At 0800, and sometimes at sunrise, depending on the military installation, a detail of military personnel assembles at the flag pole in front of the headquarters building of the military installation. They assemble with the flag of the United States of America carried respectfully.
A cannon fires a blank round as a part of the ceremony. The detachment runs the flag rapidly up the flag pole. They take one step back. They render “Present Arms.” The bugler plays “Reveille.” “Reveille” is played over a public-address system all over the installation.
All over the military installation, the military personnel stop. Those riding in vehicles come to a controlled stop. They dismount from the vehicles. They face the headquarters building. They render the hand salute. If they are under arms, or if they are in formation, they render the command, “Present Arms.”
When the bugler finishes “Reveille,” the personnel resume whatever they were doing.
They don’t question why they do this. They do it because it is tradition. They do it because it is expected of them. They do it out of respect for the flag that they will carry into battle. They do it because they are proud to serve.
And so, the military day begins.
UNIT: Eight Member Special Operation Team
SITUATION: Mysterious Orders
LOCATION: Secure Room One
ATTITUDE: Cloying State of Gloom and Anxiety
TIME: 0400 hours Sierra, Current Date
The Army camp, Camp Bowie cantonment, was a camp of approximately 3,500 acres of hilly wooded countryside in northern South Korea. It was dominated by Mount Bulgilhan, a heavily wooded mountain almost 7,900 feet tall. Camp Bowie was a short distance from the DMZ and thirty-five kilometers from Kaesong, North Korea. The camp was a major supply point along Military Supply Route 3 with more fire power stationed there than all the other nearby US military installations. Camp Bowie was the home of the secret Intelligence team, Team Reliant. That team occupied the Intelligence building there.
The soldier sat in a chair, in a room, alone, solitary.
Gloom oppressed the room.
The soldier, an Army commander sat with a new set of orders for his command.
He struggled to wrap his head around the method and meaning of the orders. He was unable to grasp, fully, the intent of the orders.
The man was Lieutenant Colonel Burl Spence, commander of the detachment called Team Reliant. His hard nosed attitude and rule regarding any mission was, “Failure is not an option.” Spence’s own commander knew of Spence’s requirement and expected him to carry out all assignments under that same requirement.
Spence’s attitude had been the prime factor in his rapid rise in rank. Now, however, he was faced with a task, the required completion of which threatened the success his long-standing rule.
Reluctantly, he pulled his cell from its holster, and called his Sergeant Major.
The highest-ranking Non-Commissioned Officer of the detachment rose from sleep. He answered the call notification signal of his cell phone on the second ring. He recognized the signal he had assigned to Spence number in his list of contacts.
He answered crisply, “Sir?”
Spence said, “Sergeant Major, I need your keen eye.”
Mungo asked, “Sir, where are you?”
Spence’s reply was terse, “Secure Room One!”
Mungo said only, “Give me twenty minutes.” His reply was more an order than a request of his commander.
Twenty minutes later, the freshly shaved and properly ACU clothed, Black, Sergeant Major knocked on Secure Room One door. Not waiting for the oral summons, the six foot six Mungo opened the door, stepped in and stood silently before Spence.
Without formality, Spence glanced up, to confirm Mungo’s identity, dropped his eyes back to the paperwork in front of him. He patted chair beside himself.
Mungo, recognizing the sign of intense concentration in the room, tossed his ACU cap on the table and dropped silently into the chair beside Spence.
Finally, Spence grumped, “I still don’t get it.” He handed Mungo the paper he had been studying.
Mungo dissected the sheet, “This appears to be a data transmission. It’s on an Army sheet of paper. The data that is normally across the top is missing on the left, so we don’t know the specific reason it was sent. The data line on the right has ‘http://mail.
“Hmm” he mused, “That is not possible!
“Okay, sir. Let’s call that mystery number one!
“The data across the bottom indicates page one of one, and the data on the rig...