Private Wesley Johnston hurried to the briefing tent while buttoning the final button on his uniform. He was running late. He had just arrived at his new unit in El Alamein two days ago and was already about to make a bad name for himself.
When he got inside, everyone was already seated and waiting. All eyes were on Lieutenant Colonel Mackenzie, the unit commander. He stood emotionless at the front of the tent. Wesley scurried to the last open seat. Before he could sit down his boot hit an empty ammo carelessly left on the floor. The can made a loud bang. The entire tent trained their eyes on Wesley as he sheepishly took his seat. Colonel Mackenzie said nothing but gave a stern look at Wesley. He then looked back towards the middle of the group and cleared his throat.
“Men. I’ve gathered you all here because I have an important mission,” He announced. “We’ve been taking a beating from these blasted krauts for far too long. Now is the time to strike back. We need to hit them in the heart where it hurts the most. Headquarters has devised a plan that should help us turn the tide and boost morale.”
Wesley leaned forward in anticipation of what the colonel would say next.
“Tonight a two man team will infiltrate the kraut outpost to the North and capture their flag.”
The crowd gave blank stares then erupted into excited whispers.
“Is he serious?”
“The old devil has gone mad!”
“The good idea fairy strikes again.”
Wesley was confused but being new, he felt he had no place to question the colonel. He just felt sorry for the sorry bastards who would have to go on this crazy assignment. On the other side of the tent however a soldier raised his hand high. It was Corporal Richard Jenkins.
“May I speak freely sir?” asked Jenkins.
“Very well,” replied the colonel.
“What in the bloody ‘ell is this going to accomplish sir?”
Colonel Mackenzie thought a moment. He really didn’t have a good answer. He was just relaying what his superiors had relayed to him.
“That’s none of your concern corporal!” he huffed. “Your job is to follow orders and since you seem like you need some practice, I’m volunteering you to take part in the mission.”
Jenkins crossed his arms gave a frustrated glance down towards the floor.
“Bloody ‘ell,” he whispered to himself.
“Now that just leaves one more,” Colonel Mackenzie noted. “You! What’s your name?”
Colonel Mackenzie pointed. Everyone adjusted to look towards the poor bloke caught in the colonel’s stare.
“Me?” asked Wesley with a shaky voice.
“Yes you! The late one. What’s your name?”
“Johnston sir. Private Wesl–”
“Yes. Yes. That will do. Jenkins take Johnston here and get him ready. Be quick about it. There isn’t much time until nightfall.”
Jenkins looked over at Wesley with an annoyed expression.
“Come on chap,” Jenkins sighed. “Let’s make a proper Desert Rat out o’ you.”