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Murder on the Cocktail Circuit

Murder on the Cocktail Circuit

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Murder on the Cocktail Circuit

Lunghezza:
359 pagine
5 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Apr 17, 2000
ISBN:
9781462089802
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Navy SEAL Commander Scotty Ferguson, who received the Medal of Honor in Vietnam, is sent covertly to the Flagship of the Sixth Fleet on the pretense of protecting the ship and admiral. His real orders are to be available to the President, on a moments notice, to enter Libya and locate an atomic bomb factory that has the capability to place the bomb inside a laptop computer. He is assisted by the lovely CIA agent Alexandra Thorton.
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Apr 17, 2000
ISBN:
9781462089802
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Chuck successfully led a team of Special Warfare men into combat in Vietnam. He was subsequently assigned as the Operations Officer (SEAL/UDT billet) of the Commander Naval Special Warfare Group Pacific. Included in this command were the SEAL Teams. During this time, Chuck became intently aware of the operations, plans, and capability of SEALS.

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Murder on the Cocktail Circuit - Charles Edward Gibb

devices.

Prologue

THE HUMID, DARK, INSECT FILLED, MEKONG DELTA WITH it’s soggy soil greeted Ensign Scotty Ferguson, of SEAL TEAM ONE, as he stepped off the 31 foot (PBR) River Patrol Boat. At age 21, decked out in his new camouflage uniform, with a shiny gold bar on his cap, blond hair cut extremely short, was in perfect physical condition. Scotty felt and acted like a young Roman Centurion about to go forth to carry out Caesar’s orders.

Members of Special Boat Group One, who manned the boat, had a Honeywell 40 mm grenade launcher, a 60-mm mortar and several recoil-less rifles trained toward the shore to cover the SEALs while debarking. They had no illusions about what they were doing. They had been involved in one firefight after another and knew the only glory here was in staying alive.

The Delta that Scotty entered is a vast area of75,000 square miles that had been formed, over the eons, from the debris and soil that flowed down the mighty Mekong River. The Viet Cong (VC) had roamed throughout the Delta at will, and thought it was theirs, until the SEALs began operating there in l966. The VC called the SEALs, Men in Green faces, because of the black and green camouflage they used on their faces.

With Scotty was a squad of seven of the most elite military force in the world: U.S. Navy SEALs. All their camouflaged faces were grim. They were on an ominous mission and they knew it. Their mission was to track down and assassinate the infamous Han Doug. He was known throughout the Delta as Old One Eye. His name alone brought fear to the hearts of local Vietnamese. The SEALs had learned, in their patrol briefing, that every U.S. and South Vietnam military unit sent to capture Doug had disappeared without a trace.

Once the SEALs were out of the boat, they automatically formed up into a line, several arms’ length apart, behind Scotty. Then as if a dark cloud had engulfed them, the eight men disappeared into the jungle. The Skipper of the PBR backdown, turned south and headed back to base camp at Nha Be.

Scotty had been on several SEAL combat missions in the Delta before, but they were along the river, to keep the shipping lanes open. On the last mission, they were in a firefight with VC’s who had been blowing up vessels that were coming up the river from the South China Sea. The SEALs had overpowered the VC with their firepower and killed twelve who had been hiding behind embankments.

Normally, one of the more experienced SEALs would take the point on a mission, but since it was Scotty’s first time out as the patrol leader, he decided to take the position himself. He carried a Hush Puppy with five magazines. It was a Model 39, Smith and Wesson, 9 mm semiautomatic pistol, with a suppressor attached. The pistol had been specifically designed for the SEALs in Nam. The gun was needed because on many missions the SEALs were sent on, in the Delta, they had orders to capture alive a specific high-ranking VC. Most of the ruling class of the VC had guard dogs around their homes for protection. Many a VC guard dog had perished, after a SEAL fired a Hush Puppy while on a mission. That allowed the SEALs to enter the house, put a gun to the target’s head and leave without making a sound.

Directly behind Scotty, was Chief Petty Officer, Rudy Washington. A tall, tough as nails, black man from Detroit. Rudy was on his third tour in-country. He was usually the first to enter a target area. Utilizing a razor-sharp German Seitengewehr, 7.5 inch knife and a Hush Puppy, Rudy would kill the guard dogs or slit the throats of VC guards without making a sound. He also carried a Stoner, light machine gun, with eight hundred rounds of ammo and a half dozen emergency flares.

The Radioman, Frank Harrison, had a PRC-77 radio, an M-16, five pounds of C-4 with delay fuses and four stun grenades.

Two SEALs, Dan Vinson and Charlie Campos, each carried M-I6s with grenade launchers attached to the barrels. In their backpacks they had six hundred rounds for their rifles, ten grenade projectiles and four stun grenades,

The corpsman, Jim Capstone, carried his medical supplies in a back pack. In his hands was an M-16. Around his waist he had four hundred rounds of ammo.

Herm Frighten, a SEAL, who was two hundred and forty pounds of solid muscle, and more than six foot four inches tall, carried the heaviest weapon. It was M-60, heavy machine gun. He carried six hundred rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition for the gun. He draped the ammo across his chest like an old-time Mexican bandit.

The SEAL taking up the rear, was a Latino from LA, named Carlos Rios, an expert long range rifleman. Strapped to his back was a Remington long range snipers’ rifle that shot 7 mm hollow point cartridges. He carried one hundred fifty rounds for the rifle. He used a 9-mm Beretta (M9) pistol for close in firing.

The SEALs proceeded slowly through the muddy soil without making a sound. Sometimes the muck came up to their waist, but they trudged on. In an environment that would sap the average American, the SEALs thrived. Their arduous training had made them well suited for the mission.

After two long hours of lumbering through the mud, all the SEALs were caked with mud up to their waist lines. Without warning, a light drizzle commenced to settle over the Delta. The insects had done their nightly damage and most of the men had bites on their arms and faces, even though they all had used insect repellent. Using stealth as their best weapon, they continued pushing forward toward their target

Suddenly Scotty raised his right arm. All the SEALs froze in place. Scotty had seen the first glimmer of a building in the distance. He took his Starlight Night Vision glasses and observed the place. It was a large house of about eleven hundred square feet. It appeared to be the exact type he was looking for. He searched around for signs of life but saw none. He continued to scan the area with his glasses. Something shiny was in the distance. He focused on the area. It was water. Must be the Snake River, he thought? Some River? Looks like its only a few feet wide.

Scotty’s palms were sweaty and his heart was pounding. He smiled. He recalled that when he was about to go out on the field, as a quarterback for USC, he felt the same way. His old coach, Tim Simmons, always said, If you don’t have butterflies before a game, you’re not human.

Scotty could feel the restlessness in his men behind him. They would just have to wait until he had completed his observation of the target. He looked at the house again. Scotty moved next to Rudy and whispered, Recon the area. I don’t see any guard dogs or sentries.

Rudy nodded then automatically moved the Stoner so it slung over his back. He checked the Hush Puppy to make sure there was a round in the chamber. He put the Hush Puppy in his shoulder holster with the velcro strap dangling. He then extracted his knife from a leather case on his web belt. He liked the feel of the knife in his hand.

The Chief crouched as he zig zagged his way to the house. Every once and a while he would stop and listen. Rudy had an amazing ability to hear the faintest sound. He could hear the brush of a leaf several hundred yards away. He heard voices coming from the building. He tried to ascertain if the conversation was of a business or private nature. They were too far away to tell exactly, but he guessed it was a talk between friends. Friendly talk has a certain rhythm that is detectable to those who have been on a stakeout and listened to conversations. Rudy had been with the Detroit Police before becoming a SEAL.

Rudy moved forward until he was next to the house. He sniffed the air. He smelt the strong pungent smell of local Vietnamese food lingering in the air. Someone has been cooking recently.

He moved around the house with great care, making certain not to step on a twig or something else that would make a sound. When he found no guards, he searched for an open window. He listened. He still heard the voices of people talking in a low voice.

Returning, Rudy whispered into Scotty’s ear, I heard some voices in the hut but no one’s guarding the place.

Thanks, Chief, Scotty said as he gave the hand signal to his men to deploy around the hut. The building was on stilts because during the typhoon season, the river next to the hut would overflow the banks and enter the house if it was not raised in the air. Rudy and Scotty went up the front steps, while Dan and Charlie, went to the right side, Frank and Jim went to the left side. Herm and Carlos went around to the rear.

When everyone was in place, Rudy kicked in the front door with his size 13 combat boot, then lobbed in a stun grenade. It was a coordinated action that the SEALs of Detachment Gulf had practiced many times. All the others threw stun grenades into the hut, immediately after Rudy kicked in the front door. They then entered the hut from all sides. The SEALs’ searched the three rooms that made up the hut, but didn’t find any bodies. They only found some sleeping mats that looked liked the occupants had recently departed. Rudy called out, The voices I heard came from a radio under this cook stove and the stove is still warm, Mr. Ferguson.

We’ve been had, Scotty screamed. Hit the deck. Before Scotty could make it to the floor, he heard the sound of incoming mortars. The mortars tore the building apart. Afterwards, Scotty could hear some of his men crying out for the medic.

Scotty located Rudy amid the chaos and said, Have Jim take care of the wounded while I call in for backup.

Scotty found Frank’s body buried under some planks that had come loose from the roof. After removing the planks, Scotty could see that the mortar had ripped Frank’s upper torso to pieces, along with the radio. Scotty placed two fingers on his throat to check Frank’s pulse. There was none. He covered the dead body with some of the bedding.

Scotty walked around looking at his men. Dan was seriously wounded with part of his leg blown away. Charlie had lost the use of his right arm. The others, including Scotty, had only minor shrapnel wounds. Jim was already at work patching up the wounded the best he could. Scotty suddenly realized that Rudy was standing nearby. Scotty said, Well, the radio is smashed and that rules out our backup and a quick exit.

The Chief replied, Sir, let me send Carlos on a recon to see if he can locate where these mortars are coming from. With that snipers’ rifle, he may even be able to take out of few of them

Good idea. We’ll cover him.

Scotty, Rudy, and Herm took up defensive positions at the front windows and door. When Scotty gave the hand signal, the SEALs commenced firing while Carlos made a dash for the brush across from the hut. He didn’t get ten feet. An incoming mortar exploded a few feet in front of him and tore his body to shreds.

The SEALs let go with a massive concentration of firepower, with everything that they had, but it was to no avail. The VC returned fire with greater intensity.

Scotty signaled his men to fire at will.

An ambush, Scotty thought. That Village Chief I talked to today about operating in this area probably tipped them off.

Scotty walked over to where Rudy was hunkering down, near a window. Chief, I think we’re too far away from base camp, but fire an emergency flare.

Rudy crawled over to the back of the hut and looked at his compass. He calculated the direction and fired an emergency flare. Immediately thereafter he heard the sound of incoming mortars. There was no response from base camp to the call for assistance.

For an hour, Scotty and his men continued to exchange fire with an enemy they couldn’t see and who had more fire power then they had. The SEALs were subjected to constant mortars exploding nearby, automatic weapons fire scouring the area and grenades exploding in front of them. Eventually, the hut was completely demolished and all the SEALs, including Scotty, were wounded by shell fragments. Scotty was so busy leading his men that he didn’t think about the gash in his thigh until Jim approached him with his first aid kit.

Without saying a word, Jim cut Scotty’s camos right next to the wound. He cleaned and dressed it, then administered a shot of morphine.

Thanks, Scotty said as Jim moved along to attend the other wounded SEALs.

The day before Scotty’s superior, Lieutenant Fred Jamison, the Officer in Charge of SEAL Detachment Gulf, at Nha Be on the Mekong River, had called Scotty into his hut early in the morning.

Scotty, Fred said, Want a beer?

Could use one, Scotty said. Jim is being unusually friendly to me today. He has hardly spoken to me since I arrived a month ago. Scotty knew Fred made it a policy to only talk with the patrol leaders of missions and Scotty had never had that assignment before.

After serving the beer, Fred said, You know our mission is to keep the Long Tau shipping lanes open. Detachment Bravo usually does all the sleazy assignments for the CIA but they have lost so many officers and men that they can’t take on any new missions. Well, we have been ordered by General Moorhouse, CMACV (Commander of the Military Advisory Group in South Vietnam), to seek out and assassinate Han Doug.

That’s Old One Eye? Scotty asked.

Yes, it is. Do you know how he got the name? Fred replied.

No.

Well, Old One Eye lost his right eye during the battle at Dien Bien Phu with the French. He was a light colonel in command of the Communist Vietnamese 453rd Battalion. The wound was so severe that his eye socket couldn’t support an artificial eye. Therefore, he always wore a black eye patch. His bitterness with being demoted to the VC caused him to take out his frustration out on his victims. Old One Eye had a reputation of beheading anyone who had the nerve to not cooperate with him. He uses a Samurai Wakizashi sword, left behind by a Japanese Officer in WWII, to chop off a person’s head.

So, you want me to go after Old One Eye and kill him? Scotty said.

That’s right, Fred said as he gave Scotty a copy of the message from CMACV. Take seven of our best men and carry out the mission.

Yes, sir.

And Scotty, I don’t like to say this, but I think you need to do something about your deodorant. The VC will smell you coming.

Scotty smiled, You’re right, I’ve been letting myself go lately.

Scotty went back to his hut and took a long shower. Normally the hut would be alive with the other six officers who shared the hut, but on that day all the others were either on a mission, being treated for wounds, or on R&R.

After the shower, he slipped a pair of skin tight khaki shorts over his nude body. He sat down on his bunk and read the message. The message didn’t reveal much more then Fred had said. It didn’t say why General Moorhouse wanted Han Doung, Old One Eye, killed, but Scotty knew. He had heard the rumor about Doung while on a mission up the Mekong River. It seems that Doung had recently chopped off the head of a popular village chief, Van Trang, who was a nephew of the President of South

Vietnam. Trang had been, at age thirty-two, the chief of the village that was about twenty klicks upstream form where the SEALs had their base camp.

Trang had walked with a wooden leg, the result of stepping on a land mine while leading a South Vietnamese Company on patrol. When he was retired from the Army on disability, he returned to his village and was subsequently made the chief.

While a chief, Trang provided the CIA and U. S. military forces with valuable information about the VC in that area. There weren’t many chiefs’ in South Vietnam that would do what Trang had done. Scotty concluded that the South Vietnamese President must have been furious when he received the information that Old One Eye had the audacity to kill his nephew. He probably got on the phone and demanded that General Moorhouse send the SEALs to hunt down and assassinate Old One Eye.

Scotty knew that the mission would be dangerous and the chances of coming back were not good, but he had his reasons for wanting the task. He felt it would get his mind off his personal problems.

His girl friend and future wife, Alexandra Thorton, had sent him a Dear John letter. a week ago. She had said .. .since I can’t talk you out of making the navy your career, I am enclosing my ring and calling off the wedding. I have met new friends since you joined the navy and I, like them, hate the war and those who are killing innocent people. The wedding had been scheduled for late that June after he returned from Nam.

The letter had devastated Scotty because he had planned on Alexandra being his wife for many years. They had known each other in college and had been engaged for two years. Scotty began drinking excessively, and neglected his personal hygiene.

After reading CMACV’s message, Scotty called the local CIA agent, Frank Bradshaw, to arrange for a meeting. The meeting took place later that morning in a shack near the SEAL’s base camp.

Frank had been in the Delta for ten years and had gone native. The forty-two-year-old agent had bags under his eyes the size of quarters. His hair had turned premature white and it was so long he tied it into a pony tail. He wore the same frayed khaki shorts every day. On the shorts, he draped a leather gun-slingers holster, the kind you only see in cowboy movies. In the holster he had a long-barrel, Russian 9 mm which he always kept cleaned and oiled. Frank had told everyone that he took the pistol off a KGB agent in East Berlin. The only other clothes he had on were go-aheads made of rubber tires and a well-worn Australian bushman’s hat. His skin was about as dark as any of the locals.

Frank said, Scotty, good to see you again. Want a cool one, mate?

Una cerveza, por favor, Scotty replied with a smile. He knew Frank had a fondness for Mexican beer that the Company supplied him on a regular basis.

Frank opened an ancient refrigerator with a large coil on the top. It looked like something that the French must have left. He extracted two ice-cold Dos Equis.

As they sipped the beer, Frank said, My sources tell me that you are looking for Old One Eye.

You have good sources, Frank.

You have to, out here, to survive. You know Scotty, you’ve been given a death sentence, don’t you?

I’ve heard what Old One Eye does to those who have attempted to capture him, if that’s what you mean.

That’s not what I mean and you know it. Fred Jamison should have led the mission himself, instead of sending a shavetail, like you, to do what no one has ever been able to do before—kill or capture Old One Eye. That VC, I swear, has something supernatural about him, the way he keeps out of harms way.

I wanted to lead the patrol! Scotty shouted back.

That’s a crock and you know it, Frank sneered.

I’m not going to argue about it. I’ve got my orders and I’m going. Now, can you give me any info on the whereabouts of our mutual friend, Scotty said. He probably has heard about my Dear John letter. Even though

I haven’t told anyone about it, I’m sure that my excessive drinking, and brooding haven’t gone unnoticed.

One Eye is no friend of mine, but I’ve heard that he is hiding out in a large house on Snake River, near Ran Veng village. That village is under the protection of the Army Special Forces. You’ll have to get permission from the Army Major there before operating in that area, but don’t tell anyone whom you are looking for. You can’t trust anyone. Just make up a story that is believable.

Understood. Do you have any Company transportation going there today? I don’t want to use our Seawolves (US Navy helicopter gun ships that assisted SEAL missions). They could attract attention to the mission. Scotty asked. He knew that Frank had access to almost anything in that part of the Delta.

Yes, one of our choppers is coming through today with supplies. I’ll have them take you to the village and wait for your return. They won’t like it but I could care less. Be at the helo landing site no later then eleven thirty.

Thanks, Frank for everything.

You’ll need all the help you can get. Just hope we can crack a beer again, Frank said as his face turned into a hardness that he had never shown to Scotty before.

The flight to the village was uneventful but uncomfortable because Scotty sat on his light weight flack jacket. Recently a SEAL had been shot in the buttocks while riding in a chopper. The VC liked to pop up out of the jungle, just as a chopper went overhead, and lob a few rounds into the undercarriage. Most of the time they hit nothing, but every once in a while they got lucky and hit someone or something vital. Scotty didn’t want to get a Purple Heart for being shot in the derriere.

Scotty was met at the village by a cigar smoking, tough, Special Forces Major named Mike Abrams. Scotty said, I’m Ensign Scotty Ferguson, sir. I came to get your permission for my SEALs to seek out a VC resupply area that I heard was located around here, Major.

The Major replied, Mike is good enough. No need to use that Major rank nonsense out here in this stink hole, Scotty. Frank called me earlier today and said to give you any assistance you needed. Must have a lot of juice to have Frank looking out for you?

Nothing special, Scotty lied.

I know that’s a lot of bull, but I don’t care what you do in this area. I’ve put my time here and am just waiting to be relieved. But, you’ll have to break bread with the local honcho before he’ll give permission to take a leak. It’s a power thing, if you know what I mean. I don’t let the egomaniac tell me anything, but he needs my supplies, otherwise he would stick it to me too.

Scotty smiled, Yeah, I know that type.

The village consisted of a dozen small huts and a large one. Mike and Scotty walked over to the village chief’s large house. All the villagers had lined the dirt street to see the new arrival. They looked carefully at the new American. Scotty strode though the streets with his head high and his chest out, keenly aware of everything that was going on around him. Whereas, the stocky thirty-five years old major, shuffled along, eluding an air of one who had lost most of his zest for life.

At the luncheon, Scotty, Mike, and a thin, gray-haired Vietnamese man, named Lu Liet, sat around a highly lacquered floor table.

Welcome to my village, Lieutenant, the Chief, Lu Liet said.

I’ve brought a present for you, Scotty said as he handed the chief a box. He saw no need to correct the chief and inform him that he was a Navy Ensign, not a Lieutenant.

A present, how nice, the Chief said, excited like a school boy at Christmas. He immediately opened the box and looked inside. Ah, you know what I like: A half gallon of Johnny Walker Black Label Scotch. How generous of you, Lieutenant.

You’re welcome, Chief Lieu, Scotty said. Frank had given him the box just before he got on the helo and he didn’t know what was in it.

Frank had said, Give this to the chief of the village when you are introduced.

The women of the house served them lunch, one dish at a time. The first dish was some god-awful looking food covered with a fish sauce. It smelled like it had been dead for days. Scotty looked at the food, then at the Major.

Mike whispered, It looks and tastes like cow dung, but if you don’t try it, the Chief will be insulted. Just put some in your mouth and swallow it, like a good Snake-Eater would do.

Scotty smiled to himself. He knew Special Ops people liked to call themselves, Snake Eaters. His BUDS (Basic underwater demolition/SEAL) Training Officer, Frank Crane, had said, "Special Operations people call themselves Snake-Eaters because they think of themselves as first and foremost warriors, in the best connotation of the Samurai tradition. A Snake-Eater does not fear death. Therefore, he has the fortitude to eat any kind of snake, cooked or raw, and the gumption to drink their venom."

Scotty picked up a small bite of the food, using chop sticks. Once he experienced the taste, he wanted to throw up, but he could see the village chief closely observing him with a slight smile on his face.

Scotty managed to swallow the food by dousing it down with some of the local beer. Afterwards, the women brought in platters of giant shrimp cooked in a herb that resembled garlic. At the conclusion of the meal, Lu Liet looked at Scotty and said, I understand that you wish to conduct a military operation in my area?

Scotty started to reply. The Major interrupted him by saying, That is true, Chief. He does wish to seek out a VC resupply area that he has heard is operating near here.

But I know of no VC camp in this area, Lu Liet said.

I have told him the same, Chief, but I don’t see any harm in letting this young officer conducting a limited search of the area to satisfy his suspicions.

Well, if that’s all he wishes to do, I’ll give him permission, Lu Liet said as he arose from the table indicating the meeting was concluded.

Returning to his base camp, Scotty was still feeling the effects of that obnoxious food. He went to his locker and took a few long pulls from a bottle of Beefeaters Gin to get the taste out of his mouth. Shortly afterwards he told Rudy to set the mission up for later that day. "Chief, I will need a total of seven men, including a medic, and I want only volunteers."

Yes, sir. I ‘m volunteering and I’m sure all the others will do the same.

Back at the house on Snake River, the incoming mortar rounds continued to make a pile of rubble out of the building. Scotty thought, If I don’t do something soon, all my men will die in this dung hole. His concern led to thinking about praying. Ever since he could remember, he always believed in the power of prayer. He recalled an appropriate passage from the Bible: Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness; have mercy upon me,

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