08 Kaneohe Bay Hawaii - Friday

Captured: Dreaming of home

© Copyright 2008 – 2009

Written by Banzai Ben



Chapter 8 – Sniper School Friday 07 September 2007


Khudabah, Pakistan – Evening of day nine


I feel like hell today. Those damned scorpions did a number on me. I’ve spent all day with the chills and nausea when I’m not passing out. The only good thing is, I guess I smell so bad and look so sick, the fuckers don’t want to come near me.


They feed me again tonight, and I have all the water I want. I guess they don't want me to die; at least not yet.


Only the thoughts of my Jens and determination to somehow escape and get back to her keep me alive . . .


Kaneohe Bay Hawaii – Friday Day Six


Ah, another day in paradise. O'dark thirty. I was wide awake with my arms around Jens, her back snuggled close to my front. I could tell by the way she was breathing that she was still asleep. It was a little embarrassing when I first woke up; I had my left hand on her breast. It sure did feel good and I wanted to leave it there but figured that I'd better move it before I got into trouble.


I’m amazed I didn't go crazy with all the changes in my life during those six days. Things had moved at an unbelievable speed. I’d shot the best group of my career, fallen in love with Jens, my new spotter, met the General and his wife, received their blessing, and gotten engaged to Jens.


If everything didn't feel so right, I’d have been worried, but this all felt so natural.... It felt as if I’d been waiting for it my whole life.


I’d never been happier.


Jens stirred, starting to wake, and I nibbled on her neck, “Good morning, my love. How did you sleep last night?”


“Mmmm, I like it when you nibble on my neck. How about if you nibble on these, too.” Jens moved my hand to her breast.


I moved my hand away. “Sorry, my dear. Those are off-limits for right now.”


“You're no fun,” she replied, pretending to pout.


“Well, if that's the case, I had better get up.” I started trying to get out of the bed.


Jens grabbed both my arms. “Oh, no, you don't! If I don't get all the ”benefits” yet, at least I want some good cuddling.”


I squeezed her tight. “How is this?”


“Much better,” she purred.


She turned towards me and I looked into her beautiful violet eyes, amazed that I was lucky enough to have found love with such a beautiful woman, and I kissed her lightly at first and then with greater passion.


When we finally broke the kiss, we were both breathing hard. “Wow,” Jens said. “That was better than a cup of coffee!”


“Are you ready to go kick DI Anderson's butt again today?” I asked.


“Oh, yeah.” Her eyes sparkled. “This is going to be so fun. let's get ready.” She jumped out of bed and headed towards her bathroom. Hmm, perhaps I’ve finally found a way to get her out of bed without a fight. I jumped up and headed into my bathroom.


Ten minutes later, I walked into the kitchen and Jens was hard at work making breakfast. I slipped up behind her.


“I hear you coming, so don't even try it, Mister,” Jens said. “It’ll be a cold day in hell when you can sneak up on me.” She turned around, and we shared a long embrace followed by an even longer kiss.


“What's for breakfast, my love?” I asked.


“I made us some hard-boiled eggs, sliced up some cheese and summer sausage . . . and of course, toast with honey. You do love your honey, don't you?” she asked, the corner of her mouth curling upward.


Ah, another variation on the honey joke from the other day. I played along. “Oh, yes, I love my honey . . . I love to nibble on it and feel the juices in my mouth as I swirl them around.”


It was Jens’s turn to be slack-jawed. She didn't know what to say, so she took my breath away with a hot, sensuous kiss. “Wow, I think I need to change my panties, you have me so hot and wet,” Jens breathed. “Maybe I’ll just go commando instead.” she winked. We both laughed and sat down for breakfast.


The day began with PT, as always, and Jens’s plan for the sniping exercise rematch against DI Anderson's platoon would take two hours to set it up.


We left the Humvee at home and ran to the gym to warm up our muscles. Friday so that meant the second workout for back, biceps and forearms, and as usual, we did five one-minute sets of each exercise with a one-minute aerobic component in between. Jens was really starting to get into “Ben's boot camp.” She even said she had some ideas to make it even better.


The first back exercise was the same as Tuesday, bent leg dead lifts. Nothing works better for the lower back. For the second one, we did bent-over rows with our heads on a table. To finish off the weighted part of the back exercises, we did bent-over dumbbell flies just like Tuesday.


To start the functional exercises that day, we did alternating one-arm pull ups. Next, we worked the horizontal ladder bars, and of course it degenerated into a chicken fight on the last set. I won by wrapping my legs around her and pulling her off the bars.


Jens had us do the “sun salutation” from yoga. She was surprised when I knew it without having to be coached. I guess she didn't know that my ex-girlfriend was into yoga, and she taught me about it at our apartment. I sure as hell wasn't going to tell Jens that's where I learned it; she was plenty sore already about my ex-girlfriend.


The climbing peg board completed the functional exercises.


Next, Jens coached us through the three warrior asanas from yoga.


For the biceps we did two exercises with dumbbells: single-arm concentration curls, and standing hammer curls. I did finger pushups for our forearm exercises, and Jens did the mop-handle weight exercise from Tuesday.


Jens wanted to finish off with Tai Chi, but I vetoed it and started teaching her Capoeira. She loved it and did very well with the first few movements.


“How was your workout today, my love? Are you as sore as last Tuesday?” I asked her.


“I really like Bens' boot camp, but I like Ben and Jens's boot camp like we did today better,” she answered.


“I liked the changes that you made. I noticed they were more stretching and more CQC moves. The kettlebells were a great surprise. I want to do more with them.” I tossed her a towel.


“I’d like to start adding in some Semper Fu weapons work in the evening. You do know how to use a katana, don't you?” she asked.


“You caught me. How’d you know that I don't practice with weapons much?” I replied.


“I read up on Capoeira since I saw you use it the other day. It's the best hand-to-hand combat style, but it has an almost total lack of weapon usage. If you’re going to be my Marine warrior, you need to learn how to kill as well with weapons as you can with your hands. Besides, I can't wait to beat your butt with a practice katana.” She smiled, but her eyes told me she was serious.


“Damn, woman. Won’t you ever stop analyzing me and trying to make me better?”


“Nope, never. Not when it could mean the difference between life and death for you. I told you I want to grow old with you and have lots of babies with you. The better warrior you are, the more likely that you’ll grant me my wishes,” she said with her eyes twinkling. “Let's get moving. We have a tactical plan to put into place.”


We jogged home, and Jens made us a bowls of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, excellent as always. I thanked her multiple times and started to clean up, but she stopped me with a hand on mine.


“My dear, let me do that. You can start loading the gear in the Humvee,” Jens said.


We had a crapload of gear this time – two full Alice packs each – but it was all approved under the rules of engagement. Before, when I’d done knife-only exercises, my attitude had been that I was going to die, so just ”kill” as many people I could before I got killed; and that's exactly what happened to me. Other than our win yesterday I’d never known of another win. We had all felt we were basically cannon fodder. Jens had changed my attitude about this with our win yesterday and with the tactical plan for today. Yesterday had been a relatively easy win for us; today was going to be devastating and even easier. After seeing what Jens had come up with, I was sure happy that she was on my side, and I made a promise to myself never to get her pissed at me.


Jens drove to the exercise area again. “Close your eyes, honey, and visualize our plan. It's imperative that you remember everything about it so you don't fuck up. Let me know if you have any questions.” We pulled into the training area at 1145. The exercise was scheduled to start at 1400. Jens had Major Lapworth check all our gear so that it was approved.


“Son of a bitch,” Major Lapworth shook his head. “I’ve a good idea of what you are doing with all this gear. I’m going to lose so much money; I bet you’d lose today.”


He didn't know the half of it; this was going to be a slaughter. “Shit, after yesterday, anyone would be a fool to bet against Jens,” I answered.


Major Lapworth replied, “It was hard to find people to take bets that you would win today. The only one I could find was the bartender at the NCO club. I bet he has fifteen thousand dollars in bets for you two winning. He’s going to be rich tonight.”


“Actually it's closer to sixteen thousand five hundred,” I corrected, “And his cut is ten percent.”


Jens gave me a shocked look. “You bet that much money on us?”


“Of course, my love; there’s no way that your plan is going to fail. You know how it is – Marines always want to bet on something like this, and no one was willing to bet that we would win. Not two days in a row. After you came up with the tactical plan, I knew we would win. While you were in the bathroom, I called the bartender and told him to take all bets up to thirty-thousand dollars with even money odds. Once word got out, they were having a hard time keeping up with the bets.”


Jens hugged me. “I can't believe that you trust me that much.”


I held her there. “Why not? I trust you with my life. I forgot to tell you, I'm giving you all the money from the bets, you did all the work and you deserve it.”


She started to argue with me, so I whispered in her ear, “Think of all the sexy negligees you can buy with it.”


She blushed. “We need to get moving or our plan will fail.”


We finished with ten minutes to spare and walked out the entrance to say our hellos to DI Anderson and the platoon. They looked really serious today.


Jens reached into her pocket and pulled out another thong, twirling it around her finger. “Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in. So, DI Anderson, how about another little bet today? I still have my thong and that picture. You must have a new Smoky Bear hat by now.” She laughed.


“I should, Jens, but I already have a big bet with the bartender at the NCO club. That fool was taking even money saying that you two were going to win. Even if yesterday wasn't a fluke, we’re ready for you today, and it won't happen again,” answered DI Anderson.


“A thousand dollars is a lot of money to lose.” I said looking at DI Anderson.


He stared at me, and his eyes narrowed. “How do you know how much I bet?”


“I heard at the NCO club last night no one would bet that we would win. After Jens came up with our tactical plan, I called the bartender and told them I’d cover all bets up to thirty-thousand dollars. It's a shame that we could only get about sixteen five in bets.” I replied.


I could tell he was shaken, but didn't show it to his troops, like a good drill instructor.


Jens turned to Major Lapworth. “We only need a ten-minute head start today. We’re taking off now; send in the cannon fodder anytime after ten minutes.” The game was on.


We sat up in the trees in our ghillie suits and watched the carnage unfold.


The first thing we did was tape down the transmit key on our tactical radio. This jammed the platoon’s tactical communications. They would now have to communicate by shouting to each other.


The platoon was being much more cautious, but not cautious enough. The lead scout wasn't paying attention and triggered our first trap; it was a 'swinging spiked log’ that took out the middle five people in the platoon, including DI Anderson. Jens was so excited, she could hardly stay quiet; she’d wanted to take out DI Anderson first and had noticed he was always in the same general area of the platoon. There was no hope now for the platoon; they didn't have enough experience to deal with all the other traps.


The whole training area was filled with simulations of different types of natural booby traps. There were so many that I had trouble remembering where they all were. That’s why Jens had told me earlier not to 'fuck up.' Nothing is worse than forgetting where your booby trap is and getting killed by it. Jens had a vast knowledge of booby traps from all of her studies and put it to good use. Her tactical plan had us sitting up in the trees all day watching the traps do the work for us.


The platoon continued on down the trail, but the lead scout was paying much more attention. He found our next trap,

made sure the rest of the platoon came up and saw it, started around the trap on the side of the trail, and walked right into a punji pit. When he hit the bottom, it triggered the next trap, a swinging branch with spikes. Because the troops were all bunched up, it took out five. Fifteen minutes into the exercise and the platoon was down to four.


The other four decided they’d had enough of the trail to bushwhack it. That was the best decision anyone had made all day. They made it to the lake and spent about five minutes looking around. Finally one of them saw a snorkel, and they all charged into the water shooing at it. Of course there was another trap under the water, and it took out the last four, and the exercise was over. Jens’s plan had made it too easy; we didn't even have to pull our knives.


We released the key on the radio and reported back to Major Lapworth that the exercise was over because the platoon was dead, and that we would be back to the staging area after we picked up all the booby traps.


Brigadier General Thompson got on the radio. “Well done, you two. That was an excellent training exercise. You know I made about fifteen thousand dollars today betting on you two. Please leave all the booby traps in place and reset the ones that have been tripped. I would like to send the rest of the platoons in here for training.”


“Yes, Sir. We will be to the staging area in about fifteen minutes,” I answered.


Jens and I dropped out of the tree and she ran over, hugged me tight, and gave me one of her smoldering kisses, “That was better than watching it on the computer. Did you see how the platoon panicked when they lost DI Anderson? They really need to be trained better. They only hit four of our thirty traps. I wonder how many troops we could have taken out if the exercise continued.”


“Would you like to find out, my love?” I asked.


“Hell, yes, I would. I was upset that we did all that work and it was over so fast,” She replied.


I called Brigadier General Thompson. “Sir, we were thinking that if you gave us fifteen minutes to reset the traps that have been triggered, we would like to observe the rest of the platoons performance in the training area.”


“Excellent idea, Sergeant Major Blaine. Some of my staff and I want to observe the exercise. We want to take notes.” The Brigadier General replied.


 “Yes, Sir. That would be an excellent idea. Please don't let come in yet until I send Jens to come and lead you. Otherwise you'll 'die.'”


I went and reset the traps while Jens escorted the brass to our position. It took awhile longer than we thought because even though she told them, to step only where she stepped and touch only what she touched, some of the officers didn't listen and got “killed.” So, she had to reset those traps. I heard her talking to them as they approached.


“We have thirty traps in here, and each of them is unique. It took Ben and me two hours to build them all. They’re all done with natural forest products, so anyone could build them.”


With some pushing and shoving, we were able to get all the brass up in the tree with us. All the platoons had been assembled and were ready to try to pass Jens’s gauntlet of traps. They all failed, with the very first trap being the most successful.


Jens explained, “The first trap is the most successful because the troops have just gotten into the training area and they don't have their combat face on yet. That’s a huge tactical mistake. Whenever you walk onto a battle field you need to be ready to fight the minute your foot hits the ground.”


As each troop died, we reset the traps and went back to the brass. Jens kept up their education, telling them each tactical mistake the troops made. One major tried to tell her she was wrong, Brigadier General Thompson looked over at him and told him to, “Shut your damn pie-hole and learn something.”


When all the new platoons were done, Brigadier General Thompson received a call on the radio from a fully seasoned Recon platoon. They had heard of our little exercise and wanted to try it for themselves. Jens and I took about fifteen minutes to make sure that there wasn't any sign left of the traps, and the brigadier general told them to come on in.


The difference was immediately evident; they were on their game the minute they came into the exercise area, so the first trap didn't get anyone, but attrition took its toll. Finally, two Recons were left and we were out of traps.


I looked over at Jens and smiled. “In for a penny?”


She replied, “In for a pound,” and we slipped out of the tree, drawing our Ka-Bars. It was Recon against Recon, knife against M4. We would have to be very good and a little lucky to win this exchange.


Jens whispered to me, “I have a plan; here it is.” She told me what she had in mind.


“That is brilliant. They won't know what hit them,” I replied, and we moved off to implement her plan.


I hid beside the trail in my ghillie suit, and Jens said, “Damn. That's so good, I can't even see you.”


Then she sat down in the middle of the trail by the fake punji pit, took off her helmet, shook out her hair, and started shouting.


“Help! Help me, please. I've hurt my ankle. Hello? is anyone here that can help me?” She kept up her wailing, and, damn, her acting was good. She almost made me believe that she was hurt.


Sure enough, it didn't take long until she attracted the last two Recons. They saw her sitting there, lowered their M4’s, and walked right up to her with their backs towards me. I rose up, smacked them both twice with my knife, and they were “dead.”


Jens jumped up gave them one of her huge smiles and said, “Thanks, boys. That was our last trap.” Then she walked over to me and gave me a big hug and kiss. The last two Recons were still speechless.


They looked at me and one said, “Shit. I can't believe we fell for that. We acted just like green recruits. Damn. Killed with a knife. At least it was Banzai Ben that killed us.”


I had my arm around Jens shoulder, “Actually all I did was touch you twice with my knife. My spotter, Sergeant Jennifer Donaldson, who is also my fiancée, was the one who killed you. She designed this hell-hole of booby traps. You guys were good – you had survived all thirty of the traps – but you couldn't resist Jens, the thirty-first trap. But don't feel bad, she even trapped me.” We all started laughing and walked back to get the brigadier general and the rest of the brass out of the trees.


It was getting late and Jens and I were both drained after all the adrenaline rush of the day.


As we were walking out Brigadier General Thompson said, “That was one of the best exercises I have ever observed, but it was very troubling seeing how poorly we performed against it. Shit, even the Recons all died in the end. If this would have been real we would have lost a lot of good men.


“Sergeant Donaldson, I'm wondering if you could prepare a detailed report on your observations with recommendations on how to train to prevent this from happening.”


The mouthy major from earlier moved up beside her and said, “I would be glad to help you,” and tried to take her hand.


Brigadier General Thompson hauled off and decked the Major knocking him on his ass. It was a good thing he did, because I was getting ready to gut the bastard. The general stood over him. “Ever since you came here, you've been nothing but a pain in the ass to me. Now you make sexual advances to General Donaldson's daughter right in front of her fiancé. You're lucky I knocked you on your ass first, because Banzai Ben was getting ready to kill you.


The major looked over and saw me with a real Ka-Bar in my hands and deadly intent. He went really pale.


Brigadier General Thompson continued. “I'm calling the general tonight and you’re getting reassigned to Thule, Greenland. Get the hell off my base.” We walked off and left the major sitting there.


Brigadier General Thompson was really pissed. “Damn, I need a drink. It's assholes like that that ruin the Corps. Jens and Ben, I am sorry for what that idiot did. Ben, I can see that you’re still really pissed–”


Yeah, pissed enough to find him and cut his balls off.


“–But don't do anything stupid that you’ll regret later. Let me take care of him.”


Jens took my hand and whispered in my ear, “Daddy will bust his balls for that. I know you want to protect me, but Daddy will make the major's life a living hell. Please don't touch him.”


I needed to do something with my anger, so I took my Ka-Bar and threw it at a tree about twenty feet away. It zinged when I threw it and thunked when it hit, burying itself half way into the tree. Everyone's mouth dropped open.


“That was just a lucky throw,” I said. It wasn't really; I’m very good at throwing knives because I started doing it when I was a little boy. I went over to the tree and tried to pull it out ... and I couldn't. “Shit. That was my favorite knife,” I said, and we all laughed.


It was late. Brigadier General Thompson said his goodbyes. He asked us to show a couple Marines all the traps and how to reset them. He was so pissed, none of the platoons were going to get weekend passes; they were going to learn how to keep from being killed by booby traps.


I walked Jens to the Humvee and this time opened the door for her. “Thank you, my big, strong Marine. You treat me so well.” I bent over and kissed her. “You know, it's late tonight. I know we ate at the NCO club last night, but would you mind eating there again tonight?”


“I would love to, but only if you will dance at least three dances with me tonight,” Jens answered.


We drove home, got cleaned up, and headed over to the NCO club. It was much more subdued tonight – quite empty for a Friday night. I walked over to the bartender and he handed me a big wad of bills.


He whistled. “Damn, did you make a killing.”


I counted off two grand and handed it to him as a bonus, and gave the rest to Jens.


She gave me a dirty look. “We should have made more, but Brigadier General Thompson was covering bets for us too, he made another fifteen grand.”


The bartender replied. “Thanks. It was fun watching everyone come in and pay up. Let me know when you're doing something like this again, because I want a piece of the action.”


“It seems sort of dead in here tonight, what happened?” I asked.


The bartender replied, “Seems like the old man has a bug up his ass and all the base is going to be doing your booby trap course all weekend. I guess you two are the only ones that are exempt from it. Is it true what I heard? I heard that even if you know where the traps are it's still almost impossible to get through them.”


“We took out a hardened Recon platoon on Jens's course today,” I bragged.


“Yeah, I heard something about that. I guess two were left and Jens pretended to be hurt. They walked right up to her, and you knifed both of them. Damn, that took some balls.


“I guess they’re going though the course tomorrow, too.”


“Come on, honey,” Jens said, “Let's dance and then eat and then dance some more. But I’m too tired for the Lambada tonight. I just want to be held by you.”


I plugged a quarter in the juke box, punched the buttons, and danced with my Jens. After the song, I ordered Jens a nice steak in celebration of our victory.


“You seem a little sad tonight, my love. What’s wrong?”


“I feel bad that the whole base is in trouble because of our booby traps,” she answered.


I kissed her hand. “My fiancée, today you’ve saved people's lives. Because of the training they’ve already received and will receive from your traps, they now stand a better chance of surviving a deployment," I reminded her.


She sparked right up when she heard that. In fact, she became as animated talking to me about the traps and all the fun that she’d had as she had been when we went to dinner with her parents.


“My love, I was so worried when I was the bait for the last trap we used on the Recons,” she confided. “I thought for sure they would just come up and shoot me, but I figured if they did, you could still knife them.”


I shook my head, chuckling. “My love, I had no doubt at all that they would react exactly as they did, otherwise you wouldn't have been the bait. Men always want to rescue damsels in distress. I tell you what though: that platoon will never fall for that trick again. I fell for it once myself in Iraq, and it almost cost me my life. I wouldn't have fallen for it today because of that experience,” I replied.


We danced three more dances and headed back to the house. When we got there, we had a note from Brigadier General Thompson:


”Ben and Jens,


You did an incredible job today. Your training is progressing faster than we anticipated. Here’s a two-day pass. Take the weekend off and come back ready to work hard on Monday. Just make sure before you go you to leave some instructions on how to reset the traps.”


Jens started jumping up and down like a little girl. “Goody, goody, goody! We can get away for the weekend and be just by ourselves. I– I– I– don't know what to do first.”


“I do,” I said. “Come here and hug me and kiss me.” She leaped into my arms and smothered me with kisses. “First, we’re going to print off the map of all the traps so we don't have to do it in the morning,” I told her, she kissed me some more. “Then you and I are going to sleep. We’re both tired, and we are running on nervous energy (more kisses). Since we have a weekend pass in Hawaii, we’re not doing PT tomorrow morning (even more kisses). We’ll wake up and pack and then head over to the training course and show them how to reset the traps (she faked a pout). Then you and I are running away for the rest of the weekend (a huge hug and a bunch of kisses).”


I carried her into the extra bedroom and she sat down in the chair and printed the map.


Then I carried her into her bedroom and said, “I'm heading to my bathroom to get ready for bed. Last one in bed is a rotten egg.”


The race was on. By the time I made it into the bed, she was waiting for me. “I won. What’s my prize?”


“How about a goodnight kiss,” I suggested.


“I was thinking more like a dance. How about the horizontal tango,” she replied with a throaty laugh.


“Sorry, my love, but not tonight; I have a headache,” I laughed, then jumped into bed with her. She tried to pin me, I wriggled out of it, and the match was on.


We wrestled for awhile, laughing and kissing each other, but eventually we wore ourselves out and drifted off to sleep.