Line in the Valley, chapter 1

22Mar13

I’ve decided to post the first chapter of book 3 in my series. It’s titled Line in the Valley, and is about Jerry Nunez’s unit fighting a cartel incursion on the Texas border. The Amazon judges read this and decided it blows, so I’d like to hear what you guys think.

Links to all other chapters and excerpts from Line in the Valley are below:

https://chrishernandezauthor.com/2013/04/05/line-in-the-valley-chapter-2/

https://chrishernandezauthor.com/2013/04/08/line-in-the-valley-chapter-3/

https://chrishernandezauthor.com/2013/04/18/line-in-the-valley-chapter-4/

https://chrishernandezauthor.com/2013/05/13/line-in-the-valley-chapter-5/

https://chrishernandezauthor.com/2013/06/10/line-in-the-valley-part-of-chapter-6/

Please drop critiques on me. Don’t be gentle. It’s not my first time.

Thanks and hope you enjoy it.

——————————————————————

Line in the Valley
Chapter 1

Carlos Ramirez’s phone rang in his pocket, rousing him from a half sleep, half pleasant buzz. He put his beer down, lifted himself halfway off his recliner, reached past belly fat and dug his phone out. The caller ID showed it was his coworker and across the street neighbor, Andy Carter. Carlos slurred a greeting.

“Hey Andy, what’s up? Why you bothering me now, when you know by this time every night I’m into my tenth beer?”

Carlos’ wife gave him a dirty look from the kitchen as she washed dishes. She had complained about his drinking for years and threatened to divorce him more than once, to no avail. She was Mexican, devoutly Catholic and wouldn’t want to be stuck taking care of their kids alone. He knew she would never leave him.

“Sober up, pendejo,” Andy said. “You remember that little shithead Antonio Guevara you arrested last week? He’s walking around by the corner, next to the Melendez’s. He’s been looking toward your house.”

“Shit,” Carlos responded. “That little punk needs his ass kicked. Again. You see any of his little gangster friends with him?”

Nadie mas, hermano,” Andy answered. He was white, but like most of the white people in Arriago and all the white cops, he spoke fluent Tex-Mex Spanish. “Nobody but him. He’s been walking from the corner toward your house and back, talking on a cell phone.”

“A cell phone? Who did he steal that from? When I arrested him he didn’t have a phone, and he gave me his house number to write on the blotter. That little shit can’t afford a cell phone.”

“He must have burglarized another car, or maybe one of his gangster homies gave it to him,” Andy said. “Who gives a fuck why he has a phone? I didn’t call to talk about his phone, I called to tell you he was outside in case you want Jesse to run him off.”

Carlos took another swallow from his beer. “Nah, I won’t bother Jesse for this. He’s the only one on duty tonight, he’s probably busy. I’ll go outside and run Antonio off myself. He’ll probably piss his pants and take off as soon as he sees me. And if he doesn’t, I’ll kick the shit out of him again.”

Andale Carlos, that’s what he needs. Call me if you want me to come outside and videotape it.”

“Go to sleep, hermano. Thanks for the call.”

Hasta luego.

Andy hung up, and Carlos struggled out of his chair. He went to his room and pulled on a t-shirt, then grabbed the flashlight and pepper spray off the duty belt hanging on his bedpost. He thought about it, then went to his closet and threw a .38 snubnose into a pocket. He doubted he’d need the gun for Antonio, but you never knew how stupid a wannabe gangster could be.

Antonio Guevara was the seventh grade, fourteen-year-old head of Los Nortenos, a middle school “gang” made up mostly of eleven to thirteen year old aspiring thugs who desperately wanted attention. Since annointing themselves gangsters, they had been trying like hell to make a name for themselves in the tiny Texas border town of Arriago. Being the oldest, Antonio naturally fancied himself the leader. He and his flock, all eight of them, had been making themselves royal pains in the asses to the town’s 2,400 residents. They had spent the last month spray painting wooden fences with their made-up gang symbol, bringing beer to school in backpacks, beating up terrified ten-year-olds and even talking trash to police every time they saw a passing patrol car. Arriago had real gangsters, but they tried to keep a low profile. The Nortenos wanted everyone to know who they were.

Carlos had caught Antonio breaking into an old woman’s car the previous week, and Antonio bowed up to fight. Carlos convinced Antonio that he didn’t really want to fight a cop after all. Antonio hadn’t needed any medical attention afterward, but Carlos knew he would feel the asskicking for a few days.

Carlos walked toward the front door, past his sons playing Xbox in their bedroom, and told his wife, “I’m going outside to handle something, I’ll be back in a minute.” She asked what he was talking about and he ignored the question, walked out the front door and turned toward the corner, two houses away.

He didn’t see anything at first. His neighborhood was poor and overgrown with brush, especially on the corner where Antonio was supposed to be. Then, in the pale light of a barely working street lamp, he made out the baggy, rumpled outline of Antonio, standing half-hidden behind a bush.

“Antonio!” Carlos yelled. “You don’t live here! What you want, boy? Didn’t you get enough last time I arrested you?”

Antonio stepped out from behind the bush. Carlos saw that he had a cell phone to his ear. Carlos walked toward him fast, calling out, “Hey, I’m talking to you! What you doing here, pendejo?

Antonio yelled back, “Fuck you, lambiache!” and spoke into the phone. He didn’t back away.

Antonio was a punk and a coward. He shouldn’t stand his ground. Surprised, Carlos yelled back, “Ass kisser? Boy, you better run, because I’m about to beat you to death!” He quickened his pace, ready to whip Antonio’s ass again.

Before he made it out of his front yard the sound of racing engines came from around the corner. Carlos stopped, unsure what to make of it. He didn’t see light from headlights, he just heard engines. Antonio looked toward the sound and didn’t move. Carlos heard him say, “Aqui, aqui!” Right here, right here.

Two black Ford Explorers raced into view, screeched past Antonio and made the turn toward Carlos. Their lights were off. The lead Explorer covered the distance to Carlos’ house in two seconds and slid to a stop. The brake lights didn’t come on. The second Explorer skidded to a stop in front of Andy’s house. That one didn’t have brake lights either.

Carlos stepped back, turned on his flashlight and pointed it toward the Explorer in front of his house. The SUV’s doors flew open. Two men in ski masks jumped out, dressed in all black with AK-47 rifles, body armor and tactical vests. Carlos turned his light to the man who had come out of the back seat. The man shifted his body so that his chest faced Carlos, and raised his AK. He moved like a soldier, his actions quick and efficient.

Carlos took another step back. What the fuck is going on? Behind him he heard his front door swing open. He turned to see his wife standing at the front step. He looked back as two more men with rifles and gear ran toward his house.

The impulse to react finally worked its way through the alcohol. Carlos jammed his hand into his pocket and grabbed his pistol. Before he was able to yank his weapon free the man pointing the AK at him pulled the trigger one time.

A white-orange flash exploded from the rifle’s muzzle. The bullet hit Carlos to the right of his sternum, punched straight through and exited his back. His vision went grey. He dropped flat onto his back, struggling to breathe. He heard his wife scream “Dios mio!”, then more shots. The scream stopped, but was replaced by shrieks from his sons’ room. He turned his head and could just make out another man in black rushing through the door. Down the street he heard more shots, more screams. Andy’s screams.

He looked up. Antonio stood over him, flashed a gang sign and said, “See that, bitch? See what happens when you mess with Los Nortenos? Never fuck with me, bitch.”

Carlos couldn’t process this. His sons’ screams drowned in automatic gunfire. Slow, painful recognition worked through the haze of pain and alcohol. His family had just been murdered. He had just been murdered. This couldn’t be the work of Antonio and his band of preteen shitheads. They couldn’t do this. It didn’t make sense.

Antonio kicked him in the groin. Carlos’ body rocked from the blow, his blurred vision bounced, but he couldn’t feel the impact. He heard feminine screaming and could just discern Andy’s teenage daughter running down the street. Gunfire sounded, the scream disappeared as if it had never been there. Carlos saw the blurry, ghostlike image of the girl slam facedown to the pavement. He heard laughter and shouted comments in Spanish.

Carlos closed his eyes and tried to breathe. When he opened his eyes he barely saw the man standing over him holding an AK to his face. He heard Antonio’s voice, but couldn’t make out the words. He croaked, “Why, Antonio? Why?”

Antonio laughed. The man next to him said in Spanish, “Muevete atras.” Move back. Carlos didn’t understand him. He managed to wheeze, “No entiendo, no entiendo.

The man in black fired another round, from ten feet away. This wasn’t the first time he had shot a man in the head with an AK. He knew enough to stay at a distance so that the blood, bone, brain, skin and hair wouldn’t spatter back on him. Carlos never heard or felt the round. It hit beside the bridge of his nose and exited the back of his skull. The blast scattered shards of Carlos’ head across his lawn, spraying the yard with an arc of gore.

Carlos died without knowing that all seven Arriago police officers, and all seventeen Harper County deputies, had died with him. Or that their families had been killed. Or that the Arriago mayor, municipal judge and twelve firefighters had been killed. Or that the same thing had happened in every Texas town along a hundred mile stretch of border between Roma and Brownsville, within fifteen minutes of Carlos’ murder.
—————————————————————

NOTE ADDED 3/23/13

Son of a. . . after my writer buddy Lilas told me to look, I checked the CreatSpace account I forgot I had, and saw these two reviews from “ABNA expert reviewers”:

Review #1:

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

The narrative was smooth, fast reading, as well as the realistic dialogue, but the strongest aspect is the quick intro to the story line. Gets you thinking, could happen, right?

What aspect needs the most work?

Nada. Excellent work. Good character descriptions, but if you added some physical descriptions of the characters, it might add a little more.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

Mad that this is just an excerpt, because I would still be reading this well into the night. Very original, albeit possible, plot. We,unfortunately, live with these possibilities everyday, especially those on the southern borders. This contemporary thriller would sell.

Review #2 (which also addresses the second chapter):

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

The pacing here is great, which means I wanted to keep turning the pages and reading further. The staff sergeant’s briefing is detailed and vivid, and the reaction of the tired and half-drunk cop to the news that a wannabe gangbanger is hanging around outside his house was completely convincing. What all that adds up to is the fact that the author has a distinctive voice, which is pretty hard to come by. That means, IMO, that it’s worth toiling away on the hard work that it might take to make this publishable, because the voice is the one thing is hardest to come by.

What aspect needs the most work?

Well, I’ll just mention the fact that if you want someone to read a lot of content, please format it with paragraphs… This segment read as one very very very long paragraph, with no breaks, which is very hard to process. NB: My ratings, below, don’t reflect that, but be aware that it makes life harder for a reader.

[Chris Hernandez note: I have my novel formatted correctly, but when I loaded it onto the ABNA submission page it changed it into one big paragraph. I tried three f’kin’ times, and it did it every time. I even went back and tried to do it manually, but it kept making the excerpt into one big paragraph. And then I get criticized for that. Bastards!]

What I struggle with here is what happens after Carlos and his neighbor and their families are murdered. Instantly, we’re plunged into the military response team, telling me it’s going to be all action. I found myself craving some kind of bridge to that scene — Nunez and Quincy could hear rumors about this, or we could see Lacey being told about it, or something else. The segment started with a big bang (well, technically, a lot of ‘em…) and sometimes it’s good to take a step back and take the time to set the stage and develop the characters so that we know what’s going on and care about the people who are here. It’s as if the 9/11 story went straight from the attacks to the invasion of Afghanistan, without us understanding how or why the attacks took place and thus why it’s logical that the invasion is taking place. Yes, I’m sure Lacey is about to explain it all to them, but then that would fall into the category of telling the reader, rather than showing them. As it stands, this feels like an abrupt and unconvincing jump for the reader.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

The writing needs a lot of polishing: there are lots of awkward phrasings — eg “pulled the trigger one time” rather than pulled the trigger once. Or, “saw the blurry, ghostlike image of the girl slam facedown onto the street” — presumably it wasn’t the image of the girl that slammed down but the girl herself?

And there are exchanges between the two soldiers that feel unnatural, as if the conversation is taking place just for the reader’s benefit. (which goes to my criticism above.) Sure, all this information about Laura and the marriage is great to have but don’t just download it, dribble it out in a natural way. It’s a shame to waste an intriguing idea, after all.

The idea is intriguing, and I assume it comes from all the narco-trafficante stories. One element that I would hope is going to be explained somewhere very early on is just why they would want to wipe out every law enforcement member and their families? Clearly this would bring about precisely the kind of reaction that is taking shape: a military incursion. To make this more than just a “soldiers shooting guns and being violent” novel, there needs to be a logical backbone to the story, one that is apparent to the reader from early on. I did find myself wondering just why this would unfold this way (beyond the fact that it was because a novelist wanted it to happen this way to write the book he/she wanted to write…)

The level of detail in the writing here is mostly excellent, particularly segments like
“Lacey paused to take a drink from a
plastic water bottle, then screwed the cap
back on and set the bottle to the side.
“Okay gentlemen,” he said,
looking over the room again.
“Here’s what’s up.”
I could literally see this scene in my mind’s eye, and that’s an excellent sign.

For me, a lot comes down to where this excerpt goes next. If it veers off in what I think of as “fictional gun porn” — a novel about soldiers and their weapons and their brotherhood and so on — then you’ve lost me as a reader. If you can convincingly explain why drug cartels would do this, and make this a story about people, then I think it could be very interesting, with work on style and structure.

[Chris Hernandez note: so if this becomes a story about soldiers and their weapons and brotherhood, he’s not interested? Or did I misread that?
It sounds to me like one guy loved it, and one guy saw positives and negatives but doesn’t care for military fiction. Damn it.]

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34 Responses to “Line in the Valley, chapter 1”

  1. 1 Bobby

    Its probably because you chqnged the name of the town.

  2. 3 Rey

    Damn! Hell of a start!

  3. Chris, do you know if any of your judges was a veteran? I’ve been reading the discussion board, and many entrants complained that the judges didn’t seem to know the topics of some books. A matter of chance, getting the right judge for the right book and genera. One of mine stated in his review that he was an Iraq veteran.

    • I saw that review from the Iraq vet. Make sure you let him know I was your technical advisor :). I have no idea who judged my book and haven’t read the boards. I figure it wouldn’t make any difference now anyway. Just like the rest of the publishing world, it depends not just on our stuff being good but also on finding the right person. Hope your book keeps hitting the right people, good luck.

      • They should have posted their revew of your excerpt on your creatspace account. Every one of the 500 hundred got one. Did you check it? at least it gives you an idea of what they didn’t like about it. And the veteran judge I got left a more detailed review on my account, way better than the one sentance they posted. I would have never been able to get the Iraq scene to the level it is without your technical guidance, help and patience. If this book sees the light, your name will definately be there. Much obliged.

        • The 500 got one, but I was one of the 2000, and I don’t think we got anything. I’ll take a look though.

          No need to mention me if the book gets published. Just use me as the model for Adam on the front cover and we’re even :).

  4. Chris – like everything I’ve read of yours, this is gritty and powerful. I would absolutely buy this book, it’s exactly what I like to read.

    As to the Amazon judges deciding it blows, they miscalculated, they obviously suck, hence their confusion. They had the wind going in the right direction, it was the cause they were confused about!

    Keep at it!

    • Thanks Sarge. I edited this a bit from what I submitted to Amazon, but nothing major, so I don’t think this version would have made them decide differently. I wish they would have given us some feedback as to what they didn’t like. No worries though, I’ll just keep trying. Eventually I’ll hit the right person and find success.

      Hope you’re doing well, thanks again for reading and commenting.

  5. 11 Dustin Smith

    Looks good to me so far, Brother. Good enough that I will definitely be buying the book. A book about cops by a cop is a rare thing, and its easy to tell which ones are. Thank you.

    • Thanks Dustin. I’m glad someone appreciates a little reality in fiction. Plenty of people just don’t care, especially the ones who decide what gets published.

  6. 13 SPEMack

    Chris,

    Well, first off, Amazon can go pound sand. Repeatedly.

    In regards to the excerpt, it reads like something I would buy. I reckon you will go into detail in regards to how the bad guys got across the border en mass enough to pull off a coordinated assault like that, but I’m intrigued enough to want to keep reading.

    How ever, and I was just thinking about this the other day, the only problem I see, and this maybe what the Amazon bozos though as well, is that Harold Coyle, a former Armor officer, wrote a very similar book called “Trial By Fire” that has much the same plot line. Even going so far as to have the 36th ID mobilize to defend the border.

    And the book starts out much the same, except it is the USBP that suffers most of the casualties.

    That being said, I would read it. I’ve come to lump Jerry and the boys in the same category as the guys in Rainbow and the Office of Management Ananlysis of groups of fictional characters I have to read.

    • Mack,

      I read Trial by Fire, maybe in the early 90’s. I don’t remember the attack on LE at the beginning of the book though. It’s been a long time, all I recall is LT Nancy Kozak and a fight against the Mexican Army. At that time the 36ID didn’t exist, we were reborn in 2004. Before that it would have been the 49th Armored Division.

      There are plenty of differences between the stories though, even if they start in a similar fashion. Hopefully not too many people will compare this one to his, since they’re about 20 years apart.

  7. 15 Scott Timmons

    Chris,
    I like it and will buy when it’s available. Btw, where can I find the second book? I read Proof of Our Resolve in one sitting and have been waiting for the followup stories.
    Don’t let the REMF’s get you down.

    • Scott,

      Thanks for the critique on this chapter. The second book hasn’t been released, and I’m not sure if I’m going to release it or not. The subject matter might not be helpful to the current political climate. I’d probably sell a lot of books, but the story might be used as more reason to push legislation I’m opposed to. I’m still kicking it around, but I don’t want to release it if it will be used as something other than a fictional story about something bad that could happen.

      Did you happen to drop a review of Resolve on Amazon?

      And REMFs always get me down. Especially since I’m sure I’ll be one if I go back.

      Chris

      p.s. Roger on the correction from the other comment, thanks for pointing it out.

  8. 17 Scott Timmons

    Chris,
    I understand about the hesitancy regarding throwing fuel on a fire. I did a review on Amazon under Rzrbkreader.

  9. Amazon missed this boat.
    Or they’re all a bunch of Birkenstock-shod hippies from Berkeley eating their sustainable algae cakes and bowing 5 times a day to their poster pictures of Obama.

    FIDO, my amphibious brother.

  10. You look like you are trying to get your book going quickly, but for a classic fast start, it is a bit muddled. Too much time is taken up with the drinking. And the suprise hook of the bad guy who becomes a bad guy who is a kid, works against the quick death surprise. Since we have set in our mind he is an ominous bad guy, we are expecting the worst.

    If they have this many resources, why are they using an AK? The stubby round has a pretty crappy BC, and even an AR would avoid the need to drive right up to the guy.

    As to the plausibility of the basic plot as laid out…..

    In Mexico, somethin like 97% of murders are unprosecuted. In the U.S. it’s much higher – even for gangland style murders. The percentage of prosecutions for murder in Mexico, when an American citizen, also goes way up. So why does a cartel start by shooting up the police force of a small town, when they could have other’s do the risky business of selling drugs without all the mayhem? Where is the money in it?

    Saying all that, the idea of a cartel battle within the U.S. Border has some potential. It’s just I wouldn’t assume the premise is stand alone plausible without some window dressing.

    • Hmmm….

      The drinking part is mentioned early, and I put it there because I needed Carlos to not react the way he should have when he finally saw the threat. I didn’t think I overdid it, but it’s a distinct possibility. The kid isn’t exactly the bad guy, although he’s definitely involved. I wasn’t trying to make him a surprise; he’s exactly as I described him, a teenage gangster shithead who really wants to be a hardcore criminal. The surprise about the bad guys comes later.

      You lost me about an AK’s BC and the need to be at close range to use one. We had guys get hit from hundreds of meters away with AKs. The cartel guys didn’t close distance because their weapons were inferior, they closed distance because they were targeting the homes and families. And AKs are extremely common among the cartels. Here’s a link to a picture of Mexican Marines with captured drug traffickers and weapons, including several AKs: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/mexican%20army?before=19

      Your point about the cartel guys not wanting to cause more trouble for themselves by attacking American police forces is extremely valid. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that the characters in the story bring that up and don’t understand it either. But at some point they finally figure out why the cartels decided to do it. Good observation, and that question is addressed in the book in a way that I think is very believable.

  11. 23 Gene (Aggie, Class of '70)

    Mas! Mucho Mas!

  12. 25 BKinzey

    I wanted to keep reading, was interesting so far.

    “Carlos saw the blurry, ghostlike image of the girl slam facedown to the pavement.”

    Carlos, through a blurry, ghostlike image saw the girl slam facedown to the pavement.

    Does that fix it for the one reviewer? Maybe “saw” isn’t discriptive enough but certainly “observed” would be too dry.

    Then again they way you wrote it does describe how somebody with a major gunshot trama might observe others, not by the reality of the girl, but by the “image” of the girl.

    • B,

      I’ve thought about that line, and I think the same thing you did, that to a dying guy she was a blurry, ghostlike image. Seemed a bit of a chinchy complaint to me. I’m not going to sweat it.

      The second reviewer, if I read him correctly, doesn’t want a book to be just about soldiers and combat. If it is, he’s not interested. I think he voted against the book because he suspected there wouldn’t be enough explanation later, that it would just be about the military aspect.

      As the fight goes on, the soldiers learn why the cartels did what they did. The story is about a lot more than combat. I kinda feel like I got hosed.

  13. Wow! This review is very detailed.
    Okay, let’s see:
    1. The first judge seems to be gaga over the plot and the writing style.

    2.The second judge seems to love using abbrivaitions 🙂 I didn’t understand a lot of what he complained about. But about the lack of paragraph breaks, we all went through that. Like you said, once downloaded, the breaks disappeared or everything shifted to the left. A lot of entrants complained about it in the discussion board, and one said that he found a way to go in and add the breaks, clearly stating that he didn’t change anything else. He was sent a warning and then he was blocked. So it’s a system issue, not a writer’s issue.

    3. About the complaint regarding the conversations between soldiers, it reminds me of a certain agent we both met (the one that made me call Misue Buchar). I don’t think this judge knows anything about real talk among soldiers. Maybe his information comes from movies?

    4. I do agree with him in one point regarding expanding Nuniez character a bit beyong his identity as a soldier.

    5. Having the two judges 180 degrees apart with this book and they still went through so much detail, means it impacted them. That’s what you’re looking for anyway. I’ve read other reviews about books, those who didn’t get to the third round, and the writers posted them on discussion boards. Very, very few were that detailed. Even my own full review (on my website) was very brief compared to yours. It makes me think the second judge really went out of his way to justify his rejection. Just not the right judge for this kind of book, maybe he should have been assigned to the romance genre if he doesn’t like so much action.

    6. Those are my thoughts. I don’t think you should publish more chapters at this point. There are still opportunities and you don’t want to ruin your chances by submitting to an agenet who wouldn’t like that. Please reaconsider.

    7. If it means anything, you have my support and cheer to get to the right person for Line in The Valley.

    • Lilas,

      I’ve accepted it, it is what it is. Nobody’s going to change their minds about it now. I do wish specific judges would review specific genres, like you said. I’d hate the best vampire romance novel ever written, and maybe this guy would hate the best military fiction every written. Not that mine is the best ever, but it should have been reviewed by someone who doesn’t have the bias against military fiction that this reviewer seems to have.

  14. 29 Les

    Thought it was great, really made me want to read the rest. Particularly caught my eye because of the location, and because I work in a one officer on duty town.

    • Les,

      I think the story would really resonate with you. I’m still kicking around the idea of posting more chapters, please check back. Thanks for the comment.

  15. 31 Dave L.

    Chris-

    Sounds like you’ve got your story mostly written, but I’ll drop a bit of trivia for you that might be fun to work into it.

    The 6th Infantry Regiment invaded Mexico in both 1847-48, with Gen. Scott, and in 1916, with Gen. Pershing. (We also invaded Canada in 1812, so we’re equal opportunity invaders of America’s immediate neighbors.)

    The extant parts of the 6th under the Army’s current unit system, 1st and 2nd battalions, are currently stationed at Ft Bliss with 1AD. So if your story sends the Army across the border, can I put in a vote for the first unit across the LD? (And if one of the tracks in B Co were to be named ‘Black Jack’, well that’d just be too much fun.)

    Also, if you want a good historical reference to action on the border from the time of Texas statehood to roughly WWI, I recommend Clarence Clendenen’s _Blood on the Border_.

    First bit reads great. Waiting for more!

    -Dave
    PL, XO, C Co, 1-6 IN (M), 1997-99
    Regulars, by God!

    • Dave,

      I’m still deciding where I’m going with the fourth book, but a cross-border operation is high on the list of possibilities. That’s a cool little bit of history, and it would be a nice touch to have the 6th Regiment cross the LD. Buuuuuut…I don’t see how I could steal that bit of honor from the 36th ID. I think the Texas flag would have to be first across the line.

      I would be happy to have a “Black Jack” in Bravo. In Line in the Valley I one of the helicopter pilots has the same call sign as one of my best friends, a retired Army pilot who made sure I had the aviation parts correct.

      • 33 Dave L.

        I just finished my MA thesis on War Plan Green, if you need any background info on that.

        Between you and Marko Kloos, I may actually have to buy myself a kindle…


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