“Well, Sir,” said the soldier turning off the main highway onto a dirt road. “I figure the Pentagon wants to shake up the fleet out here in the Pacific, so they come up with this war game close to the holidays. I guess I resent having to be called up to be their targets for this little game when I could be home with my family. We’ve been told we’re playing the bad guys on this exercise. We’re to get our ass kicked. At least that’s the word we got from your Admiral Kingston to our Deputy Battalion Commander.”
“Corporal,” said the officer quietly sitting up, “I think you need to stay with me when I speak to the Echo Company commander. You should consider yourself an aide. Take notes for me and let me know how the men feel about things.”
“You mean spy on my friends, Sir?” came the indignant reply.
“No,” the officer responded. “I mean doing what you just did. Tell me how you and the men feel about what’s going on. If you’re not getting the truth about why this exercise was called, then neither are your officers. You’ve just been appointed to the staff of the man in charge of a renegade army whose sole mission in life is to give Admiral Richard Kingston heartburn.”
The corporal smiled to himself. He always thought the army was crazy, now he was sure of it. Here he was days before the Christmas holiday, running around playing soldier, and working for a sailor he was convinced was a nut case. The officer was quiet when they pulled up to a group of darkened tents on a knoll above the beach.
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