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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hide and Seek (08/07/08)

By Kenneth Heath


The Flavour of Life

After running for three days in the hot African sun, we were exhausted. In a deadly game of hide and seek, we were trying to evade the Cuban and Angolan troops that were pursuing us. Four days earlier we had infiltrated deep into Angola, on a reconnaissance mission. There were six of us; “Smiley” our officer in command, “Farmer” our radio man, “Tiny” our six foot eight inch Zulu machine-gunner, “Freddie” our Bushman tracker, “Boom” our demolitions expert and “Patch” yours truly, medic.

Deep in the thick Angolan bush we discovered a huge military base. It was clear that the Angolan and Cuban forces were preparing for a massive offensive against the South African forces in South West Africa. There were at least two divisions of troops, scores of Soviet tanks, armored cars, personnel carriers, supply and logistic vehicles, Soviet helicopters and huge supply dumps of ammunition and fuel. Farmer, radioed the information back to our HQ, along with the camps co-ordinates so that our Air force could mount an air strike. HQ then ordered us to do as much damage as possible before withdrawing. What were they thinking? Talk about David against Goliath!

As night fell, we infiltrated the camp. The enemy was complacent, few guards were posted and by the sound of it the troops were roaring drunk. Soundlessly we moved about, placing explosives in the helicopters, tanks and vehicles. Boom creatively used the enemy’s own explosives on the ammunition and fuel dumps. While leaving the camp, a guard confronted Tiny and in the ensuing struggle Tiny eliminated him, but not before he sounded the alarm. As we slipped into the night, all hell broke loose in the camp as troops started shooting wildly and firing mortars. Light flares illuminated the camp and firefights broke out. Fortunately they were shooting at each other in the confusion. Tracer rounds flew overhead as we ran. Suddenly, Tiny grunted and went down in a heap. Kneeling beside him, I found that he had been shot through his right shoulder and quickly applied pressure bandages to the wound and strapped his useless right arm to his body. Farmer, helped me get him to his feet, and away we ran.

Having stirred up a hornet’s nest, we found that our escape route to the sea was blocked, as they sent troops to search for us in that area. Plan B, was a 100mile hike south toward the border, where we could be evacuated by helicopter. With the enemy in hot pursuit, hiking was out of the question, so we ran for our lives. With a full moon, Freddie had no problem guiding us, but that meant that the enemy could also follow our trail. Evading them was like playing hide and seek in the thick bush. Lightening our loads we dumped our surplus equipment into an old anteater hole, taking only water and ammunition with us. Huge explosions shook the night as our explosives detonated and soon afterwards our Air force laid waste to the camp.

The pursuit was relentless as they even deployed troops ahead of us in an effort to capture us. The thick thorn bushes shredded our camouflage uniforms and skin; hooking us and holding us back as we tried to pass. Silently, I prayed for rescue, making God all sorts of promises. Tiny was slowing us down. He was very weak and had started bleeding again. We had to carry him, so keeping only our water bottles we threw away our spare ammunition and took turns to carry him.

Suddenly, our radio crackled into life.

“Charlie Bravo Delta, this is Mike Romeo Alpha, we have a visual, go orange, Tangos (Enemy) everywhere.”

Our bush hats had a “day glow” orange inner lining that when turned inside out enabled us to be identified from above, protecting us from friendly fire.

“Charlie Bravo Delta, go two clicks NNE, there is a clearing.”

Turning NNE, we ran with renewed energy, just as the helicopter gun ships swooped past overhead firing on the enemy troops.

As we climbed aboard the helicopter, all I could see was Smileys huge grin as he said, “Well done Patch,” and then he thanked God in prayer for our miraculous rescue.

Flying back to base, the Lord reminded me that I had many promises to keep. Promises made while playing “hide and seek.” Promises that changed my life forever.

“For those who fight for it, life has a flavour, the sheltered never know.” Anon.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/15/08
This powerful story is a timely reminder to keep our troops in mind when we pray. This was written so well that I was hiding with you on the battlefield.
Norma-Anne Hough08/27/08
Hi there,
Action packed and good writing. Glad you made it out safely and that you kept your promises to God.
Love Norms