Conspiracy at Desert One
By Bernace Charles
On his second day in Washington, Colonel Keller arrived at the Pentagon
an hour earlier than the head of the Joint Task Force requested. He found
General Wallace in the office where he set up shop. The general greeted
him cheerfully, waved him into the room, closed a door, and said, "Have
a seat, Kevin. I need to have private time with you. Give me a rundown
on your back ground in special operations."
"When I first came into Special Ops, I was flying gunship missions
over the Ho Chi Minh Trial. I went to Special Ops, seventh Air Force, at
Tan Son Nhut Air Base. They kept me busy there. I planned gunship missions,
helicopter operations, and coordinated MC-130 Combat Talon movement in
support of U.S. and South Vietnamese Special Forces. I also planned joint
insurgency operations. Nine thousand hours of flying time take into account
a thousand hours in NAM, Laos, and Cambodia."
General Wallace's stone face continence didn't change. He asked, "And
what do you think about what you heard yesterday?"
Keller was glad to see the general taking charge. Yesterday morning,
there was too much talk of Delta Force. Only after the introduction of
the general did Keller hold any hope they might find a commander to bring
the needed elements together. General Wallace was adamant about being in
charge, and any questions from anyone outside would be directed to him.
Keller said, "I think you have a hard task ahead of you. I think
we can pull it off with careful planning. The obstacle is the insertion
of a force capable of taking the embassy compound. They need to get the
hostages out without getting them killed in the process. It'll be a logistics
nightmare to get the planes, helicopters, and fuel to pull it off. I'm
sure we'll have to have at least one refueling in Iranian territory. Much
of the country is desert. With luck, I'm' sure we can find a spot for refueling.
In the mean time, we need to concentrate on the logistics and find out
what personnel and equipment we have available."
"Colonel, I want you in charge of the Air Force side on this. We'll
worry about deputy commander duties later. You have the best qualifications
of anyone I know. I need you here. You have the Special Operations knowledge
we need. Secrecy is an absolute must; you're to keep no written plans.
Nothing is to draw attention or stir some reporter's interest. We have
a mountain of planning to do. It should've been ready to take off the shelf.
It isn't. Now, maybe this country will listen if told that we need a coherent
and developed force to combat terrorism."
Colonel Keller sat in amazement . . . he was going to command the Air
Force component for the operation. He said, "I'll do my best, sir."
"What do you know about Delta Force?"
"Only that it exists. There are enough rumors."
"I can tell you they're a highly trained group of mean bastards
capable of handling just this kind of assignment. Until we think we can
pull it off without getting them and the hostages killed there'll be no
The general stood. Keller followed and walked to the door with him.
At the door, General Wallace paused and added, "Find a way to get
a rescue force into Iran without being discovered."
Colonel Keller nodded and said, "We'll find a way." He left
the general's office to walk to the planning room. There, Keller started
the rough planning by spreading out charts of the Middle East. As he scanned
them for areas suitable for fuel bladder drops or possible C-130 landings,
he knew he needed those areas the normal Iranian citizen wouldn't take
notice of if having increased air activity.
It was a monumental task and Keller felt the challenge of it stirring
his mental agility. The Iranian's were holding American Embassy personnel
hostage, violating international law, and parading the Americans on the
nightly news. It was enough to make one furious with contempt >>>
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