“What do we have?” Jake Baxter asked as he stumbled into the room. Being woken up from a dead sleep was never fun, more so in a war torn country.
“A convoy was just attacked out in the desert. We believe two are dead, four taken.”
Another reason why he wasn’t sleeping. He was here on base; his best friend from childhood was in the desert miles away. “Do they have names?”
His commander looked at him, shook his head, and said, “No. Here are the images from the satellite.”
Jake watched the muddy green clips of the convoy moving at a fast pace, then a bright light as the explosion flipped it on its side. Within minutes, gunfire erupted, two bodies were left and four taken prisoner. If they didn’t get to them soon, they’d be tortured like the civilians Jake and the rest of his squad were sent here to protect…then most likely killed.
“When do we leave?” he asked, looking around the room at the Night Stalkers that would be going up in the AH-6M that he’d be piloting.
“We are waiting on word. Suit up. This is a rescue mission. The sooner we can get in, the sooner we can catch them unaware.”
Ten minutes later they had their coordinates, instructions, and were in the air.
It didn’t take long to get to the village where their men were brought. They were ready to provide group support to the other men on their way, while having the ability to fire Hellfire missiles several miles away.
Jake knew he had to focus on the mission at hand, but his mind, and his heart, were with Rob. Rob, the buddy he’d grown up with and talked into joining the army with him. He knew damn well Rob was down there somewhere on the front line trying to get his men back too.
Minutes from their location, they were taking on enemy fire while Jake tried to maneuver the chopper away. It was a balancing act—get to the men on the ground, save the men with him in the air, protect the others with the same objective as him…the prisoners returning safely.
The more fire they took on, the more he had to move away from where they’d thought the men were being held and circle back.
The gunfire on the ground was increasing. Jake locked in on his target and fired, blowing up a building and giving the men relief to make their move.
As he moved closer to provide more coverage, alarms started to go off, he was taking on heavy damage and knew if he didn’t pull back, he could be brought down.
He didn’t want to leave. He didn’t want to pull back. He wanted to know Rob was safe.
His choices were narrowing when smoke started coming out of the engines and his orders were to abort. He didn’t. He stayed and he fired, and he continued, until he had no other option but to choose between the men in the chopper with him, or the men on the ground that were retreating.
He did what he was told. He provided cover to get the men out of there and they’d go back for the hostages another day.
Another day didn’t come, when the bodies of the four soldiers showed up hours later— beaten, broken, bloodied, and beheaded. One of them was Rob.