Dust Off – Brothers in Arms
I don't own Kim Possible or any character from the Disney Program.
Also I don't own the song, 'Brothers in Arms' by Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits, which this is based off of. A song I heartily suggest you listen to as you read this snippet of a Veteran's Day tribute to those in Uniform, past and present, who protect us from enemies, foreign and domestic.
I also would like to thank Sentinel103 for the gracious 'loan' of dialogue and scenes from 'Once Again'. You might want to check out his own tribute to Veterans Day, too. It's based on something he takes part in every year at his home state.
The crackle of radio traffic in darkness, punctuated by automatic rifle and machine gun fire, explosions, screams of the wounded and the dying.
Through the comms came the sounds of faulty Intel mixed with stretched resources meeting with a worst case scenario: A Platoon of Rangers clashing with a Regiment of Insurgents on their prepared turf. The sounds resonating quite clearly through the frequency tuned to the Rangers' plight.
The steady drone of the four-engine craft accompanied the desperate request to assist:
"Red Dog 32 we have assets ten minutes out, can you hold out and where do you want it?"
Automatic weapons fire, rounds zinging, explosions, ricochets, screams accompany the reply:
"We are down to two souls Spooky, drop it on top of us and 250 meters radius from our position. Ultraviolet Chem Sticks deployed for targeting. We need the drop ASAP!".
Dreadful updates in the fluidity of this dire situation amidst the explosions:
"Correction, Red Dog 32 Delta is the last soul."
Frantic finality, resignation and grim humor stamp this page in the lives of so many:
"Spooky 67 drop it on us! Do you copy? Drop it on us! At least they can't strip the dead…..See ya in hell buddy."
Resolute determination, professional detail, unspoken urgency to render devastating aid to the desperate souls below:
"Spooky 67 this is Dead Man 30, 31 and 32. We are inbound, supersonic and expediting. Move all friendly assets out of the area. We need targeting information on the stranded platoon. Dead Man 31 will release, Dead Man 32 will provide CAP, and Dead Man 30 will provide extra support."
Sgt. Stoppable, coughing blood from the blow to his chest looked up; someone had grabbed him, pulled him to his feet. The grinning insurgent had a knife and was slowly beginning to cut his throat.
Ron passed out from the sonic boom generated by a single B1 Lancer bomber, at 900 miles per hour, and 1000 feet above his head. The noise shook the earth with an enormous boom.
Three seconds later while the ground still reverberated from the sudden shock, the bomber's load of 30 CBU 87's dispensed their sub munitions scattering over 6000 bomblets on the target area.
Creating hell on earth.
"Well Mo...", Kim began... "He's...OH...NO...Ron?", she gasped grabbing onto Monique's arm.
"GF what's wrong you're scaring me.", she stated stopping her car.
"Something's wrong, I gotta get home...NOW.", Kim urged her friend.
The dawn mists part for helicopters approaching in the dawn light shining down on the silent mountain, the lone witness to the previous night's carnage.
AH-64 Apache gunships angrily scour the dusty, rocky locale in advance of a few UH-60 Blackhawks and several troop laden CH-47 Chinooks.
Trailing in the high distance one solitary Chinook; Call Sign: Dust Off.
The Apaches continue to severely inspect the area looking for trouble to furiously dispatch.
The region pacified to all's satisfaction, the Chinooks and Blackhawks land and disperse perimeter guardians, leaders and agents of mercy.
The lone Chinook stands off a bit, waiting for the All Clear. Their job, recover souls lost in the night.
All watched over from above by two C-130 Spectre gunships and accompanying squadrons of F-15E Strike Eagles and A-10 Warthogs.
Perimeter secure, Medics pour over the field, frantic in their search for the living…
"MEDIC! We have a soul here!", comes the hopeful call.
Hurried convergence of mercy on a lone soldier on the edge of eternity, their guardians focus outward to protect them as they minister to one of their own.
Delicate care given, stability assured for the return flight to further aid, their injured brother is taken from the field and to the safety his brethren only know for snippets of time. From there to comfort they only dreamed of while on duty in this land.
"Sir," the Chaplin began, "We are looking for the Stoppable home. Is this it?"
Dean Stoppable nodded.
His wife Barbara came to the door to see what the commotion was all about. When she saw who was on her porch, her breath caught in her throat as Kim and her family quietly approached.
"Is this about Ron?", the young red haired woman asked.
No further aid to render, no enemies to be wary of the call is made for the lone Chinook to land and begin its mission for this day.
Security sparing men to assist, yet maintaining protected refuge, the grim duty of recovery begins while the lone Chinook's engines power down.
With the recovery detail exiting the last flight in, two Chaplains follow and maintain another watch over the souls being gathered for their last journey, giving comfort and aid where needed in this grim task.
Gentle care maintained in rendering respectful recovery of those fifty-one souls who will never answer another Roll Call in this world. Names are checked off as tags are retained.
For the moment zipped black bags close off the fallen from the world and those inhabitants who reached out so violently to destroy them so very far from their homes.
Side-by-side, in a black plastic line they lay while the Men of Faith pronounce prayers and offerings of peace for their souls before each one is solemnly carried into the craft to gently lay in the same manner on its floor.
Secured and accompanied by Chaplains and detail, the precious cargo lifts off, first flight out towards their temporary haven and eventually Home.
While one Brother, more than once a hero, heals, Fifty-one return Home for the last time.
Honor Guard carries a flag covered coffin from an aircraft to a hearse.
Cars pull off the road, people stand silently, and heads bowed as the car slowly drives past.
Silent vigils maintained by Veterans, young and old, current members of the National Guard, serving members of the Military, day-in, day-out.
Family, friends, strangers pass by and view the fallen member of their world, who died serving their country, protecting them from enemies, foreign and domestic.
The tear-laced service for the departed soul, the travel to the grave site, words of comfort and love for the sacrifice given by one so young and those left behind.
The hammer-like report to the heart of the rifles in Salute from his Brethren.
The soulful Bugle's Final Call of 'Taps'.
Folding the Flag, precise and swift; presented on behalf of a Grateful Nation, given in sorrow, for their loss.
Final salute rendered to the tendered Flag and the one who gave so much to help keep it flying free.
Last glance at the resting place of one who left this world before their time.
While their brothers begin their passage Home, those who remain start their mission of gathering what they can to answer questions regarding those who fell on this ground.
As Dust Off's engines fade in the distance, amidst the shuffling of boots, sporadic clank of metal, the muffled conversations and occasional radio traffic, in the wind one can almost hear the echoes of their Brothers in Arms who passed in the night and what they endured in their last moments.
Until, only the wind is heard.
For all those who served and continue to serve this Nation.
'All gave some, some gave all.': Unknown
Remember them and thank them for their sacrifice.