Written by: Stephen Zito; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon
[First of a two part JAG series]
An EP3 recon plane identified a Chinese cruiser carrying nuclear material while they were doing surveillance over the sea of Taiwan. The Chineese MIG pilot began the usual harassment and rammed the EP3 with his plane damaging it to the point that it was forced to seek humanitarian landing at Fuzhou airbase. It was announced that Lt. Kwan Li was killed in the collision. Chinese General Shin-wa Chen demanded that he would only negotiate with retired Adm Tom Boone, who he knew personally. The SACNAV, who had tried and failed to court-martial Boone, then had to swallow his pride and order JAG attorney Harmon Rabb (H) to go talk to Boone and request that he come back into service in the SECNAVs office with a 2 star rank. [“Dog Robber”: Military term for an aide who can get things done, usually “off the record and under the radar”] Harm and Boone flew to the USS Thomas Jefferson where Capt Hubbard would let them take a COD into China. They were escorted to the border by Lt’s Carl Barrett and Crawford. Harm had to interview the downed crew surreptitiously to avoid any eavesdropping.
The US pilot claimed he “had no choice” except to land after being struck by the MIG – or “all would have been killed” in the ditching. Boone, angrily, said “that’s why they call it war.” The pilot told H that they only had 24 min before landing – not enough to remove all the secret codes in the plane. The 2nd officer told H that she felt sorry, in a way, for the dead Chinese pilot because he “seemed like a good guy.” He had always “waved” while he had been harassing them previously, and one time even held up a sign with his Email address. Harm had her write the address: “Beagleboy34@chinanet.net.” Boone and H saw that Chinese technicians were removing the security consoles from the plane and Boone had to be forced away from protecting the plane at Chinese gunpoint. Harm asked Bud (B), in code to check the email ID with Webb (W) and he discovered that Chen-wa was lying – Li was still alive, had landed his plane in Manchuria and had emailed his girlfriend to let her know he was ok.
They then faced down Chen-wa with a recon photo of the undamaged plane on a runway. Chen-wa had previously said that they needed to “talk about an apology” but Boone had countered with “we’ll be happy to accept any one you will give.” Chen-wa chided Boone that he “should know sometimes it’s better to apologize” and Boone said “you’re in the right country for it- the Chinese have more words for ‘sorry’ than the Eskimo’s have for ‘snow.'” Now, with the photo, they threatened Chen-wa that he was “at odds with the civilian leadership of your country.” So, Chen-wa released the crew so Boone and H could fly them out in the COD. However, the downed plane would be “sent back piece by piece when we are through with it.” The COD was being escorted back to the carrier by Lt’s Barrett and Crawford. Upset about leaving the surveillance plane to the Chinese, Barrett sent Crawford away and, defying orders, flew into china, buzzed the grounded aircraft to give warning, then blew it up on the tarmac. [This part of the story to be continued]
Mac (M) prosecuted, and B and Turner (T) defended, two Annapolis midshipmen who were arrested for dueling with their sabers. They were the 5th generation grandsons of civil war ship captains Franklin Buchanan (confederate) and Morris (union). They had been arguing about aspects of their grandparents battles and decided to resolve it on the “field of honor.” Turner described it as an “embarrassment to both them and the Academy and dishonor to the memories of their grandfathers.” Mac charged them with attempted murder and wouldn’t settle for anything except their resignation from the Academy for doing something so completely stupid. Turner assured her that he had done something just as stupid and M asked “did it involve H?” Turner said that “fortunately the statue of limitations has run out on it.” Mac said she “might feel differently if either of them showed a shred of remorse or realized that what they did was wrong.” Mac finally relented after they finally did show some remorse on the stand.
Turner helped H fix his Vet claiming that he had a “light touch” and H “pressed to damn hard.” Gunny (G) requested a transfer back to the Force Recon unit at camp Lejune who needed a company gunny. Chegwidden (C) wished he could go with him and said “be safe Victor.”