Thursday, January 11, 2018

'CHOCOLATE BOX' By Dorothy S. Macchio

The Military Secretary General of the Organization of Non-Caliphate States (ONCS) met with Four-Star General Margaret Collingsworth at 0800 hrs on Tuesday, 9 August, 2031.

“General Collingsworth, you are to organize a squadron of female fighter pilots, the best of all the States; train them for a synchronized attack on munitions depots, all transportation HQs, and nuclear facilities within the Caliphate. Each fighter pilot will be assigned to a fleet and each fleet will be given their location and targets. The trick is to attack simultaneously. You will not communicate with anyone but me. I want it on my desk in 10 days.”

“Sir, why only female fighter pilots?”

 “Command has studied the operations of male, female and gender mixed squadrons. The result is that a female squadron will be best for this operation. Females have an ability to diagnose a problem during exercises, multitask, and take appropriate action faster than any other group. That kind of instant problem solving is crucial to the success of the operation. Also, your volunteers will need to know they may not come back. Are we clear?”

 “Yes Sir!”

General Collingsworth studied the personnel records of all female fighter pilots from all countries in the ONCS. Collingsworth selected twenty-four pilots and five alternates who fit the profile for the mission. To assemble the pilots into fleets, she studied the personality and cultural background of each candidate. It was important that the pilots messed into a cohesive unit. After receiving approval from the Sec-Gen, Collingsworth assembled the pilots in the briefing room.

“Here is the mission: each of you will receive a target area in the Caliphate States. The target area is wide and diverse. You are to attack simultaneously. Also, you need to know the chances of returning are small to nil. Anyone who feels she cannot make that sacrifice for any reason- let me know. There’s no disgrace here.” Seeing no dropouts, Collingsworth continued “Training begins here at 0600 hrs tomorrow.

Training was exhausting. Each fleet pilot was assigned a practice target area within ONCS. They practiced arriving at their target and commencing attacks simultaneously. The target area was 3000 miles in total distance. Each of the four launch sites was designed to mimic the actual distance and area of the operation.

 Mechanical, communication, and weapon problems arose throughout the training. Eight months later the pilots were ready.

At their final briefing, Collingsworth congratulated the 24 pilots – four pilots were killed during training. “Ladies, since you are all from different countries, different languages, different cultures. However, you have blended your skilled beautifully and I know that the operation will be a success. I have named this operation “Chocolate Box.” You all are familiar with a box of chocolates.” Laughter filled the room. A screen was lower from the ceiling behind the platform of the briefing room. A diagram of a chocolate box with the location of the different types of chocolates appeared on the screen.

 “You all recognize this. Pick a call sign from the list. “I am “Chocolatier”.

Giggling amongst themselves, the pilots consulted the diagram and call signs were selected: Strawberry cream, Caramel, Raspberry, Dark Pattie, Almond Bud, Orange Cream, Butterscotch, Mocha, Coconut, Blueberry Truffle, Dark Molasses, Vanilla Nut, Kona, Walnut Square, Key Lime, Cashew Brittle, New York Dark, Rum Nougat, Chocolate Butter, Nut Crunch, Wild Cherry, Pecan Brittle, Divine Mint, and Swiss Coffee. The call signs were painted on the planes. The pilots were sent to their launch sites.

The next day at 0400, Chocolatier hailed Chocolate Box, “Good hunting”.

Each pilot reached their designated area on time. The precision was perfect. Minor problems were quickly resolved and at 13:30 hours the attack commenced. Every target received a direct or near direct hit. Planes darted in and out of the incoming flack like Jackdaws looking for prey. Communications for the most part were silent.

Twenty minutes into the attack, transmissions to Chocolatier read: Blueberry Truffle out of box; Swiss Coffee out of box; Raspberry out of box; and it continued until the last, Divine Mint out of box.
Blinking away a tear, Gen. Collingsworth reported to the Sec-Gen, “Mission accomplished; the Chocolate Box is empty.

Dorothy S. Macchio Jan. 2018


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