Monroe Doctrine: Volume III
As the dragon awoke...
...the world came together.
Would it be enough to stop China?
WWIII wasn't what any of the analysts expected. Across the globe, battles raged. Taiwan fell. Fighting continued in the Caribbean and South America. The Russian Far East had invaders, and nobody seemed able to stop this new Red Army.
With the world in chaos...
...it was hard to unravel the pieces.
Would one U.S. pilot give them hope?
On the first day of the war, his F-22 Raptor was shot down over Cuba. Lieutenant Colonel Ian "Racer" Ryan survived, escaped, and now had the Air Force's 6th generation fighter under him. Would it be enough to outsmart the Chinese AI defenses?
Was this the turning point...
...or the end?
You'll love this third book in The Monroe Doctrine series because the stakes have gotten higher than ever and it will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Get it now.
Release date: September 21, 2021
Publisher: Front Line Publishing Inc.
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Monroe Doctrine: Volume III
This Is Bananas
Montecristo National Park
Sergeant First Class Rusten Currie slapped the side of his neck a bit harder than he had intended to. Pulling his hand away, he saw some blood on his fingers. He wasn’t sure if it was his or from the damn mosquito. The little bastards were almost the size of a nickel.
“I told you to start taking those garlic pills,” said their medic, Mark Dawson, teasingly. “They work like magic at keeping those things away from you.”
“Yeah, and they keep the women away from you too,” Currie shot back angrily as he swatted at another one.
“Maybe that was the plan all along,” chided Dawson with a grin.
“Ha, is that what you were trying to do, Dawson? Keep all the girls to yourself?” Currie countered.
Dawson laughed as he shook his head. “I’m just trying to help you not become an all-you-can-eat buffet for the local bugs of Central America. You’re free to think what you will.”
Slapping yet another mosquito, Currie grudgingly said, “You were right, Dawson. I should have accepted your offer of those garlic pills.”
“What was that, Currie?” Dawson asked with a lifted eyebrow.
“You heard me. I’m not saying it again.”
Dawson laughed. “I just wanted to hear you say it one more time.”
“Say what one more time?” Currie pressed.
“That I was right.”
Currie looked at his friend and spat a stream of chewing tobacco on the dirt near his foot, shaking his head.
“Damn, you two whine and fight like a married couple,” Captain Thorne commented good-naturedly before turning serious again. “In five mikes, we’re going to move to Checkpoint Gamma and either clear it or confirm what’s there. Then we’ll stand by and see what headquarters wants us to do next.”
“You really think the Chinese built up some sort of massive military complex here like they did in Cuba?” Currie asked skeptically.
Thorne shrugged. “Ours is not to wonder why. Ours is but to do or die, gentlemen.”
“Why can’t we do normal Special Forces stuff—you know, like train up an insurgency either here or in Venezuela?” asked Currie. “I heard 1st Battalion’s fully deployed down in the Amazon part of Venezuela.”
“Yeah, and part of 2nd Battalion is here doing the same thing,” Dawson added angrily. “Yet our company continues to draw the short stick for this crappy reconnaissance work.”
“Hey, you all wanted to be part of a HALO team,” Captain Thorne chided. “Reconnaissance work is like our primary function. We go in behind enemy lines, find important and valuable targets and either blow them up or set them up to be blown up. Now stop your whining and get with the program. We’ve got two more grid squares to recce before we can get out of here. Let’s do our damn jobs and scoot.”
The guys nodded at the short rebuke from their team leader. Currie realized this was something they should be talking about back on base, not out here in the field. They had broken field decorum a bit with their whining. Chief Miller shot them both a dirty look, letting them know they’d get an earful from him when they got back to base.
Master Sergeant Altenburg had a slight grin on his face as he shook his head. Currie had just made E-7 when the war had broken out; he wanted to be a team sergeant like Dawson and lead his own team, but that wasn’t going to happen if he had to question everything. The fastest way to move up in the Army and Special Forces was to be damn good at your job and just do as you were told.
“All right, all right. I get it,” said Currie. “I’m shutting up now. Sorry—I just needed to vent and get it off my chest.” Currie finished off his protein bar and then buried the wrapper.
Four Hours Later
Dawson raised his hand, then lowered it as he took a knee. Currie could hear voices in the distance, speaking in Spanish and Chinese. He scurried up to Dawson, and Thorne made his way up to them as well.
“What do we have?” Currie whispered.
Dawson pointed off in the distance. “Looks like a joint patrol.” He paused. “Yeah, it’s a patrol. I count nine tangos.”
Thorne grunted at the assessment. “Good catch, Dawson. Let’s let them pass through the area and then look to backtrace where they may have come from. We need to see if they’re operating out of some sort of larger facility or just a small camp.”
“That’s a good copy, sir.” Dawson then pulled his map out and found their exact position. His finger traced the edge of the ridge they were skirting along. “I’m going to lead us along this section and see if there may be a camp in the base of this valley or along the top of the ridge section here. My gut says they’re operating in one of these two locations.”
Thorne nodded. “I like it. Let’s do it. Currie, I want you to scout ahead of the rest of us, but move parallel to us along the top of the ridge. Let’s minimize our coms—only make contact if you find something. We’ll do likewise. Got it?”
Currie smiled; he liked this plan. He was a bit of a lone wolf. “Got it. I’ll see you guys in a few hours.”
Two hours later, Currie paused just long enough to eat a bite of his protein bar. The climb up the ridge had really sapped the energy right out of him. Aside from the initial patrol they’d spotted earlier, they hadn’t seen any new groups of soldiers.
Moving through the jungle just below the top of the ridge, Currie did his best to listen for anything out of the ordinary.
Looking to his right, he saw a multicolored parrot gnawing on a banana. He smiled at the bird. It was beautiful and majestic. The red, blue, and green colors contrasted against the colors of the jungle in the most incredible way.
Suddenly, the bird stopped eating and took to the air. Currie instinctively dropped to the ground, ready to fire on whatever had scared it away.
Then he heard a soft, faint voice. Currie couldn’t tell if it was far away or just muffled by the jungle. Scanning the area around him, he thought he spotted something that didn’t belong.
Currie moved slowly to his right as he kept a handful of large trees and some thick bushes between him and the source of the noise. As he advanced, his eyes darted around, searching for what his ears told him was nothing good. His body snaked around a fallen log as he sought to go low, sensing he wasn’t alone out here. When he slithered through a large bush, his eyes caught a glimpse of an object that clearly wasn’t a natural part of the jungle.
Oh, wow. I need to call this in…
He depressed the talk button on his throat mic twice. The double chirp of the radio would let Thorne and the others know he needed to speak with them.
He waited for what felt like an eternity but was more likely sixty seconds. Time seemed to stop as he waited for the reply that would let him know they were ready to receive his message.
The longer he waited, the more concerned he became. Did something happen to them? Are they still all right?
Finally, he heard a two-chirp reply. Captain Thorne was ready.
Currie depressed the talk button. “Red Six, Red Two. I have a visual on a mobile radar truck, likely part of an HQ-9 system. Break. Along the top of the ridge appears to be a single-lane dirt road. Break. Do you want me to deploy my Black Hornet to get us an overview of the area?”
Currie waited for the reply, hoping he’d get the go-ahead to deploy the nanodrone—it was great for providing a quick overview of the battlespace without requiring him to leave his hide or overwatch position. The only drawback to the little drone was its battery life. Currie knew he had to get the images and situational awareness he wanted quickly and return home, or it could end up crashing because it ran out of juice. If the drone crashed in the wrong location, it could let an adversary know they were nearby.
“Red Two, that’s a good copy. Deploy the Hornet and get us some eyes on the ridge. Break. We’re deploying a Hornet down here. We think we’ve found a possible bunker complex. Over.”
“That’s a good copy. I’ll get it linked up to Red Five. Out.”
Currie pulled his patrol pack off his shoulders and grabbed for the Hornet’s case. He unzipped it and turned the device on. Once it was synced with his secured phone app, he searched for Red Five’s stealth phone. These were the newest piece of coms equipment the folks at DARPA had created for SOF units operating behind enemy lines when they needed to establish mobile hot spots without being detected. Moments after Currie activated the ghosted Bluetooth on the Hornet, the drone synced up with Red Five’s network. Captain Thorne and the rest of the team would now be able to see what he was seeing.
Currie pulled the visor control unit over his eyes and activated the Hornet. As he gave it a little bit of juice, the drone gained altitude. The camera captured a good view of the radar truck, which had been parked on the side of the trail. Currie also saw half a dozen Chinese soldiers milling about near it.
Currie panned the drone in a slow 360-degree circle, taking everything in. As he looked further down the road, he saw what he thought were a few barrels sticking out through some tall grass and jungle vines. Once he’d gotten a good overview of the area around him, he angled the drone to head toward the mystery objects.
When the little drone got within maybe fifty meters, Currie knew what he was looking at. It was a PGZ-09: a self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery truck. They were equipped with two 35-millimeter cannons and four fire-and-forget infrared homing missiles.
Crap! How many more of these do they have up here?
His earpiece chirped. “Red Two, see if there are any additional PGZs on the ridge. Then get us a view of the rest of the area. We need to see how many potential hostiles are up there. Make sure to tag the grids of these vehicles. Break. We’ll designate them for a follow-on strike once we’ve left the area.”
Currie smiled at the idea of raining steel down on these bastards. They’d spent the last four days traversing the jungle in search of the Chinese SAM bastions. It appeared they finally found one.
Fifteen minutes later, Currie had surveyed a good chunk of the ridge. He’d managed to find two more PGZs and probably three dozen Chinese soldiers. They had set up a number of machine-gun positions and fortified positions around the vehicles. He also found a second radar site, further down the trail. Now they just had to figure out where the command-and-control center was and the various missile pods. Chances were, they’d be somewhere within a two-to-five-kilometer radius of the radar sites.
Retrieving his microdrone, Currie swapped out the spent battery with a fresh one and put the unit away. If he needed to use it again, it would be ready.
“Red Six, Red Two. I’m going to start moving toward RP Beta. How copy?”
A second later, Currie received a single chirp, letting him know they’d heard him and he was good to head to the rendezvous point. Once they linked up, the captain would probably break them down into three- or four-man teams to finish scouting the area. They had a lot of ground to cover now that they knew the enemy base was nearby.
It took Currie nearly an hour to slither and skirt his way down the ridge to the floor of the valley below. Thirty minutes after that, he finally reached the rally point. As he approached it, he felt he was being watched. He got a single chirp in his earpiece, then a soft voice announced, “We’re here. I’m going to stand up, so don’t shoot me.” Currie recognized the voice of Dawson, his partner in crime.
Dawson stood. He was maybe twenty feet from him, and Currie hadn’t even seen him. Damn, he’s good at that, Currie thought.
Captain Thorne stood up not too far from Dawson and made his way toward them. He motioned for them to take a knee.
“Good job finding those radar units on the ridge,” said Thorne. “You were right, they probably have the other ridge over there fixed with a couple of them and probably another PGZ or two up there as well. That means the C&C truck and base are probably nearby as well. I’m going to phone in what we’ve found so far.
“Once we’ve phoned in, you and Dawson are going to come with me. We’re going to hike up to that hilltop over there. If you look at that group of trees right there”—Thorne pointed to a group of them that did seem a bit out of place—“I think those are cleverly disguised radio antennas. We’re going to check it out and see what we can find. It’s possible we stumbled upon something much larger than a SAM complex.”
Dawson shot Currie a worried look. He didn’t like this plan one bit.
“What about the rest of the team? Shouldn’t we try and stay together since we know we’re about to stumble into an enemy camp?” Dawson questioned.
Currie felt he should probably say something as well. “I think he’s right, sir. We know we’ve got hostiles all around us. We should stay together as a group in case we bump into something.”
Thorne shook his head. “No. Only the three of us are going to break off from the team to check that place out. The rest of the team will stick together and continue to search the area down here. Chief Miller and Master Sergeant Altenburg said they can handle it.”
Something about this didn’t feel right to Currie. But if Miller and Altenburg were cool with it, then who was he to speak against them? Those two guys had more time and experience in the SOF world than Currie and Dawson had combined. He’d defer to their judgment.
Taking a deep breath, Currie asked, “When do we leave?”
Lying with half his body tucked under a fallen log and the other half covered in leaves and underbrush, Currie tried to control his breathing and not make any unnecessary moves that might give away his position.
A tree branch snapped. Some leaves and underbrush got kicked. A boot stepped down just inches from Currie’s face. He tightened the grip on his Mark I trench knife.
The old trench knife was a personal weapon his great-grandfather had carried in World War I, when he’d been part of the 1st Army Division. Then his grandfather had carried it when he had been in the 101st Airborne Division in World War II. His dad had then carried it during his three tours in Special Forces in Vietnam and Grenada. Currie had carried it with him during his deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. That knife had been with a Currie in a war for more than a hundred years.
The boot didn’t move. It just stayed there for what felt like an eternity. Angling his head just slightly, Currie followed the boot of the man up to the rest of his body. He saw the man was wearing a woodland-color camouflage uniform. The soldier’s face was painted green with a few stripes of black and brown to further break up the contours of his face. The man was wearing body armor, fully equipped with quick-load magazine pouches, hand grenades and a first aid kit. His hands were tightly holding his CS/LR-17 assault rifle as his eyes darted from one position to another, searching for enemy soldiers that he didn’t realize were hiding in plain sight.
Ten minutes ago, they’d been using their microdrone to scout the area. That was when they’d spotted an enemy patrol moving in their direction. This wasn’t some sort of small patrol, either. There was close to a company-sized element, kicking bushes and scouring the area.
Then they’d spotted two more patrols: one on the opposite ridgeline, and one in the valley below, both doing the same thing. These large units weren’t out on a peaceful stroll through the jungle. They were searching for something. Presumably, they were searching for the Americans who had infiltrated their AOR.
Knowing that if they tried to withdraw from the area, they’d likely get spotted by the converging groups, they opted to try and hide in plain sight. Thorne sent a quick sitrep to their headquarters, letting them know they had found something substantial in this area. He also sent out an alert to Chief Miller in the valley below, telling the rest of the team that trouble was headed their way.
As Currie lay half under the fallen log with his trench knife in hand, he couldn’t help but wonder if the ChiComs had somehow detected their radio transmissions. Technically, that shouldn’t have been possible—not with the new high-tech coms units they were using. The encrypted microburst transmissions and frequency-hopping capability were supposed to allow them to stealthily communicate without being found. But as the Chinese soldier, standing inches from him, didn’t move, Currie couldn’t shake the sickening feeling that their coms weren’t as impervious to detection as they had all thought.
Leaves, twigs and underbrush crunched nearby. Then he heard a new voice in Spanish, which was a language Currie happened to be fluent in.
“Comrade, we are at the location you gave us. It is possible they have moved on since their last transmission?” the Spanish-speaking soldier asked.
The Chinese soldier replied in terrible Spanish. “If they left, where do you think they could have gone? Do we have some possible tracks to follow or an idea of where they may have headed?”
“Sí, señor. We found some tracks that look to be leading down to the valley below,” the Spanish-speaking soldier explained. “We believe they may have detected us and so they relocated down to the valley to try and evade us.”
Damn! If Chief Miller doesn’t get a move on, they may get trapped.
The Chinese soldier, who’d been standing practically on top of Currie, took off at a trot toward the valley floor.
When the patrol had left the area, Currie sat up and slowly raised his body up against a tree. He surveyed the area around him, looking for Thorne and Dawson. When he eventually spotted them, he quietly made his way over to them.
“Captain, we got a problem,” said Currie. “The guy in charge of that patrol practically stepped on me. I heard one of the Spanish-speaking soldiers tell him they were ‘at the location their radio transmission had originated from.’ I think these guys have a way of being able to track our coms. I’m also pretty sure they know exactly where the rest of the team is located, and they’re heading toward them right now.”
Thorne looked at him, perplexed. Currie understood. They hadn’t used their coms for very long; it was hard to fathom that the Chinese could have triangulated their positions, let alone done it that quickly.
“Get us your best guess on what our location is right now and where you think Chief Miller and the others are,” Thorne directed. “I’m going to see if I can’t get us some CAS. I think we’re about to get hit and hit hard.” Thorne pulled his patrol pack off his back and sat down against the base of a large tree.
Dawson took up a position observing the area around them. Currie got the captain the coordinates he was asking for. Then he got their little microdrone up and running. With the visor on and the controller in his right hand, Currie sent the drone down the ridge after the enemy soldiers who were trying to box their brothers in.
Currie could hear Thorne making contact with their higher-ups. He relayed what they had found and placed an immediate call in for help. Currie was doing his best not to eavesdrop, but it was hard. Thorne was having a heated debate with someone over what kind of help they could or would provide. He told them if they didn’t work on getting them something and arranging an extraction ASAP, chances were, they wouldn’t make it more than a few hours.
Currie finally caught up to the patrol. They weren’t exactly working hard to maintain their noise discipline. They appeared to be more interested in speed and reaching a specific destination than they were in getting there quietly.
Damn! They’ve probably figured out where the rest of our guys are.
“What do you see, Currie?” Thorne asked. He’d apparently finished his call.
“I think they found Miller and the others. These guys are hauling ass through the jungle. They aren’t concerned with being quiet. I think they’re trying to get in position before they spring some sort of ambush.”
Thorne cursed. “This is all about to go belly-up, isn’t it?”
Currie snorted at the assessment. “Yeah, I’d say we have a few minutes before contact will be made. Did you send a warning over to Miller and them? Let them know what’s coming their way?”
“Yeah, I told them to do their best to evade if they can, and if they can’t, then hunker down while I work on getting us some CAS,” Thorne explained, concern in his voice.
Dawson dropped to a knee next to them. “What’s the call, sir? Are we going to help them out, or what are we doing?”
Judging by the pause in his response, Currie figured the captain was calculating what they could do. Currie knew their friends were about to get hit if they didn’t do something, so he offered, “Sir, what if we cause a distraction? Maybe get them to reposition and come after us instead? The three of us could lead them further away from here and give Miller and the others a chance to escape.”
“That’s not a bad idea. What do you have in mind?” Thorne asked, almost relieved.
“We got one of those PGZs not far from us—just a couple hundred meters over there. What if we get close enough to use Dawson’s SMAW on it?” Currie offered. “If we hit that thing, you can bet they’re going to recall that unit that’s heading toward Miller to come find us. Even if we miss, they’ll send guys out to find us. They can’t let that thing get nailed.”
“It’s not a bad idea. But if we’re going to do this, we need to do it quick. Those guys are likely to be on Miller any minute now,” Dawson added.
Suddenly their radio chirped.
“Red Six, Red One. Contact imminent. Will do our best to E&E back to RP Zeta. How copy?”
“Damn it! We’re too late,” Dawson muttered.
Shaking his head, Thorne replied, “That’s a good copy, Red One. We’ve got some CAS roughly sixty mikes out. QRF is close to the same. We’ll meet you at RP Zeta. See you there.”
Thorne practically sank when the call ended. Currie could tell this decision was killing the man inside. No matter what he said or did, his team was about to make contact with the enemy, and he wouldn’t be there to lead them. The best he could do was try to get them some air support, in an area that was essentially a well-laid trap for fighters and helicopters.
“Screw it. We need to take that PGZ out now more than ever,” Dawson huffed angrily. “If we have some CAS inbound to the area, then we need to do our best to take some of those AA guns down or those flyboys are going to get smoked.” He unslung the SMAW from his back and started to get it ready.
“I agree, sir,” said Currie. “We need to head back up to the top of the ridge and take that bastard out. If we’re able to, we should also try and take those two radar trucks and the other PGZ. It’ll help the flyboys out.”
Thorne looked at Dawson and Currie. “Let’s do it!”
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