Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Bloody Ridge

Leroy Beardsley was up early, he'd tossed and turned all night thinking on this. He knew he was in over his head, his instincts told him that things were about to go south, and fast. He didn't trust Batchelor and he was starting to think that Thompson had more on his mind than trying to get the government to overreact and trigger an uprising.

It had been something Beardsley had noticed on Thompson's pickup truck outside of Walmart while they were waiting for Batchelor, a Confederate flag sticker. Was Wilt a secessionist? In this day and age?

He reviewed what little he knew of the man, he'd been in the Army, a grunt, seen action in Yemen, then again on the border between Ukraine and Moldova in the aftermath of the Russo-Ukrainian War. Then back to Yemen, where he'd been badly wounded.

There were times that the man seemed a bit jumpy, but everything he'd done so far seemed to match his stated goal, "a massive government overreaction to a series of shootings, then we'll have ourselves an uprising when those damned Congresscritters go too far and make possession of a firearm a felony, any firearm." Beardsley remembered that little speech, not too long ago.

He also remembered the glee in Thompson's voice when he had said, "Well boys, they did it. Martial law in Maryland and Virginia, damned Feds overstepped. But both governors told Washington to pound sand. This is it, the first step!"

Batchelor had nodded and said something about "rise again," which Beardsley hadn't thought much of at the time. But that and that flag sticker, that bothered him.

"Now we're going to cross over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and up the Eastern Shore as quick as we can. The governor of Maryland has asked for assistance in screening the approaches to Baltimore. Seems most of their guys are either out on maneuvers in the western part of the state and a bunch more didn't report in." Staff Sergeant Max Henderson finished his little brief then looked to his lieutenant.

1st Lieutenant Edgar Mannheim nodded, "That's really all there is, all I've got so far, but we're to draw live ammo, full combat loadout, and mount the Ma Deuces on the Humvees, locked and loaded as soon as we get across the Chesapeake. Word is that there are militia units roaming Cape Charles itching for a fight. Be sharp. Alright, let's mount up."

Captain Alex Choe, United States Navy, had been stopped by an unmarked police vehicle shortly after meeting Beth Chapman for coffee. He had his ID ready, as well as his Pentagon pass. He wondered briefly if this stop had anything to do with what was happening in DC and over in Virginia and Maryland. He rolled his window down as a man got out of the car behind him.

He couldn't make out much as the guy had left his high beams on. Then he caught a glimpse of something, why did the guy have his sidearm drawn?

"Sir, I need you to step out of ..."

The voice was interrupted by a loud gunshot, Choe heard the man grunt and start to turn around, five more shots rang out, in quick succession. The man stumbled and fell face first into the street. Choe heard a female voice ...

"Skipper, get out of your car, it's me, Beth!"

Choe didn't move, something seemed off, so he mashed the accelerator and his car shot forward, fishtailing quite a bit until he got it under control. The voice had sounded similar to Chapman's, but she had never called him 'Skipper,' not once in the time they'd known each other. Sure, aviators called their squadron commanders 'Skipper,' but ship captains in the Navy weren't generally called that. Chapman knew that.

Someone was impersonating her, not knowing her, but knowing she had been a Naval aviator, perhaps they'd assume she'd refer to a commanding officer as 'Skipper.'

So who was the guy who was gunned down in the street?

Jack Delaney got up off the ground and brushed himself off. "What went wrong, Pelton? What spooked the guy?"

Nancy Pelton, FBI, shook her head, "Beats me, something spooked him. Nice acting job by the way?"

Delaney growled, "I wasn't expecting that before I got up to the car. I think I shit myself when you opened fire."

Pelton was reloading her sidearm with live ammo as she spoke again, "Well, we lost our chance. SecDef is going to be pissed. Choe is on the loose and we lost Chapman in traffic over on 295. Sheppard is going to be pissed."

"F**k him, I told him we needed more agents on this." Delaney was pissed, he'd torn a hole in his suit pants, this was a brand new suit, damn it.

"Guess you haven't heard."

"Heard what?"

"Half the Bureau is 'out sick.'"

"You're shitting me."

"I wish I was, let's head back to HQ, see what Sheppard wants next."

There were twenty-five men, very well-armed. Beardsley wondered just who in hell Thompson had on the inside to get these sorts of weapons. They had two M60 machine guns, a Javelin, and all of the men had fully automatic M4s. They were all wearing store-bought hunting camouflage outfits, which actually blended into the brush very well.

They were set up near the Sidling Hill Welcome Center where I-68 came through the pass.

Beardsley was wearing his old Marine cammo, he was pretty proud that it still fit, a little snug in the midsection, but not too bad. He was the Javelin team leader, Thompson was up ahead on the left side of the highway with one machine gun team, Batchelor was on the right with the other M60.

The plan was to let the entire convoy get into the pass, then Beardsley's team would take out the trail vehicle with the Javelin. As soon as the rocket launched, the machine guns would open up on the convoy. The men with M4s were told to wait until the Guardsmen in the vehicles attempted to dismount and deploy.

After a few minutes, he heard vehicles approaching, a bunch of 'em. Traffic was sparse this early in the morning, but it was obvious that the Guard unit was in a hurry to get to southern Maryland. They were moving at speed.

Most of the little militia unit was below Beardsley's team, one guy carrying a spare Javelin round and the Javelin gunner himself, it was two guys and Beardsley. He heard the guy on the launcher mutter, "Why don't we f**kin' shoot, Leroy?"

It was the Patterson kid, a cocky bastard from somewhere way out in the western part of Virginia, who spoke.

"Hold your damned fire, the last vehicle hasn't entered the pass yet." As Beardsley said that, he drew his sidearm, an old trusty M1911 he'd gotten from his grandpappy, a World War Two Marine. Neither Patterson or Jenkins, the guy with the spare round, noticed.

Beardsley sighed, but he'd made his decision.

Thompson looked back towards the Welcome Center, why hasn't that black bastard fired yet? Then he saw the missile launch, but something wasn't right.

That was Thompson's last thought as the Javelin round slammed into the machine gun position and killed Thompson and the four men with him.

Beardsley managed to mate the second launch tube assembly to the CLU¹ and get it aimed at Batchelor's position, fortunately he was well to the rear of them, at least 100 yards, which as he recalled was a bit more than the Javelin's minimum range. He activated the seeker, when he had warm bodies in view, he squeezed the firing trigger.

By now he realized that the Guardsmen had spotted his position and incoming fire was starting to be a real problem. He dumped the CLU and began to squirm backwards, sparing a glance at the two young men he'd killed.

It didn't bother the old Marine, much. He'd sworn an oath, the two men, boys really, that he'd killed were not much different than any other enemy of his country that he'd killed.

Damn it, he was not going to fire on soldiers, Feebs, ATF bastards, sure, he didn't have much of a problem with that. But those kids coming through the pass, they'd sworn the same oath he had.

He found himself headed up the hill behind the Welcome Center, he chanced a glance back down at the pass. The Guardsmen were in the process of rounding up surviving militia members, none of whom thought they'd actually get shot at before the battle started. They had folded almost immediately.

As Beardsley climbed, he came to a spot which had an incredible view out towards the Green Ridge State Forest. He sat down to catch his breath, damn, he felt winded, hell he hadn't been climbing all that hard.

He reached down and his hand came away bloody, "Damn, they got me. Well, I'll be a son of a gun. Guess I'll just sit here and wait for whatever comes next."

He knew that he was hit pretty bad, with the adrenalin pumping, he hadn't really noticed. This wasn't the way he thought he'd go. But as he looked out over the hills and forests of his beloved country, he thought, "Hell, better'n dying in some desert shithole."

The old Marine's head tipped forward until his chin touched his chest, "'Spect I'm ready now, Lord Jesus, take me home."

Gunnery Sergeant Leroy Beardsley, USMC, (retired), died on a hill overlooking Interstate 68 in the state of Maryland. But his actions saved the lives of a number of Army National Guardsmen, only one had been killed and two wounded.

The militia were all killed or captured. No wounded were left on the field, only the actions of their sergeants and one young 2nd Lieutenant prevented the Guardsmen from slaughtering the remaining three survivors of the militia unit.

¹ The Command Launch Unit of the Javelin missile system. Watch this video.


  1. The "Blue Flu" knocks out half of the FBI? The fence sitters unsure what side they are on?

    An Old Marine did his true duty, pity he got caught up in the mess on the wrong side. Semper Fi

    1. There are definitely a few Feebs who don't like what's going on, probably most of them are waiting to see who wins.

    2. the wrong side is textbook example of "10% screw things up for everyone else". Also shines through that a good dose of Parris Island heat & humaditity or San Diego sunglass filtered sunlight still does the job.

  2. IMO more than half the Bureau needs to be out "sick".

    1. Ditto for most, if not all, of the other federal, alphabet soup, "regulatory agencies." And RICO all of them. Especially IRS, EPA, FBI, CIA, and DHS.

    2. Disband those which are unconstitutional.

    3. H....that would be "D, All of the Above."

    4. I merely note that there are no "good employees" in either the FBI nor the DoJ, and there haven't been any since AT LEAST Whitey Bulger.
      Hutaree militia
      Senator Stevens
      Ruby Ridge
      Waco (yes, Lon Horiuchi was there)
      Waco II
      Bundy Ranch
      Garland, TX
      And probably "four grandpas in a Waffle House."
      Execute every one of them for their treason.
      Then put their heads on pikes around the Beltway.
      Pour encourager les autres!

    5. Extreme, but probably well-deserved.

  3. Secession. A term that raises many questions and strong emotions.

    Are we a union of equal, free, and independent States, as said in the Treaty of Paris? Or are the States subjects - serfs - to the federal government they created? Was the War of Secession started in 1775, and actually declared in 1776, justified? Why did Madison, and others at the Constitutional Convention leave out the 'perpetual union' clause in the unbreakable and unalterable Articles of Confederation?

    The language of American English offers some clue. For the first "four score and seven" years of our republic, it was almost universal to say "the United States ARE.." but afterwards, it became "the United States IS." The creature created by the Free and Independent States becoming the all powerful, all knowing overlord of them.

    In another fortnight we will be celebrating something - is it Secession Day? Or Independence Day? What is the difference, if any?

    1. The Treaty of Paris established peace between Great Britain and the 13 original colonies, which were now considered free and independent states. It did NOT establish how the country was run or governed, that was left up to the Constitution. The Articles of Confederation were tried and proven to be unworkable, they no longer have any standing. Which is why we now have a Constitution.

      I wouldn't call the 4th of July "Secession Day," not now, not ever. The colonies were NOT equal partners with Great Britain, we had no representation in parliament. We were no more a part of Great Britain than the Congo was part of Belgium. Colonies do not secede, they revolt and seek independence.

      The events of 1861 to 1865 settled the "secession" question for me. Can't do it, unless you're strong enough to make it happen. As in the book Shogun the question is asked (very roughly) "when can treason ever succeed?" - the answer "if you win."

      We are one Nation, under God, INDIVISIBLE ...

      Anyone who wants to break off and create their own "thing" (e.g. secede), all they're doing is seeking power for themselves or their class, nothing more, nothing less.

      We shall be celebrating Independence Day, independence from Britain, nothing more, nothing less.

      In current affairs it is up to the people and the states to take back what is theirs under the Constitution. The Feds have usurped powers and privileges which the Constitution explicitly forbids them from having. It's easier to vote than to fight. Unfortunately, we might have to do both some day.

    2. "The Treaty of Paris established peace between Great Britain and the 13 original colonies, which were now considered free and independent states. It did NOT establish how the country was run or governed, that was left up to the Constitution. "

      As with Supreme Court decisions, the dicta can indicate a way of thought. Our founding documents call us Free and Independent States, and the "dicta" in the Treaty of Paris confirm that view, the Several States are "free and independent."

      "In current affairs it is up to the people and the states to take back what is theirs under the Constitution. The Feds have usurped powers and privileges which the Constitution explicitly forbids them from having. It's easier to vote than to fight. Unfortunately, we might have to do both some day."

      That sounds strangely similar to the arguments by the seven states of the deep south in the mid-1800s.

      I do find it interesting that the attempts at secession by various combinations of New England states on three different occasions was considered "treason" or "rebellion." OK, they didn't actually go through with it, but just the threat of it should bring the same shouts of "TREASON!" that the same movement by our Southron brothers gets. Nor did I see, here in California, the talk of Secession by the Golden State during the Trump administration the same shouts of "TREASON!" that our modern secessionists reserve for the deep south.

    3. You must not have been listening, when California was making noises of secession I know a lot of folks who called that treason (Others said, let 'em go.)

  4. I have learned - through painful experience - that if something is bothering me on a low level, it is best to listen to that voice. Seldom if ever has it been wrong.

    Excellently written Sarge, to the point of me wondering "What do things look like when all of this is over?" (Which I assume we will get to.)

    1. That little voice is your subconscious working very quickly at a very low level. It collates experience, things you read/saw somewhere, and other little tidbits into a "this might be bad, don't do it" response. But we always have the option of not listening to it. Over time we usually learn that that's a bad thing.

  5. That -- those -- small quiet voices are usually correct. The price you pay for ignoring them can be both your dreams and your life.

  6. I recognized the location as soon as I saw the photo- been thru there many times. Westbound rest area on the right about 1/4 mile to the rear. Eastbound a little further down the hill. The groundwater seepage from the rocks in the cut at the crest often still have ice into April or May (on the south, or shady, side). Nice long down grade over the crest and you are really into rural western Maryland then. This is about two ridges west of where my people are from, just a bit up into Pennsy.
    Lovely area to live. Or die.

    1. The area is breathtaking in its natural beauty.

  7. Wow Sarge, just wow. Been away for a bit, will be a bit longer; nice to be "away from the flagpole"

  8. Gunny Beardsley bought his redemption, at a very high price. But he redeemed himself, and is safe with God.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

NOTE: Comments on posts over 5 days old go into moderation, automatically.