Author Ray Daley takes over my blog today. He is one of 11 authors in the military sci-fi anthology, Space Force: Building The Legacy, edited by Doug Irvin and published by Midlands Scribes Publishing. The book is available to be purchased as both an e-book and print edition at the link above. Ray’s story is: For The Duty.
I’m Ray Daley. I contributed “For The Duty”. That wasn’t my first sub to the anthology, but after a quick rejection Doug suggested I write something based on my military experience.
My time in the RAF during the 1990’s wasn’t exactly what you’d call “fun” what with the first Gulf War and a conflict with Bosnia as UNPROFOR staff. I wore many hats during my relatively short 6-year career. A good amount of my time was spent on my war role (Operational Message Clerk), in a nuclear bunker. Anything up to
fifteen hours spent underground per day on rolling day and night shifts meant you had to be adaptable.
I was young, able to sleep whenever I needed it. I kept my mental health problems between me and a friendly bottle of Jack Daniels I kept in my room.
My interactions with US Space Command were probably my favourite parts of that job.
Just so you understand, I’m still bound by The Official Secrets Act. Once signed, your bound until you die. So if I’m vague in places, that’s why. OpSec is still a thing.
Part of my job was the sending and receiving of secure comms (Voice & data). I’d get calls to mostly receive stuff in the wee small hours, a lot of onward direction for folks who couldn’t find any NATO staff awake at 3 AM in the UK for the obvious reason. Several of those calls came from the good folks in Cheyenne Mountain.
I was mostly interacting with these folks after 1994 so the Stargate movie was globally known, and they’d probably heard every joke and throwaway comment about it by the time I was speaking with them. Apparently, they didn’t get many Wargames references though.
The character of SAC Ray Daley is me, or was me. I worked in Air Staff Registry for almost two years, the largest registry in the Royal Air Force. Anything involved in combat flight went through us, both fixed-wing and helicopters. You went on Exercise Red Flag to Nevada? Thank me and my colleagues who worked their asses off, frequently after hours, to ensure you and your jet/ground crew got to the States. You’re welcome. Where the hell are the Oakleys/beers/coffee/chocolate you promised us? Yeah, we never got your thank you cards either.
You may see me reference the movie Behind Enemy Lines. You can read my involvement in that on my blog:- https://raymondwriteswrongs.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/a-message-to-former-usaf-captain-scott-ogrady/
That’s not classified, it was just off-book, done as a favour from one air force brother to another. If you know Captain O’Grady, feel free to mention me to him.
While I may have left the Royal Air Force in 1996, it’s never really left me. Heck, I’m still writing stories about it! My first ever sale was something based on a signal I’d seen during the Gulf War (now declassified, you can call off the Provosts!) and a recent sale was a science fiction retelling of my recruit training at RAF Swinderby.
I’m always happy to share old war stories if you want to pull up a sandbag?