Monday, October 20, 2008

Operation Flashpoint - "Diplomatic Cover" - Part IV

In late 2006, a foreign power set in motion a chain of events that would have culminated in the invasion of Fiji. Codenamed Operation Flashpoint, the ADF deployed its sea-borne and air assets to positions inside Fiji waters within striking distance of the capital Suva. Additionally, elite Special Forces infiltrated the country with communications equipment and weapons.


How close did we come to being invaded? Who among us who encouraged this act of aggression against their own country?


This is a fictional account of what may have happened in the days leading up to one of the most dramatic chapters in our history.


One of my highlights of my last visit to the island was to have a shot taken with the guard in front of what is now the Presidents residential complex in Nasese. The soldier looking splendid in his red tunic and white sulu, a Fijian traditional dress that the boys referred to as the man-dress and not all that different from a Scottish kilt except with grooves cut around the bottom, stood motionless in 34C Suva heat.


Why anyone would sign up for that is beyond me. But there he was without blinking an eyelid as we lined up for our shots.


Actually we were more interested in the colonial design building built by the British behind him. The Presidents House overlooked the Pacific Ocean and gave a great vantage point South of Suva towards Kadavu, the island around which the Navy would be holding its exercises when the Kanimbla tragedy would occur.


A walk from the Presidents House was the Police Barracks which housed the Police personnel and also was home to the Police armoury. The holiday snaps with the guard was a great cover and has been used by the guys for quite some time.


But you get the picture. A large part of SAS tradition is being prepared, and we were.


It was decided that an advance scout party would proceed to Fiji on a commercial airliner, landing in Nadi and proceed to Suva by land. We would need a fair bit of equipment including our laser markers or SOFLAMS to designate landing positions to the boats off-shore and aircraft, secure GPS markers to update the spot maps from our earlier "visits" and communication equipment with encryption ability and other bits and pieces .


It was decided that the equipment would be shipped under diplomatic cover. To facilitate this, the High Commission was asked to "place" a newspaper story on how Australian Embassy was upgrading its Visa Processing Facilities with new state of the art equipment. Our military liaison officer would also pull some strings at the airport to "expedite the process."


By the time we finished, it was dinner time. It had taken us 8 hours and numerous kettles of brew. Planning is everything. We went over the "What –ifs" in detail, we discussed what we would do if we were separated and marked out rendezvous points , examined detailed photos of sensitive locations and looked for ways in and out, all the things that go into making sure the shit didn't hit the fan and if it did, it wasn't us with the stink.


Once that was done, I as the Team Leader walked across the loose gravel that separated the mess form the SM's shed , to file the OP. If he agreed and signed off, we would be on a plane in 2 days. It was called Operation Flashpoint…To be cont


Sgt`Samu said...

Wow. Cant wait for part 5

Jessi said...

This is the real deal. Fiction u say, I think not my friend.