Army Intelligence Detachment
LTC Spence’s Mission, Over-Eye
Fort Lewis, Washington State
0700 hours Sierra
Comment of the Moment: “What the heck does that mean?”
Spence, Harvey and Williams flew from Camp Hovey to Fort Lewis, Washington, on a 13-hour MAC Flight. They slept most of the way. They arrived at Fort Lewis at 0200 hours Sierra. While at Fort Lewis, Spence received an encrypted call on his satphone. After the call, he told Harvey and Williams, “Our General is in Mexico, accompanying a diplomatic mission to the Federal District. He has talked with the head of Mexico’s armed forces. He told me he inquired what the Mexican Army knows about any possible camps with large numbers of foreigners in northern Mexico.
“He says he should know more by the time we get to Fort Huachuca.”
Seven hours later at 0900 Sierra in Fort Lewis, Spence, Harvey and Williams departed MAC to Joint Army/Air Force Base Libby near Fort Huachuca, Arizona. They arrived four hours later at 1400 hours Sierra. At Huachuca, they had just signed in to the Army Intelligence and Signal Corps center when security saw his name and advised him he needed to go to a message room for a confidential call.
Spence left Harvey and Williams. He took a call from his Intelligence General from the Distrito Federal, in Mexico. After conversing with the General, he took Harvey and Williams aside and in a secure room, he told them, “Our General has been accompanying a diplomatic mission to Mexico. While he was there, he was able to visit with the head of the Mexican armed forces.
“The upshot is this: Mexico is aware of a number of major campsites in Northern Mexico where unknown persons have camped. The majority of those campers are no longer there, and, according to the Mexican General, if they were intent on invading the United States, they have either abandoned the idea, or they have already entered the US and are hiding. The Mexican General says if they are already in the US, they are our problem, not his.
“In other words, we get no help from Mexico.”
Harvey complained, “Ouch, that doesn’t help at all. So, what do we do now, Colonel?”
“Well, our job is Intelligence. First, we need to learn what developments have occurred from the Intelligence sources here at Huachuca since the General first heard from them about the Satphone traffic.
“Then we’ve got to resolve the issues of where those people are and what their intent is. In order to find them, we’ll have to put our boots on the ground in the Big Bend area. Then we’ll learn what we can through observation.
“I need to see if I can get the use of some smaller drones to eyeball the area from an elevated point of view.
“Captain, I need for you to make arrangements for us to fly MAC to Fort Bliss.
“Sergeant Williams, I need for you to contact Army Intel at Fort Bliss. Ask them to contact the motor pool at Bliss and secure a Hummer for us to travel in. Use Captain Harvey’s name if they give you any problems.”
Williams responded, “Will do, sir.”
“After we’re through here, we’ll fly MAC for two and a half hours on to Fort Bliss, and then drive on to the Big Bend.”
Harvey said, “Colonel! That reminds me. I need to ask you something. You know that the DEA seizes corporate jets from drug dealers. I mean like Embraer jets that can seat up to fourteen and the smaller Cessna Citation jets that seat seven or eight. Do you think you could convince our General to get us one of those?”
“Captain, what is wrong with the MAC flights, flights that do not cost us anything?”
“Well, Colonel, I mean thirteen hours to fly from Korea to Fort Lewis? Then I have to scramble around and search for a MAC flight that, whenever it takes off, will take us four or five hours to Huachuca. One of those little jets could get us from Korea to Fort Lewis in six or seven hours. Then it could gas up and be off again to Fort Huachuca in 30 or 40 minutes. It could be in Huachuca in two hours or less. Come on Colonel. And if we want to go anywhere else on MAC, we have to wait to find out if a MAC flight is scheduled to go there. The logistics are not in our favor.
“Hmmm. I don’t know. I’ll think about it.”
“Please do, sir!”
Spence, Harvey and Williams caught the next available MAC flight out of Huachuha. They flew into Biggs Joint Army/Air Force Base at Fort Bliss arriving at 1600 hours Sierra.
Once they arrived at Fort Bliss, near El Paso, Texas, they went to the main motor pool. Williams had been unable to secure a Hummer. However, because the motor pool was an Intelligence motor pool, several civilian vehicles were available. Williams had been able to secure a red, Crew Cab, Off-Road capable pickup. Harvey signed for the vehicle.
They mounted their off-road pickup. Williams drove and Harvey rode shotgun. Spence rode in the back seat. The three drove to the City of Marfa, in Presidio County, Texas, in time to have a meal and check in to a hotel for the night.
The next morning, in Marfa, the three of them entered the breakfast area dressed in jeans, rough-out boots, and baseball caps. Harvey’s cap had the Bar-SR-Bar Sul Ross University logo on it. Spence’s hat had “Army” on it. Williams’s had “MexiCAN” written on it with the “CAN” highlighted in bold letters. As the three soldiers were having breakfast, Spence remarked to Harvey, “There’s not much to this little town, is there?”
Harvey ducked his head and looked surreptitiously around the dining area. “Sir, I wouldn’t say that out loud in this town too many times.”
With a voice that was incapable of being quiet, Spence asked, “Well, why not?”
“Oh, man. This little town, and Alpine for that matter, have both become somewhat of the artist’s colonies. The towns-people are very proud of that. They use that concept to promote tourism in the two cities, and they have events which highlight that status and which bring in tourists.”
“Like what kind of events?”
“Well, they have street shows and starving artist shows. And every year Alpine has the Annual Cowboy Poetry Symposium at Sul Ross.”
“You are shitting me! Right?”
“Shhh. Sir! No, sir. It’s for real.”
Amazed, Spence asked, “In this part of Texas?”
Laughing, Harvey admonished, “Shhh, sir. You’ll get us in trouble.
“If we had more time to sight-see, I would take you around town and show you some of the stuff they have. I’d take you around the south side of Marfa and show you some really... unusual sculptures.
“But let’s get on the road, and I’ll tell you a bit about this part of Texas.”
As Cruz Williams drove them east on US Highway 67, Harvey filled Spence and Williams in on the history of Texas and Marfa’s Presidio County.
He explained, “Presidio County has a rich history. Native Americans settled the area in south...