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Operation Blazing Saddles


TheShammySocialist
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[b]Classified[/b]

With the inaction of North America with the sudden fall of the Texan Government, and no moves being made to secure the country, save for its protectorates (which were taken by the Noverians), the Cajun Federation rolled the dice once again. After a late meeting between the Council of Ministers, the Lady Protector, Congressional Leaders, and leaders of the Cajun Federation Armed Forces, a decision was made to mobilize the Armed Forces to Alert Condition 3. Working on old war plans from the CFAF Foresight and Analysis Office, the meeting of the most powerful figures of the Cajun Federation decided to enact Lone Star Plan Yellow, a concerted push into Texas using all three branches of the service to move on the fallen nation.

The ground offensive would constitute a three-pronged offensive along major road arteries from Louisiana and Arkansas into the major metropolitan areas of Texas. International Routes Ten, Twenty, and Thirty would be the main routes for the columns. Jumping off through Texarkana, comprising the Northern Prong of the offensive would be the "Conquistadors" of the Sixth Division, which would drive along International Route Thirty (IR30) through the northern fringes of Texarkana, and making for Mount Pleasant, with the final objective of moving on Dallas. The Sixth would use other roads around International Route Thirty to cover the main advance. Flying ahead of the Sixth would be the 1st Regiment of the 179th Airborne Infantry Brigade, which would be airlifted by C-130 and C-17 Globemaster III into the Franklin County Airport, west of Mount Pleasant to create a buffer against movement westward along IR30.

The Central Prong of the advancing Cajun Forces would advance towards Longview, not far west of the Louisiana-Texas border, their objective would be the crossroads towns of Tyler, and then Waco. Comprising the Central Prong of the advance would be Republican Horse Guard, the "Razorbacks" of Arkansas' own 3rd Infantry Brigade, and the "Pathfinders" of the 8th Infantry Brigade. These units would be supported by the 13th Artillery Brigade, along with overhead rotary helicopter gunship and infantry support from the 32nd Cavalry Brigade. The units would drive along IR20 into Texas, before relying on secondary roads to reach Tyler, and eventually, Waco, with further orders to press on to Austin if the situation allowed.

The most powerful of the prongs would comprise the Southern flank of the advance, which was to move on the metropolis of Houston and its metropolitan areas. This task was appropriated to the troops of the 1st Division, also known as the "Tigers", after the famous ferocious US Civil War Louisiana Brigade that fought under Robert E. Lee. The advance of the First would coincide with a major airborne drop of the 3rd Regiment of the 179th Airborne Infantry Brigade, as well as two battalions of the 75th Ranger Brigade at La Porte's municipal airport, southeast of Houston proper. The 1st Division itself would drive along the coast, along IR10, striking quickly through Beaumont, Texas, before making a beeline for the Houston Metropolitan Area.

Following up the ground offensive, naval units with the [i]Beausoleil[/i] Carrier Battlegroup, including one arsenal ship, two cruisers, three destroyers, three frigates, seven amphibious landing vessels, three attack submarines, one joint services submarine, one guided missile submarine, three littoral combat ships, and a substantial number of auxiliary vessels would begin to positions themselves offshore. Units with the Riverine Regiment, out of Lake Pontchartrain, would also be present, working their way along the coastline, this would include a number of inshore river patrol craft, and five heavily armed [i]Cyclone[/i]-class Patrol Vessels. The [i]Beausoleil[/i]'s battlegroup would be staging for the second phase of the operation, and would include elements of the 1st and 2nd Marine Brigades embarked on board after being hastily recalled from leave.

A second naval task force, comprising the carriers [i]Le Loutre[/i] and [i]Boish├ębert[/i], escorted by another arsenal ship, three cruisers, with two further destroyers, three frigates, three littoral combat ships, seven attack submarines, one guided missile submarine, one ballistic missile submarine, along with attendant auxiliary vessels, would be dispatched to the Central Gulf of Mexico, about two hundred nautical miles west of the [i]Beausoleil[/i]'s battlegroup. This task force, one of the largest ever dispatched to sea by the Cajun Federation, would be on station to watch their naval comrades' backs.

Over the heads of the ground forces that would be blazing a trail into Texas would be elements of the venerable 1st and 4th Fighter groups, flying upgraded F-22 and F-44 Air Dominance Fighters. They had been recently refitted with a major upgrade to increase their stealthy characteristics, as well as new avionics systems and operational coordination software. Directly supporting the ground forces would be elements of the 14th Fighter Group, flying FA-22 Close Air Support fighters, as well as old A-10 Warthog Close Support Aircraft. These aircraft would be supported by F-15SEs of the "Cottonmouths", also known as the 6th Fighter Group, which would fly escort as well as tactical strike missions. Providing ground-based air cover for the carrier groups, which would be flying their advanced F-165 Fighters, would be the 13th and 15th Fighter Groups, which would provide extra air support for the carrier battlegroup now patrolling the Central Gulf of Mexico. All of the Fighter Groups would be backed up by the remainder of the Air Dominance squadrons of the Cajun Air Force, along with B-1R Regional Strike Aircraft that would be configured for both air-to-air missile truck duties, as well as air-to-surface strikes.

As per usual, the Cajun Federation would also put up the usual complement of AWACS and JSTARS aircraft, as well as air-to-air refueling aircraft, electronic warfare aircraft, meant to jam signals as well as intercept incoming radio traffic. These auxiliary aircraft would fly with a usual escort of fighters, and would be on hand to provide vital duties should they be needed. The Federation also put up P-3D Maritime Patrol Aircraft, which would overfly the eastern Gulf of Mexico unarmed, between Mississippi, and Havana.

[hr]

[center][b][size="6"]Cajun Federation Official Statement[/size][/b]

[IMG]http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa325/VictorDeltaRomeo/500px-Flag_of_Acadianasvg.png[/IMG][/center]

"Over the past week or so, it has come to our attention that the nation of Texas has fallen into disarray and has left itself without any functioning central government. Noting this development, it is the decision of the Cajun Federation, as stewards of stability in North America, to take it upon themselves to annex the nation of Texas. With this declaration, we move to ensure the safety of the Texan people, as well as the stability of North America itself.

A humanitarian expedition, which includes substantial military assets, has begun to secure Texas, and will continue this endeavor until we can ensure that the people of Texas once again have a functioning central government. We move now to ensure that this objective is attained as fast as humanly possible."

[i]Terrence Glenburn
Prime Minister of the Cajun Federation[/i]

[i]Maxime Lafayette
Foreign Minister[/i]

Edited by TheShammySocialist
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[quote name='Centurius' timestamp='1315074456' post='2793789']
"The Athenian Federation fully supports the Cajun Federation on this matter and stands ready to provide support if needed in line with the MDAP"
[/quote]

"We thank the Athenian Federation for their support in this matter, especially so quickly after our Pact was renewed."

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[b]Classified/Viewable through Satellites[/b]

Within a day following the ground forces of the Cajun Federation crossing the border, phase two of Operation Blazing Saddles would comprise a large three-pronged amphibious operation, the largest ever conducted by the Cajun Federation. This task would be doled out to the [i]Beausoleil[/i] carrier battlegroup, which had slipped its moorings only six hours prior to the ground assault and had steamed into the Western Gulf of Mexico. Also included in this assignment would be the Riverine Regiment, a unit made up of fast inshore landing and patrol craft and supplemented by the seagoing patrol boats of the [i]Cyclone[/i]-class.

The easternmost prong of the amphibious operation would be a rather complicated operation that would seek to secure the southern flank of the advancing southern prong of the ground offensive, which was driving on Houston. The Riverine Regiment, with support from five [i]Cyclone[/i]-class patrol boats, would work alongside operators from the 1st Naval Commando Regiment to secure the border town of Port Arthur, lying on Lake Sabine, which divided the Louisiana-Texas border. Three [i]Cyclone[/i]-class patrol boats would lead a column of fast insertion craft, laden with the Riverines and Naval Commandos, with two further patrol boats bringing up the rear, into Lake Sabine, and they would come ashore on Pleasure Islet, near the cargo barge port, northeast of the town. Moving inland from Pleasure Islet, the Riverines and Commandos would drive to meet a battalion combat team from the 1st Infantry Regiment that would drive southwest from Orange, near the Louisiana-Texas border, then move to occupy Port Arthur and secure the southern flank of the Southern ground offensive pincer.

The central prong of the Cajun amphibious operation would see the marines of the 2nd and 3rd Regiment, of the 1st Marine Brigade, come ashore at Galveston, with the expressed objective to secure the southern outskirts of Houston, including Galveston itself and Texas City, along with the latter's port facilities. Once the primary assault force was ashore, the second wave, made up of the 1st Regiment, would come ashore in support, and the troops would secure Galveston, before driving for Texas City, and an eventual link up with the 1st Division, driving from Louisiana towards Houston. The Marines would come ashore in EFV and AAV armored amphibious vehicles along the entire Galveston Seafront, with naval gunfire and missile support standing by if there was any opposition to their landings.

The western prong of the amphibious operation, would see the 1st and 3rd Regiments of the 2nd Marine Brigade move on Corpus Christi from their ships, landing in EFVs and AAVs on Mustang Island, with the objective of eventually driving on Corpus Christi itself. However, until extra forces were made available, the 2nd Marine Brigade, which would take over command of Mustang Island, and control Corpus Christi's inner bay by holding the island. With support offshore for the 2nd Marine Brigade, which includes both naval gunfire and missiles, the Marines would make their landing along the entire coast of Mustang Island, and would be reinforced with the 2nd Regiment, as well as the Brigade's artillery and armor support. One of the Marines' primary objectives was to also capture Mustang Beach Airport intact, which would provide them with a serviceable airfield. Provisions were quickly being made for the eventual transfer of the 1st Regiment of the 4th Airborne Brigade to be flown in to reinforce the 2nd Marine Brigade. Extra firepower would also be provided by a battalion of 8-Inch Self-Propelled Howitzers which would be quickly landed by Landing Craft Mechanized, if the Marines' landing went unopposed, to help shore up the defenses once positions were consolidated.

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[b]Public/Cajun Chronicle Herald[/b]

[quote][size="6"][b]Stabilization Operation Continues in Texas[/b][/size]

[IMG]http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/06/26/article-0-057FC01E000005DC-690_468x400.jpg[/IMG]

[i]Paratroopers from the 179th Airborne Brigade jump from their transports over La Porte Municipal Airport, on the southern outskirts of Houston.[/i]

[b]Beaumont, TX[/b] - The two phase operation to stabilize the fallen nation of Texas continued today amid reports of a massive amphibious operation that has put troops ashore at three locations along the Texan coastline. A bid to secure Port Arthur and stabilize the flank of the 1st Division, driving along the coast, was successful in a joint amphibious and ground operation that saw the brown water Marines of the Riverine Regiment landing near Port Arthur and linking up with ground forces for a final move on Port Arthur. The operation was conducted with no loss of life, and Lieutenant General Desmond Ney, in charge of the entire operation, reported that Port Arthur was in the sound hands of the Cajun Federation.

In an amphibious operation that saw the 1st Marine Brigade landing at Galveston, in an eventual bid to link up with 1st Division forces driving on Houston, met with similar success, and the troops came ashore without incident. Although some beach-goers seemed perturbed at the sudden arrival of amphibious armored vehicles rolling up on Stewart Beach Park at noon, the Cajun Marines quickly moved to reassure residents that they were here as a stabilization force. Many disembarked from their vehicles with their weapons shouldered and their barrels pointed down at the sand. City officials in Galveston were reportedly contacted prior to the amphibious operation, but did not have enough time to warn residents of the impending amphibious assault, the city's police forces stood down, and offered to hand over any weaponry to the Cajun Marines, but Ney reports that they were allowed to retain their firearms, and are assisting in keeping law and order as normal.

The assault on Mustang Island, as well as South Padre Island, achieved similar success, although as Marines of the 2nd Marine Brigade splashed ashore in the first wave, they faced scattered opposition from what military officials have dubbed "civilian militia". Scattered gunfire could be heard from both Mustang and South Padre Islands, and the Cajun Federation Armed Forces reports that three Marines were wounded in action. One anonymous report from an officer in the 2nd Marine Brigade stated that in one instance, a drone launched from the littoral combat ship CFS [i]Decisive[/i] was called in to launch a pinpoint strike using Hellfire missiles on a suspected militia position. This story coincides with a reported substantial explosion on South Padre Island, which destroyed a house. Ney neither confirmed nor denied that heavy weapons were being used to subdue this opposition, but noted that combat action had been reported on South Padre Island, but he considered the operation to be a "complete success".

In other news, the Sixth Division has continued its furious drive towards Dallas, encountering no resistance except for scattered crowds, some welcoming the troops as they roll along International Route Thirty. The Sixth Division linked up with forces from the 179th Airborne Brigade late on the first day of the operation, and then began to continue to move westward after their link up after a few hours of rest and reorganization. It is expected that they will be in the center of Dallas within the next forty-eight hours, and military officials have said that this is a precaution, to allow for the division to consolidate its gains, instead of driving what Ney describes as "helter-skelter" on Dallas.

[IMG]http://www.armyrecognition.com/images/stories/oceania/australia/main_battle_tank/m1_abrams/m1_abrams_main_battle_tank_Australian_Army_640.jpg[/IMG]

[i]An M1A2 (Improved) Main Battle Tank from the 1st Division drives westward towards Houston, the venerable and large 1st Division has some of the tallest orders to fulfill in the stabilization operation.[/i]

South of the Sixth Division, the central advance, being made by a amalgamation of units which has been dubbed "Divisional Combat Team" (or "DCT", for short) [i]Lone Star[/i], have met a situation similar to the 2nd Marine Brigade in their assault on the outskirts of Corpus Christi. Driving westward from Shreveport, the units have met sharp resistance after a successful penetration of the Texas-Louisiana frontier. Upon exiting International Route 20 to drive on Tyler, a strategic crossroads, the troops from the Republican Horse Guard and 3rd Infantry Brigade came into contact with significant militia forces that were armed with heavy infantry weapons. Two troopers from the Republican Horse Guard Regiment were reported after sustaining fatal gunshot wounds, four more troops from the Regiment were also wounded. The 3rd Infantry Brigade is reporting two troopers wounded in the encounter, in which a running gun battle ensued through the streets of Tyler. Although Ney had no confirmation of earlier reports, anonymous sources embedded in the 3rd Infantry Brigade reported that the troops were facing as many as one hundred to two hundred militiamen. Six individuals were found dead, and three further militia were found wounded in the aftermath of the gun battle, and information points to a further presence of these individuals along the route into Texas the DCT is expected to take.

"While we didn't expect a large amount of welcoming crowds, we are also re-evaluating our rules of engagement after this incident. The presence of large numbers of civilian militia are troubling, however, we will continue with this operation, and see through with it to the end. If there is one message I would like to give to the Texan people, it is that we are here for [i]you[/i]," noted Ney, as he closed out his press conference.

"We are, in no way, shape, or form, going to stop this operation due to this resistance, the violence is perturbing, yes, but we are confident that after a re-evaluation of our operational tactics for this situation will allow us to limit these deadly engagements," reported Therese Grenier, spokeswoman for the Office of the Lady Protector.

"I'm on the express train for the Rio Grande!" laughed a tank commander from the 1st Division, patting a picture of a train painted on his tank, bearing the words 'El Paso Express'.[/quote]

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[b]Intersection of 18th and South Staples
Corpus Christi[/b]

The Cajun Federation's stabilization operation had been a surprise to many Texas residents, who had expected for the Empire of Pravus Ingruo take once again take charge of the fallen government. When news of the Federation crossing the frontier into Texas broke, the citizens of Texas were split in their outlook on this new development. A number of citizens were welcoming the Cajuns as their new leaders, a number of citizens also abhorred these newcomers. In particular, the City of Corpus Christi had a large network of citizens who had strong sentiment against the Cajun Federation. A number of these individuals viewed the Cajun Federation as an upstart nation, and the Cajuns had no claim to the Republic of Texas, a number were also driven by the unique racial makeup of the Cajun Federation, some who felt that such "mixed breeding" was unacceptable to their "pure" communities.

Given the known network of anti-Federation sympathizers and voices stemming from Corpus Christi, a number of Texans, who felt enamored to fight these new "invaders", descended on Corpus Christi, where it was believed they might be able to stave off the expected landings that would come. Relying on information garnered from the Mayor of Corpus Christi, who was an anti-Federation sympathizer, it was determined that the Cajun Federation would land on the outlying islands ringing Corpus Christi Bay. While a defense was organized, some local fighters had engaged Cajun Marines landing on Padre Island, which resulted in the first casualties for the Cajun Federation. A few fighters had also been reported missing or wounded, and the blocking force had withdrawn in good order after exchanging sporadic fire for most of the morning.

Twenty-four hours after the Cajun landings, the anti-Federation Forces had organized the "Free Texas Defense Corps", a ragtag collection of soldiers that had collected seven thousand members, with more flowing in from other parts of Texas. Those who came from outside Corpus Christi had determined that trying to fight the Federation alone was going to be a fruitless and impossible task, if they were able to join a concerted effort to fight the Federation, it might send a stark message. The Corps, which was a Corps in name only, was a loose network of armed groups and cells ranging in various sizes, armed with various civilian and military grade weaponry. Some heavy weapons were available from stocks leftover from the Republic of Texas' armed forces, there was a loose command structure, where the members of their various armed groups had voted in men or women to serve as their leaders.

Standing on the Lichtenstein Center for Early Learning, on the corner of 18th and South Staples Streets, Gerald Owens lit a cigarette, as he felt a stiff breeze blowing in from the west, it was a cool breeze, and a rumble of thunder signaled a coming storm. Gerald had more to worry about then just a storm from mother nature, however, as there were reports from sympathizers and "Bayou watchers" - people who watched the movements of the Cajun Federation troops that had consolidated themselves on Padre Island. Gerald had been elected as the "commander" of the "South Texas Rangers", a motley group of one hundred or so men and women from Portland, right across the bay from Corpus Christi. Gerald was a Texas nationalist, and believed in the self-determination of the Republic, and had been anti-Federation, believing it to be a regional bully in North America. While recent international actions by the Federation had softened this view, he still felt animosity towards the Federation for the "invasion" of his homeland, and being one of the few in his group to have formal military training, and having served on the West Coast for a short amount of time, before being returned home after the Republic fell, he was elected as the group's leader.

It was decided, after a council of war the night before, that trying to fight an all out battle at the Federation's beach head was going to be bloodbath, that would only amount to their numbers being easily melted down by the immense firepower of the Cajun Federation. The council of war had decided, after a large amount of haggling, to set up a line of resistance inland, and engage in urban warfare with the Federation forces that came ashore.

It was up to Gerald, along with seven other groups of of the Defense Corps, amounting to give or take one thousand men and women, to hold a line that stretched along the the Louisiana Parkway, stretching from Cole Park on the Oceanfront, to Del Mar College, inland. Del Mar College would provide them with a number of well-built, and large buildings to anchor their flank against. In front of this line, there were a few road blocks and ambush points set up to stall the Federation's advance into the city, the longer the Federation was delayed, the more reinforcements poured in from across Texas in small groups. The storm to the west looked forboding, but the storm that lay to the southeast was much more deadly then anything Mother Nature could throw at Gerald right now, and he surveyed the hastily made preparations to stop the Federation's forces.

As he looked to the east, from the roof of the Lichtenstein Center for Early Learning, at the Northeast Corner of the Del Mar College complex, Gerald was joined by Anna-Marie Trask, one of the members of his group. She had a civilian sporting rifle with a scope shouldered, and was wearing a black t-shirt, jeans, and a wide-brimmed hat, along with cross-trainers. She looked about as far from a soldier as one could, but the look of grim determination on her lightly freckled face spoke of her commitment to the cause. Trask, who had been a law student before becoming a freedom fighter fourteen hours ago, was also a member of the Cross-Country Team at Texas A&M at Corpus Christi, and had volunteered to be Gerald's runner, relaying orders and communications for him to his group, and other groups, as they were short on radios.

"Boss?" she asked, breaking Gerald's grim silence as he looked east towards Padre Island in the hazy distance, Cajun ships could be seen prowling menacingly offshore.

"What do you got for me, Anna?" Gerald responded, in a voice without emotion, turning to look at her.

"A runner from the University Guard are reporting there is movement across the JFK Memorial Causeway from Padre Island," she said, lightly panting, her face was lightly dotted with beads of sweat. "Commander McCauley expects the Cajuns to start moving out of Padre sometime this afternoon." McCauley was the commander of the Defense Corps, a veteran of the Republic of Texas' military forces, he was sharp and organized, but far from a military genius. Many commanders had opted to try to stop the Cajuns closer to Oso Bay, even opting to try to stop the Cajuns from crossing Oso over the Route 358 Bridge, but McCauley felt that only leaving token forces to report movements and harass the Cajuns was a much more advantageous strategy. The next couple days, or even hours may determine who was right on the tactical deployment of the Defense Corps.

"Any shots fired yet?" asked Gerald, looking back towards Padre Island.

"None, boss, Lieutenant Gold is asking if you have any orders?" Lieutenant Maxwell Gold was Gerald's second-in-command, a stout man who was a police officer with the Corpus Christi Metro Area Police Department.

"I'll be down in a few," said Gerald, enjoying the cool breeze against his fatigue-clad body. He wore a helmet he had "requisitioned" from his military service, as well as desert-pattern tiger camouflage fatigues. The first few droplets of rain from the approaching storm were starting to come down, his troops were hunkered down in the building below, waiting for another storm to appear on the horizon. But this was a storm that was of made of metal, flesh, and blood...

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[b]JFK Memorial Causeway
Approaching Flour Bluff, Texas[/b]

Over the past twenty-four hours, the Cajun Federation's amphibious landing on Padre/Mustang Island had brought the entirety of the 2nd Marine Brigade, also known as the "Northstar Brigade". The Brigade's armor and artillery support had quickly followed the amphibious landing, which had incurred a few casualties in consolidating their position on the island, which was secure by nightfall. Using the Mustang Beach airport at Port Aransas, the Federation had also brought in two battalions from the 1st Regiment of the 4th Airborne Brigade, with more aircraft bringing in soldiers by the hour. By D-Day Plus One, the Federation had more than fifteen thousand soldiers ashore, and the brigade had taken control of the entirety of the island.

[i]And now it was time to press forward[/i], thought Captain Matthew de Castries, at the head of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Regiment, 2nd Marine Brigade. Bravo Company had arrived the afternoon before, after the first wave had come ashore and dealt with the civilian gunman who had opposed them. As the freshest complete unit that had arrived on the field, the 2nd Regiment of the 2nd Marine Brigade had been tasked with a patrol into the suburbs of Corpus Christi, and securing crossings across Oso Bay. Alpha, Bravo, and Delta Companies had been assigned to make the patrol, while Charlie and Echo Companies would secure any gains and provide support if it was required.

Matthew sat in the third vehicle of Bravo Companies' column, two LAV-25 amphibious light armored vehicles leading the column, their turrets, mounting 25mm Bushmaster chain guns rotating warily as they advanced across the causeway. Matthew's up-armored tactical transport followed the two lead vehicles, a line of 6x6 trucks and tactical transports, as well as two Amphibious Assault Vehicles impressed as armored personnel carriers, following his own vehicle. Bravo Company had been assigned to lead the vanguard of the advance across to Flour Harbor and secure the Route 358 Bridge across Oso Bay into the southeastern suburbs of Corpus Christi. Alpha would secure Ocean Drive towards the Texas A&M Campus of Corpus Christi, as well as secure the old Corpus Christi Naval Air Station at Flour Bluff.

"Rain'll be nice," commented First Sergeant David Gibbs, the Company Sergeant, in charge of Bravo Company's non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel. Gibbs was seated behind Matt, and was peering between him and the driver of the Humvee, Corporal Andrew Pollard.

Matt's eyes flicked up to the dark horizon, where lightning flashed again, the horizon was very dark, and through the hazy horizon, rain bands could be seen slowly making their way towards the Corpus Christi skyline. "Not going to be able to see anything in that," grumbled Matt, as he looked back into the mirror at the long line of vehicles making their way across the causeway.

"It'll at least cool things down, Cap," responded Gibbs, as they slowly made their way off the causeway into the town of Flour Bluff, a few residents could be seen out in the streets, many of them watching the military convoy as it steadily rolled along the highway. "Looks like they haven't decided whether to welcome us or flip us off," he added, looking at a couple who seemed to stare indifferently at the convoy as it passed on the highway.

"I'd rather they throw us those types of looks then bullets," nodded Lieutenant John Gordon, the commander of Bravo Company's First Platoon.

"Amen to that, L.T.," replied Gibbs, as Matt looked at his detailed tactical 3-D Map on a high-resolution computer screen beside him. He slid his finger over the tactical map to see structures and their height, side streets, and other information that was provided by the map.

"Bulldog Two-One Lead to Bulldog One, visibility is going to drop with that storm approaching, permission to deploy troops and wait this storm out?" crackled the radio, the Corporal in charge of the lead LAV-25, hailing Matt.

"Go to thermal, Two-One Lead, we're going to push onto that bridge, that's our primary, and we're taking it," responded Matt, adjusting his headset.

"Ten-Four, Bulldog One, going thermal," responded the LAV commander, as the convoy continued to roll steadily past shops and restaurants.

"Looking at that tactical map, sir, if we get ambushed, we're sitting ducks on this road," commented Gordon, from the back seat.

"That's right, lieutenant, and that's why first platoon is going to walk the rest of the way to the bridge with me," nodded Matt, as he pulled on a poncho and picked up his CAR-15 from beside him. "We're going singing in the rain."

"Yes sir, this is Bulldog One-One Actual, First Platoon dismount and proceed on foot, stay frosty," called out Gordon, getting out with Matt and Gibbs, the duo looking around warily as Gordon's platoon began unloading from the myriad of vehicles in the vanguard of the advance. The fifty Marines quickly fanning out onto the shoulders of the highway, and moving to advance along the sidewalks and buildings that lined each side of the highway.

As the Marines moved steadily along the buildings, Gibbs and Matt stayed behind a LAV-25, walking at a steady pace, a few soldiers from First Platoon's command section staying with them. Gordon moved to the right side of the highway, joining his men in the patrol. The whirring of air signaled the approach of a helicopter, which quickly overtook the column from the direction of South Padre Island and banked left, circling over the column as they advanced at a slower pace towards the bridge.

"Bulldog One, this is Osprey Three-Four, headquarters thought you might like an eye in the sky if things get hot down there," called out the helicopter's pilot, as it flew low over the column, kicking up dust.

"Appreciate the overhead support, Three-Four, don't stick around too long if this storm makes things too hairy up there," responded Matt, looking up at the circling helicopter.

"Ten-four, [i]mother[/i]," responded the helicopter pilot, rocking the UH-60 Seahawk back and forth as it flew ahead of the column.

Gibbs chuckled, "Gotta love Marine pilots, they're almost as crazy as us."

Matt grinned, he knew what Gibbs was talking about. The Federation's Marines were some of the hardest trained individuals in the military, not only trained in advanced infantry tactics, but also in all forms of tactical formations. They had to specialize in serving as both light and mechanized infantry, as the vanguard of the Cajun Federation's Armed Forces. They were molded by training in the Lake Pontchartrain Marine Depot, in the middle of the swamps north of New Orleans. The Marines trained alongside the Naval Commandos for most of their training, helping instill in them an elite status amongst the rest of the military. Considering their training and the usual status they had as a vanguard force, they were issued extra pay for their trouble.

Like the rest of the military, while they were patriotic and many of them signed up for that reason, they were also to uphold and defend the constitution of the Federation, and had accordingly swore an oath to do so. The stabilization of Texas was a touchy issue for some, as many were disdainful of the way the Republic of Texas had looked down upon the Federation during its time as a nation. That being said, the Marines were here as a stabilization force, not an invading army, and their rules of engagement were clear; avoid conflict with citizens and uphold law and order. If there was one unit that could do this by putting their personal feelings for Texas aside, it was the Marines that were now advancing up Route 358 for the suburbs of Corpus Christi, into more than one storm that was on the horizon beyond Oso Bay...

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[b]Del Mar College Campus
Corpus Christi, Texas[/b]

As the rain rolled over Gerald and his men, who had taken shelter from the storm in a faculty office building for Del Mar College, lightning flashed outside, and the power flickered. No one expected the power to be on for much longer anyways, war had a way of taking away amenities, and services like power and water were some of them that usually went first. The men and women of Gerald's South Texas Rangers cradled weapons in their laps, as they quietly talked amongst themselves. Some smoke cigarettes, Gerald smiled at the irony as he looked above one young woman smoking a cigarette below a sign which stated "Thank you for Not Smoking". War took away not just amenities, but simple rules of decency as well.

Gerald looked up as the front door opened and a group of soldiers, following a salt-and-pepper haired man, walked in out of the maelstrom that was dumping rain at an astonishing rate outside. Gerald's "troops" stood up, and gave a ragged salute, as they recognized Commander Ross McCauley, the self-appointed "commanding officer" of the Free Texas Defense Corps, walking in, drenched, and not looking too happy. Gerald gave a much more crisp salute, as McCauley approached, and returned their salutes.

"Good to see you again, Owens," noted McCauley, shaking his hand.

"Likewise sir, didn't expect to see anyone out in that downpour," replied Gerald, shaking McCauley's hand firmly. Gerald's lieutenant, Maxwell Gold, a twenty-something year old redhead, a former ROTC cadet, still boyish faced and freckled, wearing loose NATO tri-color military fatigues, greeted McCauley as well.

"I just got reports that the Swampies crossed out of South Padre Island, and are moving on the old Naval Air Station and Flour Bluff," stated McCauley, moving away from Gerald's troops, Gerald following him as they walked.

"I got the same report, sir, we're going to move to our defensive positions along Louisiana Avenue, as soon as this storm lets up," replied Gerald, folding his arms, and looking at McCauley.

McCauley nodded, sighing for a second, before responding, "I need to make a request of you, Owens."

"Sir?"

"The swampies are moving more troops up faster then we expected, they are being much more reckless then yesterday. Took them the whole day to take South Padre Island, after only five gunmen shot at them," stated McCauley, as he looked darkly at Gerald.

"It appears that way sir," nodded Gerald, meeting McCauley's stare with a look of his own. "They won't make it here by tonight, they'll probably consolidate a bridgehead over the Route 358 Bridge, then move into the suburbs," he added, whipping out his map, a AAA map of the Corpus Christi area, and pointing out what his opinion was to McCauley.

"The same words you used at the council of war last night, Owens. And now I think I'm eating them for dinner."

"Sir?"

"I know you favored a defense of the Route 358 Bridge...," started McCauley.

Gerald gulped slightly, as he knew what McCauley would be asking for next, and it probably meant they wouldn't be having a calm night after the storm ended.

"And I had time to think about those suggestions, the swampies will get bold if we do not engage them in force today. I'm going to give it to you straight, I want you to move your troops out to the Route 358 Bridge, and engage the swampies after this storm gets done," said McCauley, after pausing for a moment, lowering his voice.

Gerald looked at McCauley for a number of silent seconds, before responding, "I understand sir, but my troops will not have any time to prepare actual fortified positions."

"I realize that, however, you're probably one of the few individuals who are leading a company with any experience, I need you to move your boys and girls out, and attack those forces after they cross the Route 358 Bridge, I'm giving you command of all forces near Oso bay. You get to choose when you engage, I just need you in the mix down there."

Gerald looked at McCauley quietly again, pausing before he said anything, he finally said, "I want some vehicles to transport us down there."

"We have requisitioned some pickups, vans, and cars, we'll let you use them to transport your company down there."

"That'll be much appreciated, sir," noted Gerald, looking over at Gold, and nodding, "Pass the word around, lieutenant."

"Yes sir," nodded Gold, looking a little ashen as he walked over to get the unit up and ready for their new mission.

"I appreciate it, Owens," nodded McCauley, shaking Gerald's hand again, before nodding to his entourage that they were done at this venue. He walked out swiftly into the storm, not waiting around.

Gerald heaved a sigh, before looking down at his map again, at the Oso Bay area, and thinking in his mind, [i]Yes, appreciation... appreciation for going with an eleventh hour decision that would probably be best not made at this point...[/i]

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