General Grayston had returned to Atlanta with his new Armor force only to find the country thrust into war. He was appalled that his commanders and the President as well as Parliament had moved forward without his knowledge or permission. Not that they really needed his permission, but these were very serious movements by the United States and he should have been involved in every facet of every decision.
Now he felt he had a mess to clean up, Fort Gordon had been re-enforced and had broken out, taking what forces he had there and chewed them up and spit them out. In addition, the Third Infantry Division has also decided to breakout of Fort Stewart, they were on their way to securing Savannah and heading east at the same time. It was obvious to the General that the two forces were heading to link up and from there what? He felt they were being guided by someone or something, but what?
Then it hit him, they had recently discovered that shortwave radio’s that were tube operated worked. That must be it, the United States must have figured it out sometime ago, yes – that must be it, of course that’s it. They only had two so far that worked, however the General had sent out tactical squads from all over the SSA to find more, so far, there had been no word they had found more. Then is occurred to him that any radio traffic would be sent in the clear, and they could intercept it if they knew the frequencies.
General Grayston asked his admin to come into his office, he ordered the admin to find his brand new communications officer immediately and have him report to him. Since they only had the two radios, one here at the capital located on the Army Barracks and the others was supposed to be in Macon, the communications officer position wasn’t all that important. If they had more radios it would, but just the two, nope. Colonel Wayne Jesop was the newly appointed communications officer, he was a Signal Officer in the United States Army.
He was five foot seven inches tall, bald, very dark, brown eyes and well …fat. But, it’s all the General had at this time. He was at General Grayston’s office within fifteen minutes. He was escorted into the office by the General’s admin. General Grayston was standing in front of a large broad window, which gave a wonderful view of downtown Atlanta.
“What can I do for you General?” Colonel Jesop asked.
“Yes, Colonel Jesop.” General Grayston stood and shook the Colonel’s hand. “I’d like an update on how it’s going looking for more of those shortwave radios.”
Colonel Jesop was a bit confused by the question, “I’m sorry sir, that project was put on hold indefinitely by Major General Holcomb in your absence. He told me all troops were needed to hold back the United States horde that was soon to be on our doorstep.”
General Grayston was livid, not at Colonel Jesop, he was following orders, but because Senior Officers in his command failed to see the big picture. Communications was an essential element of government and the military. They were only as effective as their communication, the radios would open the entire nation up, make it, in theory, easier to govern. It would also make troop movements and a far more effective military, why couldn’t everyone see what he did.
“Did they leave you with anything?” General Grayston asked.
“They left me with a squad, enough to run the radio shack, I don’t know who we are supposed to be talking to. As far as I know the radio in Macon went dead.”
General Grayston sighed, why was he only finding this out now, “I have a new mission for you. Do you know how to find out the old Army radio frequencies?”
“Yes sir, I have a manual with them.”
That was good news, “I want you to search those frequencies, and any other US military and US government ones. I’m betting that they have these radios and are using them. If we can find them we might be able to listen in.”
“Given what’s happened that makes sense.”
“What do you mean Colonel?”
“Well sir, I’ve been thinking, I know what’s going on, we all hear it. How was the Airborne drop coordinated with Fort Gordon? How does each of the post know of the others plan to breakout, coincidence? Maybe, but it seems a bit much to me. It seems they are coordinating this through a higher authority, maybe even the Pentagon. It would make sense that if they had the radios they could do it all.”
General Grayston smiled at hearing the Colonels theory, “I have the same belief Colonel. I don’t believe Major General Holcomb should have pulled your resources and I will be talking to him. Are you sure about the radio in Macon?”
“No sir, but we’ve had no contact with them for four days. I’m assuming it died on them, it was the older of the two.”
“Can we check on it?”
“Yes sir, I’ve dispatched two men this morning to find out the problem and they’ve taken parts to repair it if it is broken.”
“Alright Colonel, please keep me apprised of that situation. I want to be notified once you’ve determined the problem. How long do you think it’s going to take you to get through those frequencies?”
“How urgent is it?”
“I wanted the information yesterday, Colonel, if that tells you anything.”
“Yes sir, I can put everyone on it, round the clock search. My only concern would be the radio breaking down.”
“Is it in bad shape?”
“No sir, I only mention it as a risk.”
“Roger that. Colonel I need to know, if we could ease-drop on the enemy plans, we could win this thing. It may be all we have.”
“Yes sir, we should have something in the next twenty-four hours.”
“Make it happen Colonel, make it happen.”
Colonel Jesop came to attention, saluted, General Grayston returned the salute. The Colonel dropped his salute, turned and smartly exited the office, he had a mission finally. Something he felt he could really contribute to the war effort.