I know.” “You know how it is when one of the platoons roll out the wire,” Continuing to sip on her coffee.

Packing a large amount of Copenhagen in the pocket of his cheek. First Sergeant paused then adjusted the dip. “Ma’am, they are going to be fine, they know the drills, and you supervise their checks before they leave.” “Just remember you can’t control the enemy’s vote.”

Inhaling the coffee before taking another sip, Roquel paused. “Yes, Top, I know, but it still makes me nervous.” “I want to bring everyone back.”

First Sergeant Walker spits into an old water bottle. “Ma’am, we all do. We have six months left.”Anything can happen. That’s why we have to stay focused and alert.”

Roquel and First Sergeant Walker arrived to the motor pool. First Platoon was conducting their pre-combat inspections. The Strykers were humming as troops mounted weapons on the vehicles’ roof. The others were loading the inside with water, ammo, and their gear. Most of the troops seemed to ignore the command team as their squad leaders barked out commands.

Then Lieutenant Brooks walked over towards them. “Morning, Ma’am, First Sergeant.”

“Morning LT, are you and Sergeant Davis all set?”Roquel asked, looking down the line at the Strykers.

“Yes, Ma’am, we have conducted radio checks with the ECP, the Squadron, and the CP. We are all set.”

“Where’s Sergeant Davis?” First Sergeant asked while spitting into his bottle.

“Last time I saw him, he was in A101 calling into the ECP. Top,” Lieutenant Cook responded.

“Thanks, LT,” then he walked away towards the Stryker.

Roquel examined the platoon leader’s disposition to detect any concerning behaviors. Lieutenant Brooks had a quiet personality. His attention to detail and systems made him the number one Lieutenant in the Squadron. He looked younger than what he really was. Tall, slim, his signature large ears made him easy to spot. Married with two young sons. Unlike the other Platoon Leaders, he was an avid reader and hosted a book club on Facebook. His goal during the deployment was to read two books per month. Apply to an Internship program in D.C. after he completed the career course.

After talking with Lieutenant Brooks, her concerns eased. She spoke to the platoon after they received their convoy and mission brief. The troops loaded the Strykers and headed out of the gate. The bright sun made the four-vehicle convoy disappear into the horizon. Roquel and First Sergeant Walker began their walk back to the CP. By then, the temperature started to get hotter. Sweat beads began to form under her patrol cap.

First Sergeant Walker and Roquel then walked into the command post. Greeted by the operations sergeant and the executive officer. Rocquel sat in her dusty office. No matter how many cans of air she went through, her computer and office had a permanent dust layer.

Several hours of answering emails and telephone calls, the Ops NCO ran into her office in sheer panic and fear. His face was white with terror.

“Ma’am, Ma’am, something has happened to the convoy!!!”

Roquel’s heart sank, and she could feel her heartbeat pound through her chest. She stood up, remaining calm.

“Slow down,” she said. What are you talking about?”

“ Ma’am, one of the Strykers struck an IED.”

Roquel could see the look of panic in her Ops NCO’s face. She quickly moved to the First Sergeant’s office. On the phone with the Squadron, she was able to gather what happened. The second Stryker in their convoy column was hit, and there was significant damage. However, they were able to hook up tow straps and pull it to a safe rally point two kilometers outside the town. There were three casualties, but their injuries appeared minor. The Quick Reaction Team activated to search for any possible insurgents and escort EOD for a forensic analysis of the damage.

In what felt like an eternity in time, news of the convoy returning to the base came through the radio. The injured personnel was immediately evacuated to Charlie Med. Roquel and the First Sergeant headed straight to the emergency room. The rest of the platoon was being examined for Traumatic Brain Injury. At the same time, some other troops sat in the waiting area.

First Sergeant Walker was talking to the soldiers in the waiting room. While waiting for, Roquel caught the eye of a handsome ER nurse she stood frozen. Captain Lorenzo Blanco…

Stay Tuned Part III Coming Soon The Tension is Building…

Passionate Writer thats writes about anything. Boudoir Photographer & Owner of Bohemian Visions. Check out other content here:

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