Letter XLII

March 26, 2435

Barren, Mitchell D., 2nd Lieutenant

4th Fleet, 4th Fleet Security Forces (FSF)

Dear Dad,

FleetCom eventually gave in to authorizing an air strike on the GFI position.  They took their time coming to that conclusions and while they were waiting, there were several more casualties, including a member of my team.  He is going to live, but his time working recon and being on special assignment are over.

It infuriates me that he was wounded during an operation that I strongly opposed.  I followed orders, but I did not do so without first trying my best to convince my chain of command that it was unlikely that my team could get that close to the installation without being spotted.

They wanted us to spot for an artillery strike.  Given the location, I advised that an artillery strike would be wise, but then they informed me that they wanted to do pinpoint artillery strikes in an effort to preserve as much of the installation as possible.  It went beyond grasping at straws but the officer in command refused to listen.

The problem is the location of the installation.  It is in a valley and much of it was underground. There wasn’t much on the actual service to target with any kind of pinpoint accuracy and to approach it from any direction on foot in a way that would provide a good line of sight was basically suicide.

The reason none of our ground attacks have been successful is the position is very easily defended and doesn’t require much.  We made our approach as cautiously and carefully as possible but that wasn’t enough. Before we got within 600 meters of the GFI position, we came under heavy fire and my point man was struck.

We never made it closer than that.  The incoming fire that followed intensified and we had to pull him clear.  We managed to get him back to cover before we called for a medevac and they took over from there.  It was a complete waste of time and now my team is a man down.

After that incident, I pulled some of the commanders aside and was finally able to convince them that there wasn’t going to be any reasonable strategy for preserving this installation.  An air strike was called and our aircraft leveled everything within the valley. There was no further resistance after that.

My man was in critical condition for a few hours but they managed to stabilize him in time to ensure that he will likely make a full recovery.  It won’t be anytime soon, but he will eventually be able to return to active duty.

We are currently wrapping up on this world but things are going to be difficult from here on.  My team will continue operating but one member less. We are en route back to Outpost 86 for another refuel and refit.  I also demanded that my team get a little bit of downtime.

I am planning on spending some time with Russell but I would also like a chance to see my lady friend again.  We haven’t had much opportunity the last few times I was back there due to the current operational tempo but hopefully I will be able to see her this time around.

Command asked if I wanted to pull another member from the outpost to replace my down team member but I rejected the offer.  We had a good thing going and I feel like it would be smarter to not add new blood into the mix. We have trained and served together as a team for the last several months and I don’t want to jeopardize our cohesion by adding someone new into the mix.

Do you think I am making the right call with that one?  I could use some advice. I feel like it is the smart choice and I am concerned that adding someone new, regardless of how well trained or experienced, would alter the flow and connection that my team currently has.  I am trying to make the decision from a leadership standpoint but as a member of the team, I know how I would feel about adding a new member.

I will write again when we touch down at the Outpost.  Take care. I miss you all dearly.

Love,

Mitch

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