By: Wayne Brown
My real name is Frank Tilley and I have been in the witness protection program now for over six years. My entire existence is a sham starting with my name which for security purposes is now Hayden Tyler. I have lived the lie now for so long that it is second nature to me. I can repeat my entirely fabricated life story and not miss one detail…that is how deeply the façade has been drilled into me. Of course, it is all done for my protection and my ability to be a free man living in this world. Actually, that is far from the case, as I am truly a prisoner of what I have seen and what I know which cannot be erased from the files of my mind.
It all started back in Hendersonville, Kentucky in 2001. I was twenty-two at the time and working in a steel mill where my dad had spent most of his life. The union wages were good and the work was hard but it was an honest living for a guy who just wanted to earn a paycheck and drink a cold beer every now and again. Things were going pretty well until the second year on the job. That’s when the trouble started and headed me down the path to my current destination.
One day in early March a man in his early forties came to work on the line near my station. It was no big deal; workers came and went all the time. He was just another in a long line who would either stick or tire of the sweat and the heat of mill life. The supervisor brought him around and introduced him to the other guys. His name was George Phillips. He carried a John Deere baseball cap in his back pocket which wore on breaks in place of his hard hat. Otherwise he seemed that just like your average Joe trying to make a living.
One day on break, George asked me if I had ever been in the military. I replied that I had done a hitch out of high school with the Army that eventually landed me in a Special Forces unit prior to my decision to move back into civilian life. He seemed pleased to hear that and more and more on breaks he would approach me and question me about what I did in the Army. He was particularly interested in talking about weapons and their capabilities and use. I just figured him for some kind of want-to-be gun nut. I answered his questions the best that I could on those things that I knew.
The following Friday, around lunchtime, George came around and told me that he was having a little get together with some friends out in the country a ways outside of town. He wanted to know if I would show up and join the fun. It all seemed innocent enough and I had no plans so I agreed to show up. When I asked for directions, he told me to meet him at a little country store out on Route 8, south of town. He said that he would show me the way from there. He even said that he would supply the beer.
I showed up as planned at the Country Inn General Store at 9 AM sharp on Saturday morning. I shut off the truck engine and sat waiting for George to show. In a few minutes a green Hum-Vee caught my eye pulling into the parking area. George was at the wheel and he had a passenger riding shotgun with him. George waved to me to join them in the Hum-Vee. As soon as I was seated in the vehicle, he backed out of the parking place and headed south on Route 8. A few minutes down the road, George pulled over on to the wide shoulder and set the brake. He tossed me a black strip of cloth and told me that I needed to tie it securely around my eyes so that I could not see. When I asked the reason, he stated that the location where were headed to was secret and secure therefore, as a visitor, I was not allowed to know the whereabouts. At this point, things seemed to be getting quite interesting and I was beginning to quiz myself as to what could be going on here. I tied the cloth in place and settled back for the blind ride. The man riding shotgun had yet to say a word or to introduce himself.
After driving for about an hour, George pulled to a stop and told me to remove the blindfold. I looked about to see that we were on a small dirt road surrounded by trees. It looked like a whole lot of places around the Hendersonville, Kentucky area. George continued to drive for another fifteen minutes before we came to a large fenced compound with signs on it warning that it was a private game reserve restricted to entry by employees and clients. As we approached, the gates of the compound swung open rather magically allowing us to continue our journey into the compound. As we traveled into the dense growth of trees, we soon came into a clearing which contained a cabin and a number of outbuildings with various configurations. We parked in front of the cabin and George signaled for us to move into the cabin.
The cabin was basically one large room with several temporary partitions scattered about. There were two smaller rooms with doorways at the back. George motioned us over to a table in the kitchen area as he opened the refrigerator and pulled out three beers. He set the beers on the table in front of us and took a seat himself.
“Frank, this here’s Cecil Price. He’s our Commander-In-Chief of the militia. I have been telling him about you and your background. We thought that it was time that we all got together and talked about how you could help us out with your skills,” George said then took a sip of the beer.
Cecil then spoke up. “We’ve been looking for a man like you for a while. The military type who can bring us some knowledge of weapons and also add some talent and military experience to our operation. We have some fine men in this outfit but some of them lack the necessary military discipline and acumen which will be necessary as we progress toward our objective. Based on what George has told me, I think you could be a fine addition to our operation and also have the opportunity to be a key figure in the development of our organization and our mission. On that basis, we took the chance on bringing you out here to our compound. If you are interested, we’ll show you around and then bring you back out for our next training exercise. What do you say?”
I quickly took a long pull on the beer trying my best not to look too dumbfounded in coming to understand that I was sitting here in the midst of two grown men talking about playing “army” and they wanted me to join in the game. If I had enjoyed the sport that much I could have stayed in my old job with the Special Forces. Besides that, I had no idea what these guys were up to with all of this. Was this a bunch of guys who got together on weekends for paintball wars or were these some certified nuts bent on taking over the country? I didn’t want to assume too much too early and I certainly didn’t want to offend them since they were my ride back to town. So I decided to play along until I could gain the high ground and make my decision when I didn’t need a ride back to town.
“Well, to be honest with you, I left the military because I was a bit tired of all that stuff and wanted to get back to my old life. Since I have no idea what you are doing, I think I would need more information before I made up my mind as to whether I want to join up,” I replied as politely as I could muster and then leaned back and took another long swig of beer.
“Well, that seems reasonable, Frank. Now understand that we can’t just tell you everything right here and now as there are issues of trust and secrecy but I can share with you that our organization is well-staffed with good patriotic men. We have a rather large force spread out over multiple states and our intention is to prepare ourselves for the coming downfall of the American government. You know, a man can’t depend on the government anymore. I have a few articles here that I have printed off the Internet which sum up a lot of what we are about. I think this will give you a general idea. If you like and agree with what you read here, then we can get into greater detail about our operations. As I indicated earlier, we could certainly use your talents and experience to build our organization,” Cecil said shoving a stack of papers in my direction.
I glanced at the inch high stack of articles and said, “I’ll need some time to read through all of this and get my thoughts together. If things look good, I could be interested and maybe even able to help you out.”
“Well, that sounds mighty fine, don’t it George. Listen, Frank. You take your time and read through this material. If you have any questions, just ask George and we’ll get you and answer. Now, I’d say we have accomplished all we can here today with this little powwow. We can adjourn and George will drive you back to your vehicle. I sure hope to hear that you’ll be joining us soon, Frank,” Cecil said as he stood up from the table and smiled extending his hand out to me. I stood and shook his hand. He then turned and walked through one of the doorways into one of the back rooms. George motioned to me to head for the Hum-Vee for the return trip.
George blindfolded me again for the initial portion of our trip back to the pickup. I could have cared less as my gut was telling me that I probably did not want to know the direction back to this place anyway. We made small talk along the way back about work and a fishing trip which George had taken to Canada a few months back. Once we arrived back at the country store, George shook my hand and departed with a “see you on Monday” line.
By the time I arrived back in Hendersonville, it was after 3 PM. I had no plans and decided that I would just stop into one of my watering holes near the house, have a beer, and look over some of the material that Cecil had given me. As I turned the corner on to Maple Street, I saw the sign for the Rusty Schooner burning brightly, well kind of brightly with only three bulbs working out of then ten adorning the sign. I guess that is what attracted me to the place early on…the sign. I parked and walked inside. By the lack of clientele, I could see that I owned the place for this early hour of the afternoon. I grabbed a stool at the bar and ordered a draft beer in a frosty mug. Rick, the afternoon bartender, quickly filled the mug and sent it sliding my way on the bar. Rick had talent.
Just as I was about to tackle my reading assignment, the front door of the Schooner opened and a lone gent walked into the place and took a seat two stools away at the bar. He and Rick talked a bit and then he ordered a scotch straight up. I took a cold sip of beer and began to read my first article.
“Is your name, Frank Tilley?” The voice asked. I looked up from my paper and noticed the man sitting near by staring down at his scotch. “Don’t look up, don’t even act like you see me or are talking to me. I know you are Frank Tilley and we need to talk but for right now, you need to listen. You are being followed and observed since your return from your trip. When you get to work on Monday, make it apparent somehow that you will be visiting your old uncle in the nursing home over on Slidell Street after work. Show up there around 6 PM and we will talk. I will give you more information then.” With that, the stranger turned up the glass of scotch and consumed it. He slapped the glass back on the counter and walked out never so much as looking at me in the process. Now, I was beginning to wander why I was so popular around this area. I was also wondering who it was that was following me.
Monday morning came around soon enough as the weekends seemed short in those days. I was not looking forward to seeing George as I had neglected to read the material as of yet. I had read enough in the first article to get the just of things so choking down more of the stuff had become a chore. Of course just the opposite was true of George. It was as if he could not wait to see me. As soon as the first break came around, he cornered me up with questions. Then at lunch he was back at it again. He wanted to have a couple of beers after work and discuss things. I put him off telling him that I was overdue to visit my old uncle in the nursing home. I would have catch up with him on the beer later in the week. He seemed to understand that logic.
At 6 PM I walked into the lobby area of Hendersonville Care Management. The receptionist peered up from her desk and asked if she could help me. Obviously, I was not someone she recognized. I stumbled over my words trying to tell her that I was there to visit my old uncle. At the mention of the old uncle she stood and told me to wait in the lobby and she would return quickly the necessary information. True to her word, she was back in a matter of minutes. She waved to me to follow her as she guided me to a door at the back of the lobby. She punched in a code and pulled the door open for me. I stepped through as she told me to proceed to Room #16 down on the left side of the hall. I nodded my understanding and she closed the door behind me.
The door to room #16 was slightly ajar and I tapped lightly on it as I pushed the door open for my entry. The man I had seen in the bar was sitting at a table in the far corner of the room shuffling papers. He looked up and rose quickly from his chair and came to greet me as I entered the room.
“Thank you for coming here, Mr. Tilley. My name is Hoyt Towers and I am with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I wanted to visit with you for a few minutes today and possibly exchange some information and ideas if you are not opposed to taking a few minutes to do that with me,” The man stated as he extended his arm to show me the FBI credentials in his left hand.
“Well, I am not sure what it is that I can offer the FBI in terms of information or ideas but I am a pretty good listener so I will hear you out. My only connection to the government is the time I spent in the Army Special Forces,” I replied moving toward the chair at the table that Towers had indicated that I should sit on.
Towers took his chair on the other side of the table. “Can I offer you something to drink…coffee, water, a soft drink possibly? I motioned back to him that was not necessary anxious to get on with whatever business was at hand.
“Mr. Tilley, I am talking to you on a hunch and if that hunch proves to be wrong on my part then I may have some significant explaining to do to my bosses as to how I could blow the bottom out of such an important project. For several months now, we have been operating out of these makeshift offices with the nursing home as a front. It is legitimate but they do not need all the space thus are happy to lease a few offices out to the government for administrative purposes. It is a nice cover and has worked quite well for us especially in a community of this size where an FBI type can easily stand out.” I nodded my understanding of what he was saying and continued to listen.
“Our focus here is the surveillance of The Exalted Ranks of the Essex Militia,” Tower continued.
I immediately held up my hand indicating that I did not understand. “Sorry but I am afraid you might be confused as I am not aware of such an organization,” I stated.
“You are but you aren’t Mr. Tilley. The organization to which I refer is the one which he enjoyed a Saturday outing with this past weekend. Maybe they did not mention the name as such but you were in the company of the two highest ranking men in the organization. And when I say organization, I am not using that word loosely. They currently are developing operations at varying levels in 27 different states throughout the nation. They have a strong organizational structure and a quite secure and redundant communications system. Most of the organizations of this type we take down in a matter of months. This one is much different and very unique. They are lacking a bit in experience and discipline at this point and it is my guess that maybe that is why they are courting you to become part of the organization.” Towers explained.
“Oh, you don’t have to worry about that. On the front end, I thought is was some kind of weekend hunting club, you know, just some gun enthusiasts getting together to blow off a bit of steam on the weekends. Once I got the jest of what they were talking about, I knew that I wanted no part of such an operation. In fact, I thought it was rather humorous that grown men would delve in such boyish behavior.” I was quick to reply hoping Towers did not yet have plans to arrest me.
“Mr. Tilley, excuse me, may I call you, Frank? Towers quickly shot back. I nodded my approval as I had never really become accustomed to the “Mr. Tilley” thing at any time in my life.
“Look Frank, I think you might be missing my point. We want you to join this organization. In fact, we would like it if you jumped in with both feet and made yourself rather indispensable to these people. You see, the sophistication of their communications network deprives us of the knowledge that we need to bring this thing down. We need someone inside; someone who can be trusted and someone they depend on greatly. The more they depend on you, the more they will tell you, it is just that simple. In effect, you will be working for the FBI as an undercover agent. Now, if you turn me down on this, I will tell you that we may have to temporarily remove you from the area, at least until we find another way to dispense with this group. Am I making myself clear here, Frank?
I nodded my understanding without as much as a word. My head was spinning with questions and with doubt. This is the kind of stuff they make movies about…movies I would not be starring in, at least not in my mind.
“Frank, we have to have an inside man and you could be that guy. Approaching you was a rather brave move on their part. Taking you out to that compound reinforced that decision. Obviously you must have some information or talent which they desire? Do you have any idea what that would be? Towers asked.
“Well, once they found out that I spent time in the Army Special Forces, it was at that point where the real interest began. When one of them found out that I had some special weapons expertise then that seemed to make it even more interesting to them. I mean I know some things with regard to weapons and their various applications and a bit about warfare strategy but honestly, I don’t consider myself an expert in the field by any means. That, along with the fact that it all seems a bit nutty, was the reason that I planned to let them down easy,” I stated wishing now that I had that soft drink to wet my dry mouth.
“That doesn’t matter, Frank. The important thing is that you have far more experience than they do with your Special Forces training. In their mind, you are really a rare catch and you can help train a bunch of those rednecks which they have recruited into a dangerous and organized force. We will make sure you have all the expertise that you need. Anything that you are unsure of, you bring it to us and we will get you spun up on the subject quickly. All you have to do is keep coming back to the nursing home here and visiting with your old uncle. You’ll be doing your country a great service by doing this and you will help the FBI to render a very dangerous element ineffective with the information that you can potentially capture and feed back to us. Do we have a deal, Frank? Towers said as he stared straight into my eyes and extended his right hand to offer a hand shake.
“As you might guess, I am still quite the patriot even though my military service is over. At the same time, based on what you have told me here, I don’t see that I have a lot of other alternatives unless I say ‘no’ and let you haul me away to God knows where. Yeah, you can count me in but please don’t get me killed if you can help it” I said.
“Oh, we’ll take very good care of you, Frank. You have just become a very valuable asset to the United States government,” Towers laughed and shook my hand.
We finished up the discussion with Towers instructing me as to how I should respond to the recruitment request and what information I should play up to them. He emphasized that I had to make myself important to these guys so I could get to the inner circle and find out whatever I could about their future plans. I agreed and we set up a meeting for the following Monday in the same spot.
II – MILITIA:
From that point forward, my life changed. I read all the material given to me by Price and soaked up as much information as I could. I did some background reading on the Internet regarding various militia groups which had existed in the USA in previous years and tried to familiarize myself with keys names in those organizations. If name dropping would help, then I would use it. For now, I was hoping that my special ops training and weapons knowledge would be the payoff as I did not have to fake that stuff.
My days were filled with working in the mill and many of my weekends were spent at the compound with George and Cecil getting my indoctrination of the organization. I did notice right away that they were still quite guarded in the information and most of what I as receiving I probably could have found out on the Internet with a decent Google search query. At any rate, I was patient and waited for just the right opening. I did get a tour of the compound and found out there was a significant weapons and ammunition storage on site. Cecil said that tour would have to wait for a while. I also learned they had combat exercise areas of varying descriptions and that these same types of compounds were being built in the other areas of the country. All of this information I passed along to Towers in our Monday meetings as I continued to pretend to make my visits to see my dear old uncle in the nursing home. I still had not learned the whereabouts of the compound but that would come in due time as the trust level improved I was sure.
One Saturday morning I sat drinking coffee in the cabin with George and Cecil. Cecil asked me if I had any proficiency in inner-city warfare and close-hand combat. I told him that I did and pointed out that it was one of the areas in which I was most knowledgeable. Then he hit me with a question about whether or not I could train small groups of men to a level of proficiency of a SWAT team. He told me he was interested in training several units to be placed strategically around the country. These would be men who could operate a variety of weapons, work in efficient harmony, and get in and out quickly in performing their assigned mission. He also indicated that they must be able to deal with munitions and be proficient in the art of killing. I told him that all of that was achievable over some reasonable period of time given the right mix of men, equipment, and training. He and George looked at each other and smiled…very large smiles.
Cecil explained the timeline to me. I had 18 months to get things in order. That was plenty of time but I was curious as to how many people I would be training over that period. His answer shocked me a bit when he said there would be ten eight man teams with two backups for each team. That’s 100 men to train. That was possible but not easy. I asked if we could plan all the training to take place in the compound and that is when he dropped the brick on me.
“Look, Frank, you’ve been around a while now and have gotten to know a few of our people. If we are going to make this plan fly, I am going to have to bring you in on it so that I can show you the full scope of what we have to accomplish. Now I am asking you right here and now, do you have any regrets about coming on board and do you have any reluctance to take on this mission. If you do, now is the time to speak up and get out. If you take it any further, there’s no getting out, at least not alive. Do you get my drift?” Cecil Price said staring at me very intently. One thing was for sure, he was not joking. Even I could see that in his eyes.
“Sure, Cecil, I am in. You have spiked my interest now and this stuff is right down my alley. Hell, if the Army had given me this chance I would have still been with them. I am definitely on board…100% on board,” I said returning Cecil’s gaze.
“Well alright then…let’s all adjourn to my back office and discuss the details more specifically. Then, Frank my man, you can get on with developing and training and preparing us for our mission,” Cecil stated placing his hand on my shoulder and urging me in the direction of his backroom office.
Once inside the office with the door secure, we all sat down around a conference table in the middle of the large room. Cecil unveiled a map of the United States complete with colored push-pins marking various locations. There were ten pins scattered about mostly over the states east of the Mississippi.
“Now take at look at this map, Frank, and tell me what you think this is about,” Cecil instructed.
“I assume this must be the ten locations where you want to train these teams, Cecil. There are ten pins in the map,” I replied.
“You are partially correct,” Cecil shot back, “But not entirely. These are the locations of the ten largest Muslim mosques which have been built to date in the USA. Now you are correct in that we do want to train our teams in the vicinity of these sites. Our mission here, Frank, is to come up with ten SWAT-like teams who can perpetrate a cleansing actions on these mosques while the members are there in ceremony. We need to hit fast, eradicate the enemy and then deploy munitions such that the facility is left to rubble. If we are properly trained, we will be in and back out before even the local police can respond and certainly long before any military units could rally to the scene. Then, we’ll simply disappear back into the woodwork of America and go about our normal daily lives until we are needed again for such actions. This will be the pay back for what these bastards did to us on 9-11. You see what I mean?” Cecil related pointing to the various pin positions on the map.
The details of the plan hit me like a ton of bricks. In fact it was all that I could do not to vomit right there on the floor as I soaked up the evilness and death associated with such a plan. Surely I was not hiding the look of shock and surprise that must be dripping off my face. Quickly I thought to recover.
“Gee, Cecil, this is absolute genius. I am shocked and awed. Nobody would think of this. Nobody would be expecting it. This is incredible and can you imagine the message that it will send all around the world…don’t screw with the USA.” I quickly said covering my agonizing shock.
Cecil’s ego was soaring and the grin on his face told me how brilliant he thought this plan would be. One thing was for sure…these were some sick sons-a-bitches and I was part of them now. The urge to vomit welled up into my throat again and I had to fight it off to maintain my composure.
Cecil then went into greater detail describing each location and how we might assault it then asking me for my input about tactics and weapons. We talked into the late hours of that Saturday night before the meeting finally came to an end.
As we walked out to George’s Hum-Vee for the ride back to the country store, Cecil reiterated his trust and the seriousness of what he had just shared with me.
“Frank, need I remind you how sensitive and important what you just saw is to the cause of our organization? Only a handful of men in this entire organization possess that knowledge. The rest are here on blind faith. We have to trust you because you bring those elements we need to put the final pieces of this plan in place. If we do this right, ten mosques will go down simultaneously and hundreds upon hundreds of Muslims will die at our hands. Need I remind you the price of this information getting on the streets? Spill your guts to anyone, and I mean anyone, and your days will be numbered in this organization and on this earth. Comprende, my amigo? Cecil said placing one big hand on my right should and looking me squarely in the eyes.
“Comprende!…I get it. You can count on me, Cecil. I will have these guys trained in no time. I only have one concern and that is how I am going to work and do this training at the same time,” I replied looking back at Cecil through the passenger window of the Hum-Vee.
Cecil laughed. “That’s all taken care of. You’ll turn in your notice on Monday. On Tuesday, you come to work full-time right here and with a raise I might add. George will fill you in on the details on the way back.”
George related all the details of my resignation at the mill. I was to tell them that my old uncle in the nursing home required more and more of my time so I had to look for other work which allowed my to adjust my schedule to take on that responsibility. George said that the story would give me a cover for any of the guys in the shop who was wondering what my intentions were going to be. I nodded agreement. For the first time, George had not blindfolded me. I reminded of that fact as we drove through the gate of the compound. He then told me that it was time I knew where I was so that I could drive out here on Tuesday for work. It was just that easy. I started paying attention to little landmarks here and there to mark my way back.
On the following Monday after work I was back in Room 216 at the nursing facility with my old uncle, Hoyt Towers. The plan to attack mosques totally caught him off guard as it was not something that the FBI figured to be a mainstream strategy for a militia group. After thinking about it for a while, Towers decided that it was indeed plausible and if successful could play out as one of the largest hate crime events within the borders of the United States. He encouraged me to get more information, more specifics, to get as involved as I possibly could without arousing suspicion. He promised me resources and also indicated that I could expect to see some deposits being made to my checking account from unidentifiable sources as a reward for my service. I don’t mind making an extra buck especially when I am getting paid by both sides but I don’t want to get killed doing it and I let Towers know that in no uncertain terms. I had marked the coordinates of the compound in my cell phone gps app so I also passed that information to him prior to departing the meeting.
The following Saturday I met Cecil and George out at the cabin in the compound and we began working on the training plan for the next eighteen months. I convinced Cecil that the most efficient approach would be to bring two men into the compound from each strategic location to train with me. I would train the initial 20 candidates for the teams and they would in turn return to their bases and conduct training in their local units. We could use the communications system to standardize on procedures and to coordinate on our various weapon and munitions needs. In time, we would have the training at a high level of proficiency and have our operating procedures standardized to carry out the plan in synchronic coordination. Cecil liked the idea from the start especially when he realized how much time it cut off of the process of getting things in place by the target date. Based on the 18 month preparation period, I had some approximation of the timing but I did not yet know the date. I had to work on that angle. Cecil and George then took me out into the compound and we went to the munitions storage bunker hidden in a heavily wooded area totally built underground. When I realized that they were going to actually show me the munitions stores, I knew that I had gained their trust.
As we stepped through the doors of the underground bunker and turned on the lights, I let out a low whistle and said, “Wow, you’ve got more than enough here to equip a small army and equip them very well. I am impressed. With this stuff, we can truly build a first-rate rapid response group capable of launching a surprise attack almost anywhere.”
George was grinning from ear to ear as Cecil chimed in, “You can thank George here for all of this. He has done all of the footwork in getting the money and finding the merchandise in various parts of the world. Getting it to this spot and maintaining our secrecy has been a real trick but George has pulled it off with no one the wiser.” George was now nodding his head in agreement. I walked about taking note of the various types of munitions and weapons in the storage. I also told Cecil that it would be good if I had a complete print out of the inventory so that I could use it to plan the initial training program. Cecil looked at George nodding his approval to get it handled.
The wheels were quickly put into motion to pull in the recruits for training. I was allowed to review the profiles of potential candidates from each geographical area and choose the two that I felt would be best for both the training and the instruction to follow in their home base. I quickly assembled a list of the 20 recruits and passed it on to Cecil. Within a couple of weeks, all twenty had arrived at the compound barracks and were ready to begin the training. I too had moved temporarily to the compound with the understanding that I need to return to town at least one a week to visit my old uncle in the nursing facility. I was making my visits with Towers and relaying all new information. He was pleased with the results to say the least. Now, I had to focus on the training and produce some strong results to impress Cecil and George.
Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. I started with a strong physical regimen and worked all the recruits into top physical condition. We ran everywhere we went and we logged long exhausting days. As time moved along we incorporated a variety of weapon proficiencies from field stripping an M-16 to operating light field mortars. Then we added munitions training working with C-4 explosive materials and timed fuses; building makeshift field bombs from pipe material and anything we could get our hands on that was nearby. We studied survival techniques and interrogation resistance. The final phase incorporated hand to hand combat techniques with emphasis on using methods designed to either greatly impair or kill the opponent. During the final week of training, I arranged a live fire demonstration planned around a surprise attack on a makeshift in-city building. Cecil and George attended the demonstration along with the key commanders from each geographical site. Watching the whole thing come together, even I was impressed with what we had accomplished in a matter of months as a cohesive team.
After the demonstration, the team members and their commanders departed back to their bases with a plan to implement the same training on a local basis. My job now became that of a coordinator to stay in the training teams via the discreet communications channels to make sure their progress was up to speed, the quality was maintained and we were on target for the launch of the mission. I used this assignment as the basis to approach Cecil to get the crucial information that I required…the target date of the mission.
I sat in Cecil’s office sipping coffee from a Styrofoam cup. “Cecil, it’s not a big deal but I think I could fine tune my coordination of this training in the remote sites if I knew the drop dead date that we were working against. If I knew that I could work the system backwards and see how much cushion we had if there are any hiccups along the way.” I said as Cecil sat across from me at his desk.
He looked at me with a blank stare and was silent for a long moment, rubbed his chin and said, “Yeah, that makes sense but actually I am a bit disappointed in you. I would have thought that you would have that date pinned down by now the way things are progressing, Frank.”
I looked at him questioningly and shrugged my shoulders. “I guess you give me too much credit, Cecil. Man, I haven’t got a clue except to say that I know our eighteen month training period runs out at the end of August.” I replied.
“Look at the calendar there on the wall, Frank.” Cecil said pointing to the big calendar with all twelve months displayed on one surface. I did as he instructed and looked at the month of August. Then, it hit me….September 11, 2012…the anniversary of the attack on the Trade Center. I repeated the date out loud as I stared at the calendar, “September 11, 2012…of course, why didn’t I think of that?” I added looking back at Cecil.
“We have to move while our training in fresh in the minds of these men so that they make no mistakes and we all get out safe and sound. The American public will love it that our little militia has struck a blow for democracy and eradicated a large bunch of these people from the earth. Though we’ll be in hiding, they will be out in the streets celebrating our actions. You’ll be a big part of that too, Frank. A big part…I want you to lead the team that will make the strike on the Louisville facility.”
Cecil’s last statement caught me completely off guard but I regained my composure in time to recover and reply accordingly, “I was hoping you would ask me. I really appreciate your trust.” I said extending my hand to shake his across the desk. “You can count on me, Cecil.” No sooner had the words come out than I was overcome with the urge to barf. These sick bastards were dead serious about this and actually believed that it would be seen as a patriotic act by the American people. One thing was for sure, this operation had to be shut down before the act could be executed. There was no way I was participating in such a hideous scenario. I would be sure that Towers understood that clearly.
I met with Towers as usual on the following Monday. He was surprised and shocked when I told him what the target was and when they intended to carry out the act. He sat in silence for a bit just taking in all he had heard from me.
“Hoyt, I have gone along with whatever you asked for up to now and I am really glad to be helping to expose this operation. But, I’m telling you right now, I don’t plan to go on that operation if I have to shoot myself in the leg to avoid. I will not participate in the killing of innocent people to gain a prosecution of these people. I will not,” I stated, firmly looking Towers squarely in the eyes as he sat across the table from me.
“I understand, Frank, and I can assure you that I will not let it go that far. We cannot take that chance that a slip up would allow the potential for harm to any innocents. I am already working with the ATF on their role in this case. Due to the size of the operation, we will require much of their field manpower plus a considerable portion of the FBI tactical team units to round all of them up. But, our timing has to be right. We have to launch when they have to most people in position in their compounds. Now that we have the coordinate locations of those sites, it only makes sense to carry out the raids in those locations. I am thinking the teams will be in place in the compounds the night before so they can launch from there on the 11th. We’ll take them then but you have to confirm that or maybe even suggest it to them,” Towers replied.
I nodded my understanding and got up to leave the meeting.
“Oh, and Frank, one more thing, from here on in, I need you to start wearing a wire so that we can monitor your situation and respond accordingly. If they get wind of what is going on here, they’ll try to dispense with you on short notice. We have to be ready to respond to that possibility,” Towers said as he rose and pulled the electronic device from a box beside his seat. I agreed and we set about put the device in police and getting me familiar with how it worked. This unit not only let me record what they were saying, I could also communicate with it if I required assistance.
The months ticked off like seconds on a clock it seemed. The training at the remote sites was on schedule. George and I had made visits to each site and reviewed the local plan of attack with the key individuals I marked coordinates on my cell phone GPS whenever possible and was actually able to take a photo or two as we congratulated each other on the success of the training. George and I posed with the team leaders at all of the sites. I had convinced him that it would be good to have these shots later when we celebrated our accomplishments. George thought it was a good idea.
The first week in September, George and I were back at the Hendersonville compound. We met with Cecil and reviewed our visits and discussed the final aspects of the plan. It was at this point that I thought the timing was right to throw out my idea.
“Look, Cecil, if I am going to lead the Louisville raid, I would like to have some input into the strategy. I would like to bring our team into the compound the night before so that we can review plans down to the last minute and then head to the location as a unit instead of a haphazard arrival from all points. You know, maybe use a couple of fifteen passenger vans for the trip in and out,” I suggested as we drank beer on the cabin porch.
“I think that is a great idea ,Frank. In fact I like it so much, I think we should do it at all the sites. That way, we could be in constant communications on the encryption system right up to the time of the attacks. I will pass the word tonight to plan on positioning in the compounds on the night of the 10th,” Cecil replied.
My time in the compound had not been spent totally on the training process. As I became more trusted, I began wearing a 9mm sidearm most of the time while in the compound just as both Cecil and George did while they were here. I also explored the perimeter of the site looking for weak points in the fence and secluded positions where cuts could be made without exposure. I also hid out a few little friends and set up a couple of surprises if I should need them in the case that I had to go to plan B. Plan B was not my first choice but folks who like living normally have one in their back pocket.
The 11th was on a Tuesday so I made my normal visit to see my old uncle on the afternoon of Monday, 10 September. Towers assured me that everything was in place but would remain totally out of sight. He also assured me that I would not be briefed on the plan as I was to know nothing if my identity was uncovered and they should torture me. I really did not know how to feel about that decision but went along with it rather than argue. Towers instructed me as to what to do when the raiding parties hit the compound. Team members would be briefed to look for me but my particular actions would be the signal as to my identity. The trap was set. Towers and I shook hands and wished each other luck for the last time.
After my meeting with Towers, I gathered my gear, got dressed for the mission, and drove to the compound. Most of the team was already there when I arrived. I saw both Cecil and George standing on the cabin porch as I drove up in my pickup truck. As I was getting out and grabbing my pack, Cecil whistled and signaled for me to come over. I strapped my light weight tactical back on to my shoulders and moved toward the porch. As I headed up the steps, Cecil signaled for the three of us to move inside. We immediately went into the back into Cecil’s office where he closed the door and then took a seat behind his desk. I sat with my back to the window which faced out on the wooded area at the rear of the cabin.
Cecil pulled three whiskey glasses out of a bottom desk drawer and poured each one full with Jack Daniels Black Label. George hungrily grabbed his up and downed it signaling to Cecil that he wanted another. Cecil frowned and poured the second glass.
“Now, if I can get George to stand still here for a second I thought we might drink a toast to the progress that we have made and the success which we are about to have,” Cecil said nodding to George and I to pick our whiskies up off the desk.
“But first, I wanted to ask Frank how his old uncle is doing over in the nursing home, you know Fran, the one you visit so regularly? How’s he doin’?” Cecil asked holding out his whiskey glass yet untouched with a stern look on his face.
I began to form words slowly when Cecil quickly told me to shut up. “Frank ! You son-of-a-bitch! You got no uncle in that nursing home. You got no uncles at all the best we can tell. You have been lying to us Frank and we don’t like that sort around here. They don’t live long. Now who you been talkin’ to, Frank?” Cecil growled.
I stood dumbfounded caught totally off guard with this situation. I had to think and think fast or my ass was in deep water or better yet, dead.
“Search him, ,George!” Cecil yelled out, “I’ll bet he’s wearing a wire!” With that command George set down the whiskey and headed in my direction. I reacted instinctively and tossed my glass of whiskey into George’s eyes sending into a screaming fit. As Cecil looked toward George, I launched myself blindly backwards crashing through the window and then to the ground on my back. I recovered quickly and moved into the wooded area near the rear of the cabin as Cecil looked out of the window trying to spot me. I knew that I was buying precious seconds at this point that just might be the difference between life and death. Behind me, I heard a siren go off near the cabin alerting the other men. The hunt was on and I needed some advantage. I remember thinking that it looked like Plan B would have to be launched.
I could not risk a radio transmission yet to Towers I had to buy more time. I reached into the side pocket on my pack and found the detonator I had placed there. I quickly pushed it and started moving again. In a matter of seconds I saw the flames shoot into the air as the barracks compound was blasted with the C-4 I had planted beneath the foundation posts. That would slow up the response of the team. I had to move and get across the compound. I raced across the wooded area and began a slow crawl across the open field which separated the wooded area to the east side of the compound. There I had a few more surprises and would have the time to make my radio calls.
Reaching the wooded area to the east I could dimly make out the movement of bodies about the compound. The barracks blast had done its job and created the confusion I needed for my move. I now stopped and began applying some camo-makeup to my face from a tube I kept in the pack. I blended this with some dirt to gain the effect I needed. This would keep my face and hands from giving me away if they came with search lights.
I then moved to within 100 yards of the compound shielded by the woods and uncovered the little friends I had hidden. I had an M-16 with five ammo clips, a half dozen hand-grenades and some more C-4 for added effect. Taking these guys on was not my plan but having some equalizers never hurt when things get tight. At the moment the only thing I had to depend on was me as I had no idea when Towers and company would arrive.
I took the time to make the radio call to Towers. He answered on the second attempt. I briefed him on what had happened and told him that he need to move on all sites before the alarm was sounded and everyone scattered. I then was on the move again heading closer to the compound to do a bit of recon for myself. For these guys, they would be heading toward the perimeter hoping to catch me trying to escape. They would not anticipate that I would move back toward the objective.
From my new point of hiding, I watched as a few of the team began to moved toward the ammo bunker. Cecil was making sure that his stores were guarded and safe. I had a surprise for him. I waited 30 seconds and pushed a second detonator which set off a string of C-4 explosions about the perimeter of the ammo bunker. As the blast erupted I heard the screams of the men who had been sent to guard the place and saw the flames climb high into the sky. I begin to crawl with my rifle balanced in the bend of my elbows. As I neared the cabin, I saw Cecil and George on the porch checking their weapons. I pulled a grenade and rolled it under their trucks just in case they were thinking about leaving. Both vehicles blasted simultaneously and the impact of the blast knocked both Cecil and George to their knees on the porch.
In the momentary confusion, I ran to the side of an adjacent building and called out to the two,“Keep your hands away from those rifles and pistols. Come down off the porch and assume a face down position on the ground arms straight up over your head. Move! Or this next grenade will be under the porch and you’ll be riding it up.”
Both men moved as I had instructed without hesitation. As I moved from my cover with my rifle trained steadily on the two figures, I began to see helicopters descending into the open areas of the camp and men discharging from them. There was shouts all about. The front gate of the compound went flying into the trees as a combat vehicle came flying through it with lights blazing in all directions. This was my cut. As the vehicle stopped and the men discharged I dropped my weapon and moved to the ground yelling “FBI, FBI!” As I did, I remember being glad that I had survived this one.
As the remaining men were rounded up, hand cuffed and moved to a processing area, I sat on the edge of the porch with Towers. Cecil and George stood handcuffed together close by. Cecil had to get the last word in as he looked at me with distain and said, “You’re a dead man Tilley. You will pay for what you have done here. You might be struttin’ like a peacock now but you didn’t get everybody with this little raid. No sir! They are out there in numbers and I swear to God you face is going to be engrained in their mind. They’ll hunt you down and kill you like the sorry sons-a-bitch you are.”
“Take these two away, now!” Towers instructed a tactical officer who led them to a van for transport. He then turned to me. “If the man ever told you the truth, Frank, he did just now. This operation is big, really big and extremely dangerous. What you just did here set them back for a few years but it did not put them out of business. They will be looking for you from now until the last one dies. I am afraid your time here in Hendersonville is at an end.”
And that’s the way it went down. I did my testifying to help convict those who were caught. I received some expensive plastic surgery compliments of the federal government for my efforts and I also received an all expenses lifetime vacation to a new home and a new life. I like it here but not a day goes by that I don’t look for Cecil or George in the grocery store or wonder if I am standing in line at the check stand behind one of their buddies. That’s okay, I have had enough of that business for now. I’ll leave catching the rest of them to Towers and the professionals.
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