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Operation Change The World (تغيير العالم Ghayara Al Kalam) | Foreword and Chapter 1

Updated on October 11, 2010


This series of hubs is solely the product of my twisted imagination, all characters are fictional, though some public figures and fellow hubbers will be mentioned and their thoughts and conversations are a best guest or again a product of my imagination and I clearly state no personal connection with them is either expressed or implied. I hope you enjoy the read….

50 Cal
50 Cal
click to enlarge
click to enlarge

Chapter One تَدَفِّق MUTADAFFAQ (Rising Waters)

(14 November 2010, somewhere in Western Arizona) When the cell phone rang Dusty got irritated on the first ring and was going to ignore it all together since he didn’t like being interrupted when he was butchering venison for the smoker. He was up to his elbows in deer fat and didn’t want to mess up his new-fangled ‘Smart phone’ with the fat. But at the fourth ring he figured he better check it since there were only three people that had his number and if they were calling on a Sunday when they knew what he was going to be doing and how irritated he would be at the interruption; it might be important.

Walking to the picnic table where the phone and his coffee sat he looked down at the screen, and a puzzled look crossed his brow for just a moment while he finished wiping his hands. He couldn’t help wondering how ‘Bones’ had got his number and even more so how ‘Bones’ would show up as the name associated with the number called in, since the Bones he knew wouldn’t use the moniker publicly, ‘cause someone might ask how he got it. The thought of that made Dusty crack a little smile, while he answered, “Fifty”.

“Fifty Cal! Bones here; How ya doing buddy?”

Dusty answered, “Up to my ass in deer fat and three fingers shy of a good day, where the F@$^ are you?, ya god Damn War criminal.”

Bones said, “bout one eight zero, eight minutes out, I’m on your six asshole, get that jug o shine off the shelf, and not that swill in the brown one either, get the blue jug or I’ll bad talk you from San Diego to Paris Island! And while you’re at it start some fresh coffee, I don’t want that swill you been drinkin’ since five this morning dick head, c’mon pull it together Gunny! ” He hung up.

Dusty turned around and looked south and sure enough he could barely see in the distance the profile of a Blackhawk helicopter heading north, He muttered “I’ll be damned” Threw out the old coffee in the porcelain covered tin campfire pot and walked over to the pump sink and started filling it up.

As the chopper got closer his horses Waffle and Big John got a little edgy and started snorting; while his two mules Ella Bell and Airborne, started braying and twitching their left hind quarters like they wanted to kick. Dusty reached up on the shelf and pulled the blue jug that had his best homemade shine in it and wondered how Bones knew about it since he hadn’t seen or heard from him since that day in Vietnam when he had lost most of his left foot flying the Medevac for Bones and his Force Recon Team. Bones lost most of the fingers on his left hand takin’ out that NVA in a close hand to hand fight that protected his eight wounded team members waiting on the LZ. On a quiet night around the fire Dusty would often remember seeing that fight as he was making his final approach to the LZ. Both he and the gook were good with the bayonet but it was decided when Bones got an inside move with the block that cost him his fingers, but holding the fore stock of his M-16 with his little finger and his thumb Bones got underneath and cut that dude from his left kidney to his jawbone in one upward motion. The NVA’s insides just fell out of his body cavity at his feet then the rest of him went straight down like a sack of dirty laundry.

But it’s what happened next that would bring on the memories, Bones, slung his M-16 by it’s strap over his shoulder and put his bleeding left hand in his pocket and reached down and picked up his three fingers off the ground and put them in his right pocket, that’s when the mortar round hit next to the huey and took off half of Dusty’s left foot, The shrapnel also spread Plexiglas and pieces of instrument panel throughout the cockpit a piece of which had hit his copilot SGT Bill peters code name ‘Whale Shit’ somewhere between his mouth and his nose and pushed the whole mess out the back side of his flight helmet. All of this took a blink of an eye, and just as Dusty was figuring out how he was gonna fly his broken equipment out of there, he felt something that weighed about 3lbs or so plop in his lap, he looked back in the rear of the aircraft and Bones was pointing at him and saying “Don’t say I never gave ya nothing asshole! Didi moow! Didi Moow!”

Dusty got the helo airborne and fought with a barley controllable left rudder and a slow bleeding cyclic hydraulic for the 18 minutes it took to get to the field hospital. When he shut it down immediately after landing and as the medics approached he looked down and in his lap was the other half of his left jungle boot with his foot still inside. That’s when he passed out. When he woke up he was in a bunk in the transit hospital in Ton Sahnut waiting for a Navy Med Flight back to Bethesda Hospital in the states. He never saw Bones again though they had been friends for about three months of that tour. Dusty was medically retired as a Staff Sergeant and Bones disappeared off the radar, Dusty figured he had been retired as well, but he knew of other marines who served with missing digits so maybe not.

He mumbled to himself, “guess I’ll find out” as the Blackhawk landed and the blades and turbine whined down, out of the side door came Bones, all 6’4” of him but now carrying about 260lbs instead of the 225 Dusty remembered. Still wearing a Corps buzz cut, but now attired in a blue suit, with a light blue shirt and a red and white striped tie, and black leather gloves. Dusty let him get closer before he spoke,

“Been a while Bones”

“Sure has 50 Cal, Semper Fi, ya old fart.” replied Bones.

“You still take three fingers at a time? What brings ya out this way Jim?” said Dusty as he was pouring the ‘good stuff’ in a glass and thinking- “How the f&&$ did you find my ass and get my god damn phone number!”

He handed Bones his glass and held his up looking Bones in the eye and said “Semper Fi!”

Jim “Bones” Preston had in fact not been retired from the Corps as Dusty had suspected, he had got tired of ‘recuperative leave’ after about three weeks, and the day after the Marine Corps saw fit to award him the Navy Cross for the actions near Khe Sahn;( 4 hours before the LZ incident, his Recon Team had called in an ARC Light B-52 strike on the 433rd North Vietnamese Infantry Regiment just over the border in Laos and managed to reduce its strength from about 4,000 to less than 200, unfortunately the 200 troops they missed with the 2,000lb bombs, spotted them and they were pretty pissed off, thus the chase to the LZ.) He applied for Officer Candidate School and was accepted, upon graduation he was commissioned a 2LT in the Marine Corps Intelligence Branch.

His career lasted over thirty years included assignment to Kosovo, the European Command, and was the Commander of the 1st Regt/1st Marine Division during the Gulf War and had personally led the counter attack at Khafji when the Iraq Republican Guards attacked. When he did retire he was a ‘Bird Colonel’ in the Intelligence branch of the Corps and was a recognized subject matter expert on the Middle East geopolitical sphere. He then applied for and was accepted as a CIA field agent, where after Black ops assignments to Pakistan, Syria, and Iran he rose to the office of Assistant Deputy Director, Middle East Operations.

As he was catching up Dusty on all of this the hair on the back of his neck began to tickle not only because the Helo Crew were behind him out by the chopper, but it began to occur to Dusty this was more than a friendly visit, and why did he keep calling me Gunny, I was a staff Sergeant when I retired, would a made Gunnery Sergeant on the next round but was medically retired before it happened.

Dusty broke into his story of the retaking of Khafji with “OK Bones, you didn’t come here on a Sunday to shoot the shit or get a glass of my hooch when you can afford the really good stuff, so what you after?”

Jim reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper. “Gunny a couple months ago you had an ‘incident’ out in the back country. Now hold on we’re not here to jam you up over it. In fact you still don’t really even have to admit it happened but trust me I know it did. What I don’t think you know is you stepped into a pile of shit my old friend and I’m here to make sure you are taking precautions, and we also want your help.”

Dusty’s hair on the back of his neck was now firmly at attention, since a couple months back he had come across some coyote’s hauling drugs, weapons, and a couple of illegals in the desert. Worse came to worse and he had to shoot the coyotes, he let the illegals go and sold the drugs and most of the weapons off, made about $80K that he really didn’t need but it was nice having the spare change.

Living alone in the Arizona desert for the last 15 years had made this former Marine Non Commissioned Officer distrustful of other people, or was it the other way around? Did he moved here cause he was that way by nature, either way Dusty was both suspicious and intrigued by the direction of the conversation.

“Bones, I’m not sure I need or want your help or vice a versa, first of all no one’s got any proof I did anything, (Jim began reaching in his other jacket pocket as Dusty spoke) on any given date in question, and second, why you keep calling me Gunny?”

Jim flipped open a pocket video machine and said “watch this gunny.”

Dusty went pale as the screen in thermal imaging black and white showed a scene around a campfire with a bearded man talking to six other men, suddenly there were white flashes and four of the men fell to the ground and as the life went out of them so did there body heat and they faded to black. Dusty remembered the night and damn if it wasn’t all there in black and white.

“So what brings you, and the CIA to me about this? I thought you guys covered international stuff aren’t there rules about this shit? And you said you need my help when you can do this why you need me?”

Jim replied “ I wanted first to warn you that you have crossed the Zata Cartel, these guys are Mexican Spec Ops gone rouge. They are very good at what they do and had they been Zata members on that run instead of contractors, it may well have had a different result. Needless to say, they are pretty cheesed off about you taking their dope and guns, not sure if they could track you but if I can they may well be able to. I would raise my alert level if I were you, maybe even consider moving. The two guys you let go were operatives of mine, and that’s the other reason I’m here.”

He went on “ We know something is fishy with Zata beyond the norm of running illegals, guns and drugs. Look at this map, you see the blue dots, those are coyote interceptions during the night you made your play, its marked in yellow. Since then we have had less and less activity and no interceptions, yet we know they’re moving people across the border since they keep leaving their bases. That means Zata has stopped contracting and are doing it themselves, top it all off the price of coke is going through the roof so we know they’ve curtailed running it for now. We also know they’re getting by us down at the border cause of how much further North yours was, could be we got a bad ass in the system, that’s why for your protection you only deal with me. I have to warn you Dusty this is what we call ‘extraconstitutional’ at the office since I’m not supposed to be ‘fact finding’ in the US. But sometimes shit starts falling together and we have to follow the trail. I need you to be my south Arizona Recon element cause if I use any other assets I put the op at risk.

Right now your need to know is limited but if my suspicions are true this could be some deep shit coming out of the Middle East. Will you help me Gunny?”

Dusty replied, “Why the F___ you keep calling me Gunny?”

Jim looked him in the eye and said with a wry smile, “ At this point you don’t have a need to know.”

Dusty took his hand and raised his glass and said “Semper fi Boss”

Jim raised one arm and motioned for the flight crew to join them, he looked at Dusty and said “ My boys and girls here are gonna help you with some equipment and communications gear..”

Neither of them could know at that minute just how much things were going to change for them both, and how much more so for the rest of the World…

Copyright October 2010 all rights reserved JH Ellis Sr


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    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 

      8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      I stand corrected sir, uh, I mean Sergeant!

      Those were at least in that way, the good old days when an enlisted man could fly! I thought all pilots had to be officers even before WW2. I guess that means there is no shortage of pilots today.

      Want me to do some pushups for being mouthy? ;-)

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Alexander - The last Army NCO Pilot didn't retire until 1971, I don't know about the USMC, but one of their top aces in WWII was SGT Joe Foss. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      GH - Thanks for stopping by, Glad you enjoyed the read.

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 

      8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      This is fantastic, get to see some of 50's history ;-) I was laughing until I sobered up about the part with all the gore because that is true to life.

      I gotta be a stickler though about one thing, an NCO pilot????

      This is so well written, it reminds me of a book I just read about a Vietnam helicopter pilot, can't remember the title for the life of me...

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 

      8 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      OMG, that is so funny that you refer back to a hub Dusty wrote. LMAO

      Good job on this one

      voted up

      Tina. On to the next!

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      50 cal - Joint Task Force Bravo was some interesting times.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      Hammer, looking good, I have seen some stuff pop up as I scan and sort pictures in regard to mixing fact with fiction, as well as US interdiction with the Contras, in Nicaragua 1979-83, who was running that show and flying for the CIA insertions and extractions and who they were inserting along with US Arms, just a thought, peace 50

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thanks for stopping by Poohgran hope you enjoy the future chapeters as well

    • Poohgranma profile image


      8 years ago from On the edge

      Dang, all this battle talk reminds me of sitting with my ear against the wall, listening from the other room while my ex and his buddy would drink a few and talk about Nam. Women folk were not allowed in such discussions and rightly so since anyone who hadn't been there wouldn't have a clue in Hell what they were actually putting words to.

      I had two PTSD vets in my past, one who lived like a vet before he ever got drafted and seemed to find his fit and the other who got my face and a long ago memory mixed up on a few occasions.

      Interesting stuff to say the least and using Dusty is the icing on the cake for me!

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      G3Duce - Thanks for the read, hope you like the rest of whats up and more is on the way.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Dang it, Hammer! I had to go and click on this thing, and already I kin see it's gonna be a PROBLEM. Keeping the facts in order "by the numbers" as usual, then:

      1. I should be typing my stuff, not reading yours, but I'm hooked. What didja put in it, ennyway--some a that Zata Cartel Addicto-Dust? ('Course, I'd already gotten myself prehooked on the prequel to this one, but what addict is going to be honest about anything, eh?)

      2. When I'm not cussing myself for being too weak to stay away from the tale you two are tellin', I'm gonna prob'ly be cussin' AT you fer not gittin' more written. Which is ironic as Hell since some of my readers have been chewing ME out for being too slow on one of my fictional tour de forces.

      That said, and all chuckling aside, I really lived that bayonet battle despite having been a mere Army wire rat and never having seen any (official) combat. Being just barely too old for the M16, we did our training and tours with M14s. And I was so good at bayonet fighting that when we went to "prove ourselves" on the course, I managed to jam the bolt against the target dummy and rip the web between thumb & forefinger on one long lunge.

      Killed the dummy, though, and the ones that came after. Hope that counts.

      Not much compared to the real, live action results...but just enough to appreciate the story line.

      (*Mutters to self. Must write before reading next episode. Must...must...must.... Gettin' musty in here....*)

    • aguasilver profile image

      John Harper 

      8 years ago from Malaga, Spain

      Great stuff and following avidly, keep em coming...

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Mickey - More to come soon I hope still clearing a few logs out the gray matter. Thanks

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Great write and it has a great hero for the leading role. Dusty plays himself! God bless!

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      Hammer, I didn't realize I "Please don't keep us waiting like 50 has with his hub!" had done this. I haven't finished retyping the all cap article and am not sure I will, but you have made this an inviting topic to carry on with, so I'm studying on another go at it, it will take me half a day with two finger punching to finish round one and then after your next run at it divulging the storyline of why the promotion and the "need to know" hook one might find it easier to contribute a bit more. I've thought about it and now you have generated a new interest into following through on it. You have done well here and I like the style you've given to it, keep up the good work, dusty.

    • rkhyclak profile image


      9 years ago from Ohio

      Great read! Voted up :)

    • eovery profile image


      9 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      Hey, this is neat.

      Keep on hubbing!

    • breakfastpop profile image


      9 years ago

      Absolutely fantastic read. Of course, I believe every word. Dusty is a fascinating guy, isn't he? Voted up and awesome, Hmr.

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 

      9 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      Great follow up to Dusty's Hub. You two should write a movie or TV series on this escapade!!!!!!!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This first installment was a great read! I enjoyed it so much I returned to 50's links and re-read them. You brought your two characters Bones and Dusty alive so quickly and since we have a connection on hubpages to 50, it is all that more entertaining. Can't wait for the next one! Please don't keep us waiting like 50 has with his hub! Great job!


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