The communist threat is real…
…and the socialists at home are emboldened.
Can the President fight a war and a PR battle?
The Philippines must not fall. Despite the devastating loss of two aircraft carriers, the U.S. forces make a bold move. Will the Atlantic carrier group be enough? The formidable Chinese drones make this war unlike any fought in human history.
The Allies must hold their ground.
Can they uncover the Russian and Chinese plans in time?
How will India and Indonesia’s involvement change the math?
Is this democracy’s last stand?
If you enjoy naval battles filled with life and death decisions, you’ll be hooked from the start. This series just keeps getting better and better.
Get it now.
The Red Storm Series is best enjoyed when read in the correct order as each book builds on the previous work. Reading order:
Book 1: Battlefield Ukraine
Book 2: Battlefield Korea
Book 3: Battlefield Taiwan
Book 4: Battlefield Pacific
Book 5: Battlefield Russia
Book 6: Battlefield China
*When you buy a book written by Rosone and Watson, they have chosen to donate a portion of the proceeds to help support the following organizations: Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Operation Underground Railroad, and Charity: Water.
Release date: June 30, 2018
Publisher: Front Line Publishing
Print pages: 574
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Captain Jeff Richards, the captain of the USS Carl Vinson supercarrier, walked into the briefing room. He was surprised to see so many other carrier captains present, including the Secretary of the Navy, George Leahy, and to everyone’s complete shock, the President and the Secretary of Defense. There had been no mention of the SecDef or the President being at this meeting when it was hastily put together less than twenty-four hours ago. Richards had thought he was going to attend a strategy session—he had no idea the Commander-in-Chief would be here. It was extremely risky having the President visit Japan, considering the US naval base at Sasebo was well within the range of Chinese ballistic missiles, bombers, and aircraft.
“This must be a heck of a meeting if the President himself is attending with the Secretary of the Navy,” Richards thought as he walked over to the placard that had his name on it. He was seated almost directly across from the President, a true honor that was not lost on him.
Gates raised his hand, indicating that he wanted everyone to settle down. The chattering between the senior officers quickly subsided as they turned to look at their Commander-in-Chief.
The President surveyed the room, looking his captains in the eye and making a mental note of their names, faces and the carriers they commanded. His eyes then settled on Jeff. “Captain Richards,” he began, “I wanted to personally thank you for your actions during the opening day of the Korean War and the surprise attack by the Chinese. You handled yourself incredibly well, and the country owes you and your men a great debt. I wanted to personally inform you that you and the captain of the Reagan—rest his soul—will be awarded the Navy Cross.” This announcement drew a short round of applause.
Holding his hand up, the President continued, “Before you say anything else, the men and women of your ship and the Reagan are also going to be recognized for your heroic acts as well. America needs heroes right now. They need to know that we’re going to win this war, and right now, you guys are those heroes for the Navy.”
Richards didn’t know what to say. His face turned red. “I appreciate the honor, Mr. President, and I know my men will as well.”
Turning to face the rest of the ship captains, the President continued on. “This is a tough time we find ourselves in. But we will rise to the occasion and defeat our enemies. We didn’t want or seek out this war, but by God, we’re going to win and make sure a war like this never happens again.” Gates paused as he looked up at the ceiling for a second before returning his gaze to the military men and women who would be pivotal in defeating the Chinese.
“With the loss of the Reagan, the extensive damage the Vinson sustained, and the new Chinese plans for continued expansion fully revealed, it’s become imperative that we move our Atlantic Fleet carrier strike groups to the Pacific. It took us a month, but as you can see, we have the captains of the Eisenhower, Lincoln, and Ford carriers from the Atlantic with us. These three additional carriers, in addition to the Stennis, Nimitz, and Roosevelt, give us a total of six carriers in the Pacific for the first time. While I would like to have moved our remaining two carriers from the Atlantic, the SecDef and the Secretary here,” he said, nodding toward his colleagues, “convinced me that it would be best to leave them there to support our European operations.”
“Most of you aren’t aware of what I’m about to reveal to you, so this stays within this room,” the President asserted. “The CIA was able to snatch a high-value Chinese government official who, through interrogation, revealed to us the Chinese end state. Their goal is to secure large swaths of the Pacific islands and arm them with anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, making them nearly impossible to recapture without sustaining heavy losses. This will allow their ground forces to capture and hold the Philippines and Malaysia. This cannot be allowed to happen. With that said, I’m going to turn this meeting over to Secretary of Defense Jim Castle and let him explain to you our strategy for the Pacific.” He gestured for Castle to stand and begin his presentation.
The SecDef looked over the captains and admirals in the room with his stern gaze, seemingly piercing into their very souls. “Our first objective is to finish securing the Russian Far East. We need to neutralize that threat to our forces and Japan immediately. We cannot allow the Russians to carry out any sort of spoiler operations against our supply convoys or our oil infrastructure in Alaska. We also need to get our forces ready for the coming offensive against the Chinese mainland. However, we also cannot allow the Chinese to capture the Philippines or Malaysia. It’s bad enough that they conquered Taiwan; we cannot allow them to capture and fortify the rest of the South China Sea,” he said in his gruff and gravelly voice. When Castle spoke, he spoke with authority, conviction, and a sense of determination, and everyone knew that when he said something, the President fully backed him.
“In addition to the Atlantic carriers, I’ve spoken with Secretary of the Navy Joseph Leahy, and we’re going to move forward with the reactivation of the carriers Kitty Hawk and Enterprise from the reserve fleet. It’s going to be closer to summer before they’ll be operationally ready, but I’m confident the army of contractors and naval support personnel will do their best. We’ll keep them in the Atlantic for the time being and transfer our other two carriers there now to the Pacific, bringing the number of carriers we’ll have to work with to eight—more than enough to do the job when we add in the Japanese flattops,” Gates said to the surprised looks of those in the meeting.
Secretary Leahy chimed at this point, “In addition to the Kitty Hawk and Enterprise, we will now have all three of the Zumwalt DDGs in the Pacific. I’ve also spoken with the folks at Newport News, and the John F. Kennedy will be ready to sail by the end of summer, two years ahead of schedule,” he said, eliciting more smiles from the captains.
“Now that everyone has been brought up to speed, here’s what I want to happen,” said President Gates, leaning forward. “The Russian Far East must be secured within the next 90 days. I don’t care how, and I don’t care what ships you have to use to accomplish that goal, but I want it done ASAP. While that is happening, I want our submarine forces to begin attacking the PLA Navy in the South China Sea. I do not want the Philippines, Guam, or any other islands captured. Is that understood, gentlemen?”
Feeling like a fish out of water, Captain Richards meekly raised his hand to ask the obvious question on his mind. The President nodded for him to speak. “Sir, I’m just curious why I was invited to this meeting. My ship, the Vinson, is going to be in the shipyard for at least twelve months, if not longer, and that’s with a double work crew working around the clock,” Richards said, feeling a bit awkward.
Laughing, the President turned to the Secretary of the Navy. “You didn’t tell him yet?”
Secretary Leahy smiled as he replied, “We thought we’d leave him in the dark a bit longer before we broke the news.”
At this point, the other officers in the room were all grinning. Clearly, they were in on whatever had been discussed prior to Richards’ arrival at the meeting. Castle finally broke the pause. “You’re here, Captain Richards, because you’re taking over as the new Seventh Fleet Commander.”
The President and the SecDef had been known for promoting people well ahead of their peers since the start of the war. The SecDef had told the President that it was important for them to find and promote aggressive, out-of-the-box leaders, and they had consistently promoted those who fit the needs of the military. Even still, Richards was a bit shocked by the sudden announcement.
Castle continued, “Captain Richards, a couple of days ago, you officially made vice admiral. However, with Admiral Kinkaid dead and Admiral Lomas still recovering, we opted to go ahead and promote you two additional grades to take over as the Seventh Fleet Commander. You have the most experience in theater, and we’re going to need that experience if we’re to defeat the Chinese. When this meeting is over, I’ll leave you to confer with your ship captains here, and we’ll hold an official pinning ceremony later today before the President leaves for some other pressing matters.” Castle slid a set of vice admiral stars to him. The other captains in the room broke out in applause; they were glad to have someone in charge who had already fought the Chinese Navy and succeeded in defeating them.
The official meeting broke up a few minutes later once the SecDef had issued a few other orders and let everyone know the timeline for when he and the President wanted certain objectives to be completed. As the VIPs left the briefing room, all eyes turned to Vice Admiral Jeff Richards.
He cleared his throat. “Well, this promotion is a complete surprise to me,” Richards said candidly. “I had no idea they were going to place me in command of the fleet. I hope you’ll bear with me as I get up to speed on the disposition of our forces. What I can tell you from my own strike group’s experience is that the Chinese anti-ship missiles are exceptionally good—far better than our intelligence had thought at the beginning of the war. To our horror, they seem to have perfected the art of ‘the missile swarm’ by hitting us with land-based, sea-launch, and air-launched anti-ship missiles, all at the same time. Had our DDGs not swapped out their Tomahawk missiles for additional SM-2 and SM-3 missiles, I would probably not be standing here with you right now.”
He paused for a second, collecting his thoughts as he looked at the ship captains and three other admirals that would form the backbone of his strike group command. “This is going to be a missile war, which means we need to change our traditional tactics and approach to fleet defense. Looking at the timeline the SecDef and the President have given us, we do not have a lot of time to get ourselves ready. Effective at once, I want all DDGs and cruisers to swap out their Tomahawk cruise missiles for additional SM-2s and SM-3 antiair missiles.”
Richards turned to look at Admiral Shelley Cord, one of the strike group commanders from the Atlantic Fleet. “Admiral Cord, your strike group has two of the Zumwalt-class destroyers with you, correct?”
Rear Admiral Shelley Cord was the strike group commander for the USS Gerald Ford. The Ford was the newest class of supercarriers and was truly an amazing ship. As the flagship for the Navy, it was also heavily protected. When the Ford made its transit to the Pacific through Panama, it was met by both Zumwalt destroyers, which had been recently upgraded with the Navy’s newest weapon, the BAE systems railgun.
Admiral Cord smiled and nodded. “Yes, they’re both with us and fully updated. I’d caution you, though, against placing a lot of hope in this new weapon system. While it’s gone through extensive tests, it has never been used in combat like our other systems have,” she replied.
Noting the uncertainty in her voice, Richards responded, “That’s a good point, Admiral. We’ll have to take that into consideration in our ship deployment plan. That said, I do want to make sure this weapon system is used in the coming fight.”
Admiral Richards paused for a second, looking over the two admirals and the other captains in the room before he continued. He was a new admiral, and by all accounts, had been promoted over some of the very admirals he was now in charge of. This made for a few awkward moments in the briefing.
Richards knew he needed to bring them up to speed and show why he had been chosen to command the revitalized Seventh Fleet. He cleared his throat. “When the Chinese launched their missile swarm attack on us, most of our escort ships burned through their entire stock of SM-2s intercepting the first two waves of missiles. Shoot, my own ship, the Vinson, nearly ran out of Rolling Airframe and Sea Sparrow missiles by the time the battle was over. If these new rail guns can help cut down on the volume of missiles we’ll be facing, it may give our fleet the edge we need to survive the next battle. Mark my words, they’re going to throw a missile swarm at us like we’ve never seen once they catch a glimpse of our fleet—the possibility of crushing the US Navy once and for all will be too big of an opportunity for them to pass up. They will hit us with everything they have,” he concluded.
The other carrier commanders nodded in agreement with his assessment. The captains and admirals wanted payback, but they were also very concerned about losing a few more carriers. Having already lost two in this war, with a third heavily damaged, had caused a lot of the naval leadership and admirals to become very gun-shy in using these weapons of war. Richards hadn’t been jaded by the losses thus far; he wasn’t afraid to lose a few carriers in a battle if it meant destroying the Chinese Navy in the process.
The meeting continued for a little while longer as Admiral Richards took a bit of time to get to know each of the strike group commanders and ship captains before dismissing them for the day. While he had served with many of them in the past, he needed to gauge how aggressive they would be in the coming battle. He wanted to make sure they wouldn’t place the safety of the ship or strike group above accomplishing the mission. Whether or not they wanted to accept it, they were going to lose more ships and aircraft in the coming battle. They might even lose their carrier, and while he would do his best to make sure that didn’t happen, he needed to know that they were committed to winning, no matter the cost.
As he walked away from the meeting, he was feeling optimistic. He prepared talking points for the next day’s discussion, which would focus on how to accomplish the President’s charge to secure the Russian Far East while also keeping the PLA Navy from capturing the Philippines and keeping them away from Guam.
Four Seasons Hotel
Exiled Taiwanese Government Headquarters
President Hung was both surprised and excited to meet President Gates. She’d had no idea he was traveling to Japan to meet with his Pacific allies, but she was glad he was taking some time out of his busy schedule to meet specifically with her to discuss the future of Taiwan and China. Remembering what her minister of defense had said a few months back about the Americans looking at replacing the People’s Republic of China with Taiwan’s democratically elected government still sent shivers up her spine—a united China, after nearly 70 years of division, would be incredible.
One of her aides poked his head into the room. “President Gates’ security just arrived. He should be here momentarily,” he said. Several of the presidential Secret Service agents advanced toward her office. They walked in and quickly fanned out, looking over the room for any obvious signs of danger. One of the agents lifted his hands toward his mouth and spoke softly into the mic on his sleeve, presumably giving the all clear.
A minute later, President Gates arrived with his Secretary of Defense and two other aides. Gates walked up to President Hung and extended his hand. “It’s so good to see you, Madam President. I wish we’d had the chance to meet prior to this terrible war, and I truly wish there were more my nation could have done to help you,” he said with a deep look of sadness.
He gestured for them to move toward the two couches arranged on the side of her office. They both took seats on the same couch, at opposite ends. Gates paused for a moment before speaking. “I wanted to meet with you in person, Madam President, because I want to discuss the war and postwar plan for Taiwan and China.”
President Hung smiled, hoping what her minister of defense had said in the past was true. “Mr. President, thank you for meeting with me. I know you’re a busy man and your nation has suffered great loss. Please extend my deepest sympathies to the people of California. We were aghast when we heard a nuclear weapon had destroyed such an iconic American city.”
“Is that a tear I see?” she wondered as the President raised a finger to his right eye. She saw him take a deep breath and then slowly let it out, steeling himself.
“Thank you, President Hung, that means a lot,” he responded. “It was a terrible day in American history. Nearly a million people were killed or injured on that fateful day, and many millions more have been displaced from their homes, living in refugee camps. It’s going to take years to clean up the damage, but mark my words, we’ll rebuild. That city will be better than ever.” As he spoke, the conviction in his voice grew stronger and the determination showed in his eyes.
Shifting topics, the American president said, “I want to talk with you about the end state of this war. It has become clear that the current Chinese regime cannot be allowed to stay in place. This new version of techno-communism that is now blanketing social media and the internet isn’t just a threat to America, but to Western civilization. We cannot allow autocratic regimes like this to rule the world using twisted technology against its own citizens and those it hopes to subjugate. This horrible Big Brother lifestyle deprives people of free will and self-determination, monitoring every action through the use of network-connected devices. Their predictive artificial intelligence is used indiscriminately to determine who may pose a danger to the regime, and it is a threat to the very freedoms that are a part of our national identities. We cannot sit idly by and let this take root and spread across the globe. It needs to be nipped in the bud now.”
President Hung nodded in agreement. “The new Russian and Chinese propaganda campaign on social media is troubling, to say the least,” she replied.
The premise that the Chinese form of techno-communism would bring world peace and harmony was appealing to a lot of people, particularly the idealistic youth. The Chinese insisted that using these technological monitoring systems could end world hunger, provide universal education, and end wars by preventing them from even starting. The theory was beginning to take root in many countries around the world. Russian and Chinese propagandists were masterfully portraying the West as not just capitalism run amok, but a warmongering government ideology that preyed on the poor and underdeveloped nations of the world. Their ability to play the social and economic classes of the West against themselves was having the desired effect of splintering many of the Western nations’ populations against their government.
Leaning in, President Hung asked, “May I call you Patrick?”
“Yes, of course,” Gates replied. “So long as I can call you Hui-ju,” he said with a smile.
“I could not agree with you more about the dangers of this new propaganda campaign. It is a great danger that the world must unite and stand against. If the world falls to the Russian-Chinese alliance, it may never recover. People need to be free to choose what they want to believe and think. If a government takes that away from them, then we become nothing more than mindless bots living a life of little value and creativity. So, what is America’s plan to make sure this does not happen?” she asked. She was definitely trying to angle the conversation to bring the topic around to the unification of China.
Pat smiled. He saw what Hui-ju was trying to do. “Right to the point with you. I like that—a leader who knows what they want and moves decisively for it. Our goal in Asia isn’t just to defeat the People’s Republic of China, but to remove the communist regime altogether. We’re going to rebalance Asia and turn it back toward democracy. We want to ensure that communist China doesn’t have the ability to threaten world security again. Our goal is to replace President Xi with you, Madam President. We want to unify China under your leadership.”
She smiled. Now it wasn’t just a rumor.
He continued, “Now, that isn’t going to be an easy or quick goal to attain, and it’s going to cost the lives of many of my countrymen. When the PRC is defeated, we, the Allies, are going to divide China into governing sectors, just as the Allies did with Germany at the end of World War II. Your government will administer Beijing for several years while you get a government in place and prepare to take control of the country. The Allies will keep an occupation force that will work in conjunction with your government to ensure stability and security while your government begins to take root. Our goal is for you to hold elections sometime within the first five years of Chinese unification.”
“Our forces will continue to stay in place following that election to help ensure a peaceful transition and make sure any potential communist agitators aren’t able to interfere with the transition or attempt to seize power. My goal is to return full control of China to the duly elected government by the end of ten years. We’ll keep a much smaller advisory group and peacekeepers for additional ten years as needed to support the government, much like the Allies did in West Germany and Japan. Are these terms acceptable, Hui-ju?” asked Gates.
President Hung sat back on the couch, trying to temper her response so as not to appear overly joyful. While she didn’t like the idea of China being broken down into administrative zones by the Allies, she also recognized the need for it. Getting to the point that her government had the full support and backing of the people would take time.
“I can work with those terms, Patrick,” she responded. “I believe this is going to be the beginning of a great new friendship and relationship between our countries.”
“Excellent. What I’m going to need your help with is to work with members of my embassy staff from Beijing to begin crafting social media posts, policy positions and papers advocating for unification of China, but under your leadership. Our diplomats will work with you to help foster support among the Allied nations and garner acceptance for you as the rightful ruler of China,” Gates said. He signaled with his hands for the minister and secretary of defense to join the conversation.
Many additional details and coordination needed to be worked out, and they were very limited on time. Gates would be flying back to the US once he finished his next meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea. Both nations had been taking a terrible beating since the start of the war; however, they had also successfully mobilized their populations to support the war effort to defeat China.
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