The Mason Pierce blog contains brief episodes from Agent Mason Pierce's career as a US Air Force Special Forces operative before he joins the CIA and his early years with the Central Intelligence Agency. These precede the as of yet unpublished book Mason Pierce: Assassination.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Installment 1- Briefing

August 19, 2006- Iraq
Mason was glad to be out of the small, hot briefing room. The sweltering Iraqi sun had raised the outside temperature to one hundred ten degrees Fahrenheit, and the two fans in the room hadn't done much to help. The room had been filled with dust and sand and the odor of the sweat of 16 US Army Special Forces Delta Force insurgents. In addition, none of them seemed to particularly like Mason. He was the youngest in the group (though only by a year), and not part of their close-knit circle.

"Hey, runt!" called a sergeant whose name Mason did not know, "Ready to head out tomorrow? Thermometer's gonna be going off the scale. Should be around one twenty, and the jeep's A/C broke. And we don't get millions of dollars to fix our rides." He was referring to the high-maintenance fighter jets which Mason used to fly.

Mason just glared. The truth was the men were just jealous of him. They were used to being the best of the best, and they felt threatened by this twenty-four-year-old airman who had been placed among them, even if all but one of them outranked him. Of course, rank and skill are totally different things. Mason Pierce was a member of the elite United States Air Force Combat Control Team--one of the most highly trained divisions of the military. Not only did he have to have the skills to be a master of ground combat, but he had to be able to set up airfields and drop zones behind enemy lines and then direct aircraft to them. The sergeant had a point, however. While Mason was trained to endure anything the elements might throw at him, he had yet to experience the Iraqi desert for a reasonable length of time.

As the sun set over Forward Operating Base Sykes, Mason retired to his quarters to get some rest and prepare for the next day's mission. They would be driving nearly twenty miles to a series of low mountains just past the town of Zambar to the location of an underground Al Qaeda base, led by Asad Ibn Gabir, a man they had been chasing across the desert for some months now. Due to the base's high security and the fact that its exact location was not known, Mason had been brought along to vector a Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II which would take out the entire area with a surface-to-air missile to attempt to bring out those hiding inside. If they did not emerge, the Delta Force team would scourge the mountainside until the entrance was found. By comparison to other operations, a simple mission. Unfortunately, things never turn out the way you want them to.

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