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Philip Riley, a young Midwestern architect with a storied past as a sniper in the U.S. Army's 2nd Ranger Battalion, thought he'd left his past behind him, only to discover the inevitability of his own violent karma. Drawn into events beyond his control, he must draw on his Special Operations background to, not only save himself, but seek retribution for those that can no longer speak for themselves. Some would call it a vendetta or vigilantism but to Riley, it was a matter of honor.
The beach was quiet and all was still except for a sporadic palm tree rustling in the warm tropical air. We tread water just off shore and surveyed the beach. Msgt. Riggins was the first to spot a sentry’s glowing cigarette. I saw the man, just as he passed the hand signal through our team. I estimated him to be some twenty yards in from the beach, just inside the airport perimeter fence. It was typical chain-link fencing adorned with razor wire. Nothing too foreboding as Torijjos-Tocumen was considered secure. There were enough U.S. interests and military bases within the canal region to discourage invasion--another irony of the operation.
The sentry passed and we made our way to shore. We landed under the cover of a high sand dune that shielded us from our enemy above the beach. From our position, we were momentarily safe from patrols or night vision surveillance from inside the perimeter. There, we secured our gear and weapons. The Airmen quickly made radio contact and we were good to go. The mission was on schedule and we had the green light. Now it was my turn.
I made my way to the fence-line, steadily crawling over the palm-frond littered beach. I was tasked to get the team inside and secure prior to “H-Hour.” I would then join Task Force Red of the 3rd Ranger Battalion to assist in securing the Tocumen military section of the airport. Making sure the Panamanian Air Defense forces were grounded was crucial to the early success of the invasion. Once that task was complete, I would separate from Task Force Red and establish a sniper position covering the main access to the base. Intelligence suggested the possibility that top Noriegan henchmen or even the man himself might try to evade capture via Tocumen. We weren’t about to let that happen and I considered it a personal career mission to make sure it didn’t...
The chain-link snapped quietly enough. The salty, humid air had taken its toll and the soft steel cut quickly. No security within sight of my night vision goggles, which further reduced any complications to the task at hand.
I slipped in gingerly and swiftly made my way to the cover of several dense palm bushes. I slowly removed my small A.L.I.C.E. pack and used it as cushion as I laid low within the relative safe camouflage of the vegetation. From my prone position, I continued my initial surveillance. I was primarily concerned with the whereabouts of our smoking sentry and if he had any friends nearby. Nothing... I whispered, a bit too soon. I smelled him before I saw him in the dim green glow of the night vision.
I quickly scanned my forward position and then my left and right flanks, before slowly shifting from my face down posture and onto my left side. I sighted directly down my toe line to locate his position. Gotcha! Our close proximity would compromise me. He was making a return trip along the fence-line, some fifteen or twenty yards toward my rear. I had but precious moments before he discovered my entry point in the fence. I had to move...
A.J. Bryant spent his formative years in the rugged Pacific Northwest. Amidst the grandeur of the landscape, he grew to not only respect the land, but also developed a passion for writing about it. He now lives in the Heartland of America, where he writes and teaches classical Japanese swordsmanship.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 236
Paper Weight (lb): 10.0
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