Prologue

24 1 0
                                    

                "Alright, Bauer, to maintain accuracy, remember to make your adjustments if the wind continues from the east. Sunrise is less than one half hour away. Once your target is visible and confirmed, radio me."

Under the cloak of darkness, the US Army's Rapid Deployment Force disappeared moments later into the thick brush of the Grenadian hillside where they quietly established their positions

Flanking a road leading to the newly constructed Salines Airport, Gunnery Sergeant Alec Bauer continued to assemble his artillery. He took cover behind tall grass on a level patch of ground, his fingers brushing the barrel of his M2 Browning long-range gun before securing the base to a tripod. Alec then mounted the telescoping sight, and the modified M2 was ready for its ammunition.

With an air of calm, Alec unboxed the armor-piercing cartridges while surveying the distant hills for any movement before the sun arrived. He was tired from his earlier hike and his new position allowed him a long exhale while focusing on the calming rustle of nearby trees. He remembered how beautiful the hills of Grenada looked during the day, and it wouldn't be long before he could see its detail under the warm sun.

The receiver was loaded with its first round and snapped shut. Alec took a low stance adjacent to his gun, pulled a set of high power binoculars from his vest, and proceeded to scan the horizon line on the opposite side of the main road. Other than the odd flicker from a flashlight through foliage, the sniper team had little in the way of confirming their targets.

They could only wait.

The Ranger Battalion chosen for 'Operation Urgent Fury' was hand-picked by federal authorities for jungle warfare and tactical operations. Since last week's descent on the island, their mission was to maintain security at the airport and guard against hostile takeovers by the Cuban military. Several American medical students were stationed in the region and, as part of the campaign, their operations included getting those Americans home safely.

Waiting for sunrise was uneventful, though tense, a good twenty minutes passing with nothing more than the sound of crickets chirping in the vicinity and an easterly breeze gently rustling giant ferns.

The three-person sniper division communicated on their radios every few minutes by Morse code, the trio stretched too far apart along the hillside to run information to each other by foot.

As the dark distant sky turned a hazy white, small but important details on the target hillside took form, and were radioed back and forth.

The staff sergeant complied all recon and gave the next set of instructions via Morse.

Staff Sergeant: Bauer. Target location. 115813. Two Infantry

Bauer: -Copy.

Staff Sergeant: Miller. Target location. 115901. One Infantry

Miller: -Copy.

Both snipers accepted their orders and adjusted their guns' traverse and elevation angles to lock in their targets. Distance was calculated and the impeding east wind accounted for in the measurements.

Back in training, Alec impressed the commanding officer with his long-range precision. He quickly out ranged the formidable M21 rifle and was awarded his custom modified M2, which in his hands could nail targets nearly two thousand yards away. Alec was specifically chosen for his outstanding talent in gunnery, and on the hot humid hills of Grenada, he would not let his team down.

The Love That RemainsWhere stories live. Discover now