THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
Duplication Forbidden Copy 4 of Seven.
For Distribution By Officer Courier Only
8 November 1964
Commanding General, United States Strike Command
Commanding General, European Command
Commanding General, United States Air Force, Europe
Commanding General, Seventh United States Army
1. By Direction of the President; by Command of His Royal Highness, the King of the Belgians; and at the request of the government of the Republic of the Congo, a Joint Belgian-American Operation, "Operation Dragon Rouge," will take whatever military action is necessary to effect the rescue of American, Belgian and other European nationals currently being held hostage in Stanleyville, Republic of the Congo, by forces in rebellion against the legal and duly constituted government of the Republic of the Congo.
2. By Direction of the President, Counselor to the President Sanford T. Felter (Colonel, General Staff Corps, USA) is designated Action Officer, and will be presumed, in connection to military matters, to be speaking with the authority of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
3. Operation Dragon Rouge is assigned an AAAA-1 Priority with regard to the requisitioning of personnel, equipment, and other U.S. military assets.
4. Addressees will on receipt of this directive immediately dispatch an officer in the grade of colonel or higher to the United States Embassy, Brussels, Belgium, where they will make themselves available to Colonel Felter or such officers as he may designate to represent him.
For The Chairman, The Joint Chiefs Of Staff:
Forbes T. Willis
Brigadier General, USMC
Executive Officer, JCS
1320 Hours 11 November 1964
Brigadier General Harris McCord, USAF, thought he had yet another proof, if one were needed, that life was full of little ironies. Sixteen hours before, he had been at the USMC Birthday Ball at the Hotel Continental in Paris, tripping the light fantastic with his wife. He had been wearing his mess dress uniform, complete with real medals rather than ribbons, and with more silver embellishments than a Christmas tree.
Now that he was about to engage in what promised to be a really hairy exercise, he was wearing a somewhat baggy tweed jacket and well-worn flannel slacks. Just before he had left Paris, he had been told to wear civilian clothing. What he had on was all that had come back from the dry cleaners.
There were five peers, most of whom he knew, at least by sight, all in civilian clothing in a none-too-fancy conference room in the U.S. Embassy, waiting for Colonel Sanford T. Felter and his staff. The whole damned continent had been socked in, and Felter's plane had had to sit down in Scotland to wait for Brussels to clear to bare minimums.
He had heard of Felter, but he had never seen him in person and he was not very impressed with him when he walked into the room. Felter was small and slight, and wearing a baggy gray suit. He looked like a stereotype of a middle-level bureaucrat.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, gentlemen," Felter said. He threw a heavy briefcase on the table, then took a key from his pocket and unlocked the padlock that had chained-more accurately, steel-cabled-it to his wrist.
"My name is McCord, Colonel," General McCord said, and went to Felter and offered his hand.
"I'm glad you were available, General," Felter said.
As the others introduced themselves to Felter, McCord considered that. Felter knew who he was, and there was an implication that he had asked for him by name. That was flattering, unless you were rank-conscious, and thought that general officers should pick colonels, rather than the other way around.
Reprinted from Special Ops by W.E.B. Griffin by permission of Putnam Books, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 by W.E.B. Griffin. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
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