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from Love's Critical Ground by L.K. Thompson, LTC (Ret.)

Copyright © 2017–2021 Lasrry K. Thompson

Chapter 20


Army Intelligence Detachment

LTC Spence’s Mission, Over-Eye

Library, City of Alpine, Brewster County, Texas

1100 Hours Sierra



Comment of the Moment: “Are you kidding me? That’s all it takes to control four counties with about 15,600 square miles of land?”



Spence, Harvey, and Williams were driving south down State Highway 118 toward the Big Bend National Park. The radio was playing softly, Williams was driving. Harvey was thinking.

Spence was speaking. He said, “Okay, let’s think about what we know.

“Because one of the enemy was wearing a radiation detection badge, can we say that they have at least one Nuke?”

Harvey disagreed, “I wouldn’t say it’s for sure, and I’m not even sure that it’s a good bet.”

Spence replied, “According to your reckoning, there are nine possible locations where they will interdict traffic. Will just one location have a Nuke, or will all of them have Nukes?

“I mean, if they want to deny America, permanently, the use of the property they have taken, what better way than to permanently close off traffic?”

“Colonel, I think it would be imprudent to plan an action based on a bet that nine locations have Nukes. From where would they get nine of those things, if they could afford them, and if they have them, are they willing to spend all eight of them in one action? I mean, I think they want to stage the same action at several different locations. It seems more likely that they would use one nuke for this action, and save the others for each of the other projected actions.”

“You have a point Captain, but we don’t know the source of their bombs, but if they are Middle Eastern extremists as you have hypothesized, it would make their day to die in a blast that they could create on American soil.”

“I think, if they have Nukes, their source could be from either Iran, North Korea, or a source related to Iran. The first two are ‘iffy’ prospects because of the international sanctions placed against them and inspections which keep coming up empty handed. The old USSR is a better bet due to the fact that we know they hid some of them, and since they were unaccounted for, we don’t really know how many are missing or where they are. If we want to be on more solid ground regarding whether they have them or not, I would say that Russian bombs are more certain. I would feel more comfortable planning an action against that scenario.”

“Okay, so what’s the worst they can do to us? How many do they have?”

“Better to overestimate their ability than underestimate.”

“Okay, then they have at least nine. What about defensive weapons?

Harvey laughed, “Damn, sir, if they have eight Nukes, they could have mortars, howitzers, tanks, and shotguns, and who would care?” He paused then shrugged, “I mean they’ve got Nukes.”

“Still, Captain, if they are going to seize locations, they won’t just set a Nuke out in the middle of the road and expect everyone to recognize what it is. They’ll need traditional weapons that anyone can recognize.”

Harvey shook his head, “I sure walked into that one. Got us all killed because of stupidity.”

“That’s alright, Captain, book learning isn’t the be all and end all that it’s cracked up to be. Not if you’re wanting to be a field grade officer someday.”

“Now, you’re making me feel stupid.”

“That’s alright, Captain (Promotable),” Spence made parentheses with his hands as he said the word ‘Promotable.’ “You still have some things to learn before you make Major. That reminds me: have you even started your advanced officer’s course?”

“Yes, sir. I do most of that at night. I’m about three quarters through it.”

“Very good!

“Don’t forget, Command and General Staff College follows that.

“Now, let’s talk about the force against us. We do know there were six combatants in the truck Williams saw going toward Alpine. Isn’t that right?”

Williams nodded in affirmation.

“We know there were six more in the truck that Captain Harvey said shot at us, or him, as the case may be.”

Harvey nodded his affirmation.

“A truck load of six seems to be their preferred load. With the intersections that the Captain has said they’ll need to cover,” he paused for a second and looked at his map. Then he said, “let’s see, the intersections of roads leading to Alpine, from the cities of M...

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