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OPERATION Snake Bite ⚡️

Sweat poured down his face. He could still taste blood that had run into his mouth from the head wound he got from a round that split the outer skin of his forehead. The head bleeds a lot and looks much worse than it often is. Applying a compress and some quickclot seemed to stem the bleeding for now.

Two weeks into the field and the mission was getting harder with each passing day. Sleeping in the day and moving at night always took a little adjustment, but now the team was in the grove. As the smoke settled from the firefight that had just ended, everyone checked fingers, toes, buddies and ammo. Sgt. Salomon had taken rounds to the pelvis and was bleeding out. There was nothing anyone could do but give him a little more morphine in order to ease the pain as he died. The enemy dead numbered six with signs of several wounded being carried away.

Since the team had been ghosted it was time to move quickly and fade into the landscape. Contact with command would be made after movement. Then the mission status would be decided. Enemy contact at this stage was not good and it may have compromised the teams ability to grab or kill the high valued target.

It was dry and hot, unusual for this time of year in the Central American mountains. Because of this water sources had become the primary location to set up ambushes and observation posts. Help from the locals was near impossible as they feared backlash for cooperating with "the foreigners". Even though the team avoided contact with the locals, they still used the rivers and roads as reference points on the map. This of course is where people lived and build their hooches. It was also the best way to catch the rebel leader Sanchez.

Sanchez had been operating in these mountains bleeding the people for over a year. The rebels first thought that support from the Europeans would bring an infusion of money, and a change in the quality of life in the form of food and improved living conditions. They soon found that they would become the foot soldiers in an effort to expand communism in their homeland with little or no return to the people. The main draw to some new form of  government was that the the embedded and corrupt democratic government moved from one poorly administered power to another never really making a difference to the people.

The leader Sanchez had been raiding villages for the past year in an effort to build his army. Often he would torture or kill family members in the local villages if they resisted his demands. This method was successful in creating fear and recruiting hesitant soldiers. It also ensured that everyone knew dissenters would be dealt with immediately and harshly.

Sanchez quickly realized that the communists had a different agenda than making the country better for the people. The communists saw this land as a place they could use to threaten their great enemy the United States. Still he worked with them because they gave him power. And power was a prime motivator for Sanchez. Soon he had developed a reputation as a man who could get the job done and because of this the communists left him alone to build his insurgency. His twisted view of this power gave him free rain to crush the free will of the people in the mountains. His sadistic nature enjoyed this total power, and now his motives had nothing to do with ideology or new governments, just personal power and control over a part of a land where the people were killed or tortured if they fought back. He loved being invincible and forcing his will on these simple mountain people.

Captain Vogel was an idealistic young man who had enlisted in the Army to get away from the town he grew up in. In his gang infested city the only decent jobs were held by firemen or police, and the list to get those jobs was long. To Vogel the Army seemed to have everything a young man needed. You got fed, a place to sleep, and not only did they give you a gun, but they teach you how to use it and give your friends guns too, a welcome change from the streets of Los Angeles where he grew up.

After his first enlistment where he served with the 82nd Airborne he separated from active duty and went to college to attend ROTC. During the summer between his school year he went to Ranger school and found that he was cut out for bigger things. Working with small teams of elite soldiers became his key focus and soon he found himself in the active duty Army promotable to Captain attending Special Forces selection. He completed selection and ran a team for a couple years until he met a guy from the Other Government Agency (OGA), better known as the CIA. Vogal was offered a chance to run missions in places that people didn't talk about, and attempt to make a difference without many of the controls that were placed upon regular Army units.

After accepting this contract role and finishing his spook schools, he was given a mountain section of the same country where Sanchez had been operating. His roll with his team was to put down the rebellion using some of the local talent mixed with assets from the OGA.

Captain Vogel had been seeing first hand the devastation in the lives of the local villagers and was committed to take Sanchez and his hoods down. The nearly two-week mission now in progress was the result of several months of planning and intelligence gathering. The team had missed Sanchez at virtually every turn and was now on his heals when they got hit in their daytime hide.

The fight was fast but severe. Initially the lead elements of the rebels hit the team as it was circled up with fifty percent of the shooters online and the other fifty racked out on the ground. The first round was fired by the OGA teams Senior NCO Sergeant Salomon. After Salomon opened up the rebels tracked their initial bursts into Salomon’s position mortally wounding him. The rest of the team went into a mad minute by activating their claymore mines, dumping 40mm grenade rounds, and heavy machine gun fire into the two pronged attack. The mayhem lasted just over three minutes before the rebels were crushed. It was a text book cluster for the bad guys and a complete tragedy for the team in loosing Salomon.

Now that the team had relocated to a new hide it was time to establish contact with command.

RUPE

"copy... this is steel talon, report enemy contact, one friendly KIA, two wounded, enemy forces six KIA. We have broken contact and are at RON site GOLF."

There was silence for what seemed forever... "steel talon, steel talon... command... copy SIT REP. Be advised, we have confirmed movement near your POS (position), exercise extreme caution..." the radio squelched and went silent... "The twentieth century and COMMO still work... sometimes.

Exercise extreme caution... great idea! Vogel thought to himself evenly. Enemy activity near the Randevu Over Night (RON) location GOLF... not good. "Better pass the word he thought to himself..."

"Another night crapping in a baggie, Rupe said to himself..." The team was in a circle where each man could touch the one next to him on either side. When darkness sets in, operational discipline kicks into high gear. Proximity to one another changes and noise and light discipline is critical. Movement is limited to the area around your body and your biggest thrill is trying to swat mosquitos with your eyebrows, without moving any other part of your body.

Rupe had been with the team for about six months now and was generally respected by the men. He was raised in South Carolina in the back yard of the battle of Shilo. His family were farmers, and he had done everything he could to get out of the cotton picking lifestyle that went back three generations. After Sergeant Savage was killed he took over as the assistant team leader. Rupe was solid, even and very deadly. The men respected him, and it would be easy for them to follow Rupe as needed.

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