Kandahar Air Field (KAF)
The tent was hot literally and figuratively. The troops from the United States Army's 4th Artillery Regiment were all gathered for what they thought was a regular Operations Order (OPORD). The fine men and women chattered about, keeping things to a dull roar while they awaited their Commanding Officer (CO) to arrive and begin to disseminate their intel to the NCO's and there have the backbone of the Army give these orders to their troops. A few soldiers were laughing, a few more were talking, and the last thing any of them were focused was on the tent flap. As soon as their CO came in, he posted to the side of the doorway at attention. Something big was about to happen, and the troops picked up on it fast; getting ready to be called to attention.
As their commander took in a deep breath of air, a strong and calculated voice blasted into the tent causing the CO to swallow his gum.
"AT EASE WITH THAT!"
Before they saw his face, they knew who it was: Hawk. No one knew his real name. No one knew his actual rank. Everyone knew he had enough clout to make even the highest of Generals pucker up in their seats. Today, these men and women were going to meed a G.I. Joe. The real deal. The genuine article. A being who inspired and motivated more people than anyone could count, to strap on boots and fight the good fight. Hawk walked in and took off his k-pot and tossed it on the fold up table in front of the company. His goggles, that were strapped (as per SOP) to his ACH were dusted over, scratched up and, surprisingly for a person that has as much notoriety as he does; they were used, and used a lot.
He was clean shaven and held a permanent smirk on his face. Hawk was in his element and he had a lot in store for these American Soldiers. He told everyone to take a seat on the graveled floor and he, himself took a knee as well. He wasn't the kind of leader to parade his rank or position over soldiers. He despised leaders that claimed to "lead from the rear." These folks made the same oath as he had, they wore the same uniform, ate the same chow, and breathed in the same sand from the same tan sky. Dealing with them on the level was the least he could do, but it wouldn't be all that he'd do today.
"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. How the hell are you on such a fine day?" A few in the back giggled a few whispered and the rest of the tent was in awe by the fact that a G.I. Joe was actually talking to them and not at them.
"Its come down the wire that we've got a mission that needs to be done."
A soldier in the midst of the crowd shot up a hand and asked, "Uh... sir? What's so special about this mission that someone like you would go in with us on?"
"First, stow that "Sir" crap. You all know my name, I highly advise you use it. I didn't come all the way out here to have anyone run sniper checks on me. Secondly, this is a standard mission. My current team is all occupied elsewhere and I hate being left at home with nothing to do." The soldier awkwardly pulled his hand down, realizing he had it up the whole time. Hawk continued, Our area of interest is a nice little village between here and Qalat, called Jaldak. We've had recent intel reports telling us that ISIS is running their own version of an embargo using DF and IDF. We've heard there are IDS and EFP's that have been used on the local nationals and a few of the NATO police escorts going between here and there. Our avenue of approach will be direct. It's about an hour and a half out, but we'll be headed straight up the road as if nothing is going on. I'll need my fellow FO's ready to pull 5s and 25s at suspicious POIs.
"I don't need to brief you on the weather. Anyone who has boots on the ground for more than five mikes can tell you it's going to be a hot, brigh, sand-filled day. I know you folks probably want to know the specific "why" on this particular run, and I'm not going to withhold anything from you. ISIS has completely taken over the village. They're living in their homes, and doing indescribable acts to the individuals who are there. This isn't a mission to show that America is the greatest, this isn't a mission to try to win sympathizers. In all honesty, this was a mission that someone wanted to throw under the carpet." Hawk gave their CO a brief glare. Their Captain quickly excused himself from the OPORD before Hawk had time to look back to the soldiers.
"The road is dangerous. The enemy is dangerous and we're there for the soul purpose of liberating these folks from their captors. Freedom is the right of every man, woman, and child on this ball of mud, and we're going to give them at least one day to be happy for living. Any questions?"
A male soldier lifted his hand, "Are you going to be the Convoy Commander?"
"Nope.. you are!" He said with a smile. Putting soldiers in position of authority was something he always enjoyed. Too many good soldiers get passed over without their leadership knowing what they were capable of. Hawk had enough time in uniform to spot the good apples.
Hawk spoke up again, "Who wants to take point on this little road trip?" Hands began to shoot upwards at random. The lead truck and the third truck were always the most dangerous points for IED's. If the first truck only triggers it, it'll actually detonate towards the end of the second truck and the front of the third truck, and that was the best option. Others could take out the entire four truck convoy, or the first truck could get shredded and stop everything until they could get some type of evac for the debris that would be left in the road.
A voice popped up in the back. A female soldier had shot up above the crowd and shouted "YO, JOE!"
Hawk shot up as well to this sudden explosion of patriotism. His hand shot out from his side in her direction. His fingers were extended and joined; paralleled with the marching surface. His thumb was joined with the nail pointing perpendicular with the ground... It was Hawk's knife hand of inspiration.
"HOT DAMN, SOLDIER!
You're on point. What's your rank?"
"Private first class, Hawk."
"Not anymore! You're officially promoted to a junior NCO status. That is motivating. If I'm motivated," he gestured his knife hand over the entire tent, "that should motivate the hell out of you too. Do you get me?"
The tent exploded with a roar of excitement and power:"YO JOE!"
"TC's and our new CC, meet me in my hooch in five. Once the new corperal is finished with her crew, send her over too to get briefed with the rest of you. In the meantime... Run your PCCs and PCIs."
Hawk grabbed his ACH and tucked it under his arm. He looked over this newer generation of soldiers. Men and women, bound together in honor, courage and commitment. He was smiling from ear to ear as he headed out to his duty hut. He couldn't be more proud of what his beloved Army had become.CODE NAME: HAWK