An Elite Athlete

by DakotaRed 22 Replies latest social current

  • DakotaRed

    An Elite Athlete

    By Tom Demerly

    It is dark and Mike Smith's clothing is wet.

    Mike Smith is an athlete, an elite athlete in fact. He is a triathlete, has
    done Ironman several times, a couple adventure races and even run the
    Marathon Des Sables in Morocco- a 152 mile running race through the
    Sahara done in stages.

    Mike has some college, is gifted in foreign languages, reads a lot and
    has an amazing memory for details. He enjoys travel. He is a quiet guy but
    avery good athlete. Mike's friends say he has a natural toughness. He
    can't spend as much time training for triathlons as he'd like to because
    his job keeps him busy. Especially now. This is Mike's busy season. But
    he still seems very fit. Even without much training Mike has managed
    some impressive performances in endurance events.

    It's a big night for Mike. He's at work tonight. As I mentioned his clothing is wet, partially from dew, partially from perspiration. He and his four coworkers, Dan, Larry, Pete and Maurice are working on a rooftop at the corner of Jamia St. and Khulafa St. across from Omar Bin Yasir.

    Mike is looking through the viewfinder of a British made Pilkington LF25
    laser designator. The crosshairs are centered on a ventilation shaft. The
    shaft is on the roof of The Republican Guard Palace in downtown
    Baghdad across the Tigris River.

    Saddam Hussein is inside, seven floors below, three floors below ground
    level, attending a crisis meeting.

    Mike's coworker Pete (also an Ironman finisher, Lake Placid, 2000) keys
    some information into a small laptop computer and hits "burst transmit."
    The DMDG (Digital Message Device Group) uplinks data to another of
    Mike's coworkers (this time a man he's never met, but they both work for
    their Uncle, "Sam") and a fellow athlete, at 21'500 feet above Iraq 15 miles from downtown Baghdad. This man's office is the cockpit of an F-117
    stealth fighter. When Mike and Pete's signal is received the man in the
    airplane leaves his orbit outside Baghdad, turns left, and heads

    Mike has 40 seconds to complete his work for tonight, and then he can go
    for a run.

    Mike squeezes the trigger of his LF25 and a dot appears on the ventilator
    shaft five city blocks and across the river away from him and his
    coworkers. Mike speaks softly into his microphone; "Target illuminated.
    Danger close. Danger Close. Danger close. Over."

    Seconds later two GBU-24B two thousand pound laser guided, hardened
    case, delayed fuse "bunker buster" bombs fall free from the F-117. The
    bombs enter "the funnel" and begin finding their way to the tiny dot
    projected by Mike's LF25. They glide approximately three miles across the
    ground and fall four miles on the way to the spot marked by Mike and his

    When they reach the ventilator shaft marked by Mike and his friends the
    two bunker busters enter the roof in a puff of dust and debris. They plow
    through the first four floors of the building like a two-ton steel telephone pole traveling over 400 m.p.h., tossing desks, ceiling tiles, computers and chairs out the shattering windows. Then they hit the six-foot thick reinforced concrete roof of the bunker. They burrow four more feet and detonate.

    The shock wave is transparent but reverberates through the ground to the
    river where a Doppler wave appears on the surface of the Tigris. When the
    seismic shock reaches the building Mike is on he levitates an inch off the
    roof from the concussion.

    Then the sound hits. The two explosions are like a simultaneous crack of
    thunder as the building's walls seem to swell momentarily, then burst
    apart on an expanding fireball that slowly, eerily, boils above Baghdad
    casting rotating shadows as the fire climbs into the night. Debris begins
    to rain; structural steel, chunks of concrete, shards of glass, flaming
    fabrics and papers.

    On the tail of the two laser guided bombs a procession of
    BGM-109G/TLAM Block IV Enhanced Tomahawks begin their terminal
    plunge. The laser-guided bombs performed the incision, the GPS and
    computer guided TLAM Tomahawks complete the operation. In rapid-fire
    succession the missiles find their mark and riddle the Palace with
    massive explosions, finishing the job. The earth heaves in a final death

    Mike's job is done for tonight. Now all he has to do is get home.

    Mike and his friends drive an old Mercedes through the streets of
    Baghdad as the sirens start. They take Jamia to Al Kut, cross Al Kut and
    go right (South) on the Expressway out of town. An unsuspecting remote
    CNN camera mounted on the balcony of the Al Rashid Hotel picks up their
    vehicle headed out of town. Viewers at home wonder what a car is doing
    on the street during the beginning of a war. They don't know it is packed
    with five members of the U.S. Army's SFOD-D, Special Forces Operational
    Detachment - Delta.

    Six miles out of town they park their Mercedes on the shoulder, pull their
    gear out of the trunk and begin to run into the desert night. The moon is
    nearly full. Instinctively they fan out, on line, in a "lazy 'W' ." They run five miles at a brisk pace, good training for this evening, especially with 27 lb. packs on their back. Behind them there is fire on the horizon. Mike and his fellow athletes have a meeting to catch, and they can't be late.

    Twenty-seven miles out a huge gray 92 foot long insect hurtles 40 feet
    above the desert at 140 mph The MH-53J Pave Low III is piloted by
    another athlete, also a triathlete, named Jim, from Fort Campbell,
    Kentucky. He is flying to meet Mike.

    After running five miles into the desert Mike uses his GPS to confirm his
    position. He is in the right place at the right time. He removes an
    infrared strobe light from his pack and pushes the red button on the
    bottom of it. It blinks invisibly in the dark. He and his friends form a wide 360 degree circle while waiting for their ride home.

    Two miles out Jim in the Pave Low sees Mike's strobe through his night
    vision goggles. He gently moves the control stick and pulls back on the
    collective to line up on Mike's infrared strobe. Mike's ride home is here.

    The big Pave Low helicopter flares for landing over the desert and quickly
    touches down in a swirling tempest of dust. Mike and his friends run up
    the ramp after their identity is confirmed. Mike counts them up the ramp of the helicopter over the scream of the engines. When he shows the crew
    chief five fingers the helicopter lifts off and the ramp comes up. The dark gray Pave Low spins in its own length and picks up speed going back the
    way it came, changing course slightly to avoid detection.

    The men and women in our armed forces, especially Special Operations,
    are often well trained, gifted athletes. All of them, including Mike, would
    rather be sleeping the night away in anticipation of a long training ride
    rather than laying on a damp roof in an unfriendly neighborhood guiding
    bombs to their mark or doing other things we'll never hear about.
    Regardless of your opinions about the war, the sacrifices these people
    are making and the risks they are taking are extraordinary. They believe
    they are making them on our behalf. Their skills, daring and
    accomplishments almost always go unspoken. They are truly Elite

  • Gopher

    Thanks for an interesting post. It takes a lot of little things going right to win battles and eventually win wars, and courageous people like Mike are putting in great efforts to help try to get this war over with as quickly as possible.

    It's too bad it had to come to war -- but it seems Saddam Hussein by his actions clearly brought this war on himself. He either underestimated the coalition's fighting ability or else he is just full of bluster. As the coalition advances on downtown Baghdad, the Iraqis are being told that the Americans are nowhere near Baghdad. That propaganda will soon be exposed as fraudulent.

    After that, hopefully people both inside and outside Iraq will appreciate the efforts of those who came to help oust the vile dictator.

  • LuckyLucy

    Welcome back Dakota, I thought we lost another great poster like LB.Seems like alot of the good regulars have left.

    That was great! Those"special forces" teams are amazing!!

    I for one think the troops are doing an excellent job ...imho...( not that I'm an expert)

    Look how much they have accomplished in such a short amount of time.

    Dakota, If I'm not mistaken you where in the Veitnam War?

  • Trauma_Hound

    Nice work of fiction, btw anyone can see infra-red with a video camera.

  • outnfree


    I don't get this comment:

    btw anyone can see infra-red with a video camera.

    Nowhere in the article did I see a reference that the infra-red laser could not be detected by others. Just that the laser beam was what confirmed the location of the ventilation shaft so the bomber pilot could make sure of the hit.

    From what I understand, the information about Saddam's location was gleaned from CIA operatives, and thus, stealth on the part of the Delta force and the fact that Saddam's "people" would not have been expecting an attack quite yet, is what made this mission successful.

    At least I hope it was successful. I really hope Saddam Hussein "sleeps with the fishes" -- the cement shoes of his own elaborate tunnel/bunker system having weighed him down in the end.


    Dakota: Are you able to post the source? Thanks.

  • hillary_step

    Men love war.

  • expatbrit
    Men love war.

    That's because it's the natural state of humans and all other animals. Expathobbes

  • Redneck
    Men love War
    Nice work of fiction, btw anyone can see infra-red with a video camera.

    and ya wonder why posters with something interesting to say dont stay here....its because of stupid remarks like the above ones..

    Trauma..I dont recall anyone saying ya couldn't..and if anyones a good judge of fiction am sure it's you.

    H.S....I dont understand this at all....You and trauma read the same post as the rest of us?

  • hillary_step


    That's because it's the natural state of humans and all other animals. - Expathobbes

    lol...True, and its obvious that Redneck thinks Hobbes is a Dickens character complete with nasal effluent dripping from the tip of his Bunker Bomb.


    Creation is a nightmare of deceit, ambush and murder where everything has to feed upon everything else to survive. Men love war.

    and ya wonder why posters with something interesting to say dont stay here....its because of stupid remarks like the above ones..

    I apologize if my comment was pitched above Redneck level, but please do not assume because you cannot grasp the import of a post that it is not interesting. Next time think before you spurt.


  • DakotaRed

    Lucy, yes, I did serve in Vietnam with C Troop 7/17 th Air Cav. From mid 1969 to the very first day of 1971. My involvement here currently is very limited. The granting of free reign to a few posters to insult and ridicule others plus the intellectual laziness and dishonesty of others is more than I wish to associate with.

    Outnfree, I received it in email, but the authors name is affixed to the top of it.

    HS, real men don’t exactly love war, but see the need for it on occasion. We remain free due to extraordinary efforts of scared men and now women too, fighting to maintain that freedom and to give it to others.

    Trauma Hound

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