Captain Vincent Fascetta sat in his high backed chair and looked from Major Grungel to Norton, Friendly and Norman.
“There’s no doubt at all with this? A direct charge by protesters to the hospital main entrance?” Fascetta leaned forward to assimilate the answer.
“With extreme prejudice Captain.” Grungel looked at Norton.
“They’re going to attack us, sir.” Norton wanted the picture absolutely clear.
“Why?” Fascetta was dumbfounded. “To what purpose?”
“We don’t know but you can bet the press from the outside will be on their tail.” Norton groaned and tightened the buckle on his Santa suit.
“How many do we have to oppose them Curly?” Friendly folded his hands.
“About 40 including the Major and myself.”
“Okay you four. We need a plan and quickly. Come back here in 15-minutes.” Fascetta dismissed them.
Friendly approached Norman out in the hall. “This really is a problem. The air-evac is going to tie up the Medical Duty Crew.”
“I’m concerned about the additional fresh causalities we’re going to have,” Norman offered. Norman and Friendly went around the corner past the main entrance and into the ER.
“Paul, Ransom? You guys look ill.” Zettler said while she and Blebus stared at them.
Norman led them into the cast room and closed the door. He explained the pending activist assault.
“What are we going to do?” Blebus looked from the MDs to Zettler.
“We don’t know yet. We have to get back to Fascetta in 5-minutes with a suggestion–any suggestion. The press is going to have a field day.” Ransom Friendly looked at each face and focused on Norman.
“Paul, what do we tell the Exec?”
“You said the press will have field day?” Zettler looked at the MOOD and JMOOD. “Then let’s give it to them.”
They hadn’t expected anything from the most junior officer.
“What do you mean Minnie?” Norman stared at her.
“I mean, let’s give them a force to attack that will give the Press a loud and clear message. Get as many patients as you can in uniform and ring the front of the Hospital with several layers of them.”
“Patients?” Friendly raised his eyebrow.
“Put the wheelchairs and Nam returnees with casts in one line. Give them all weapons and let the Press absorb all they want.”
“Wait a minute.” Norman grabbed Zettler’s shoulder. “It’s brilliant. Not only are our frontlines in Vietnam laying their lives on the line so that activists can have the freedom to protest but even the wounded will still continue to protect the flag and all it stands for right here on American turf.”
“Weapons? They could kill some of the attackers.” Blebus began pacing in the small room.
“No bullets. Just rifles and bayonets–yes, it could turn the whole intent around.” Friendly brightened. “But will Curly Norton go for it.”
“Let’s find out. We have to get back to them right now.”
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