World Airshow News          

Raiding Party



An Air Force Base Open House, somewhere on the American East coast.


A thin veil of ground fog slowly whisked across the ramp, making the flood lighted shapes of the Thunderbirds F-16 seem almost ghost like and muffling the foot steps of the Security Forces guarding the area.  In this pre-dawn darkness, a raiding party of highly trained military professionals assembled in the shadows. Their leader, a civilian with Special Operations experience specifically brought in for today’s events, briefed the all-volunteer team, recruited from the Com Sqn, on the mission’s objective: a very important piece of airfield support equipment.


The team leader carefully reviewed the mission plan and pointed out that, although the objective contained Hazardous Material, proper handling and adherence to the plan would minimize the team’s exposure to the HazMat or detection by the Security Forces.  The team responded with only one question, “What if someone was using the objective?”  The team leader responded ominously, “We’ll deal with that contingency as needed.”


With split second precision, using the darkness to maximum advantage, the team swiftly worked its way to the objective, surrounded it, and using unconventional techniques started moving the highly prized object towards the Thunderbird F-16’s.  Upon reaching a fence, erected to designate the security zone, the team clandestinely cut through the barrier.  As the lead section continued to move closer to the F-16’s, a second section affected a repair to the fence and then moved to aid the lead section in the placement of the objective into an unobtrusive position behind the Open House Narrator’s station.  At this point, the raiding party was able to retreat, undetected; the team members disbursed and returned to their normal duties.  The Security Forces continued patrolling, unaware that a crime had been committed.


As the sun broke over the eastern horizon, all seemed in place, all seemed normal.  It was not until a member of the Thunderbird maintenance crew noted the presents of a blue object, located near the announcer’s stand, that anyone outside of the raiding party knew something had changed in the airfield layout.  This NCO immediately went to investigate the strange, new piece of equipment.  As he reached the blue object, he was heard to mutter to himself, “I’m so glad someone finally got us a port-a-john!”


The open house announcer (and raiding party leader) smiled, thinking, “ Mission accomplished!”  Then a frown crossed his face as he remembered that this was the fourth time this season that he had had to lead a raiding party to “steal” a port-a-john for the announcer/air boss location and provide the show’s performers with a necessary convenience.