This final part of section 1
|By the end of the week, the plan was already in action to enhance the perimeter and begin recon patrols of the surrounding town. Several theories about why there hadn’t been more zombie attacks were brought up and discussed, the most common being that the closest town had at one time been a thriving community of over 12,000, supporting the naval base, but soon after defense budget cuts, it had dwindled down to only slightly less than 4000. Construction of the wall had begun after it was determined that materials were already at hand to facilitate it. The final plan called for the wall to have a slope to the outside, starting at the base but be straight up and down on the inside. Lt. Willis and Capt. Burgess recommended that claymore mines be placed at five feet height along the outside with command detonation switches located at the central bunker, newly constructed just inside the main gate. Guard stations were every 50 feet along the top, close enough to provide mutual support in the event of an attack. A successful recon/forage patrol had recovered the stadium lights from the local high school, several large generators of construction size from the local building contractors, all the medical supplies from the small community hospital, 60mm mortars, ammunition, more weapons from the national guard armory, the local police station and the only sporting goods store in town. The grocery store and 24hour gas station were emptied and then boarded up. The minimal zombie presence was a great training aid for the Marines who conducted the patrols sometimes with Aaron who had become the master scrounger able to locate the most esoteric of items. Because of the past protestor problem, the Marine security force had been equipped with the Cadillac Gage ‘Ranger’ patrol vehicle that they had used occasionally for perimeter patrol. Modeled after the Chevy suburban, the Ranger was it’s big brother on steroids, it sported a 7.62 machine gun on the roof, a crew of eight, smoke grenade dispensers, fully armored, self sealing fuel tank, run flat tires, firing ports along the side, could have side skirts attached for crowd control that swung out and locked into place and heavy enough to prevent a crowd from tipping it over if they got close enough. The only downfall of this vehicle was fuel consumption.
At present, the base fuel stores were sufficient as several tankers trucks had been located and recovered at the truck stop just outside of town. These trucks were used to pump out the fuel from the truck stop and the only gas station in town. The patrol to recover those tankers had gone down like clockwork. The Marines who were to breech the building all wore the riot armor that had sat in storage for years. Similar to the Damascus hard shell cell extraction armor, this armor was several layers thick, had forearm, elbow, leg, groin, shin, chest and foot coverings and when completed with a large four foot by three foot shield, the Marines were virtually unstoppable. The zombies who had remained at the truck stop for whatever reason were quickly dispatched when the doors were kicked in and the Marines entered with their shields and armor. One Marine even had a zombie bite onto his forearm with no effect. The riot armor was too thick for them to bite through; the Marine just dropped his shield, reached over to take the Kimber .45 out of that hand and blew the brains out of the zombie that thought he was a meal. The mop up was quick and dirty as all the zombie bodies were checked to make sure that all had received the fatal headshot before the Marines conducted an exfil of the area with the tankers in tow.
The radio antenna project had started but was stopped temporarily when supplies ran out to complete it. Contact with CINCPAC was attempted using the secure SATCOM on the Claggett but was unable to be reestablished. The DSN (military phone lines, separate from the civilian phone lines and using a different number prefix) hard lines were still up and Powell had a mixed team of civilians and military dialing through the military phone books in hopes that somewhere, a facility was still intact and operational. The Coast Guard Cutter, Hampton was due to return from its coastal patrol pattern search for survivors in a few days and the submarine tender, McAffee, had finally made Port Winthrop with a crew of twenty five carrying enough supplies and equipment to keep the Claggett running in top shape for several more years, and bringing with it skilled machinists and technicians.
By the end of the month, the perimeter wall project was complete. It had been a massive undertaking but now stood as piece of mind and a deterrent some 50ft back from the furthest chain link fence. Any zombie attack would now have to breach that fence climb over the concrete barriers and razor wire, cross the patrol road, breach the interior fence, cross more concrete barriers and razor wire and then have the wall to contend with, if they managed to get through the mortar barrage and heavy machine gun fire. The main gate had been rebuilt to a large rebar and iron interlaced gate that operated on hydraulic arms.
The civilian security personnel manned the walls with a small group of Marines acting as cadre during the day and at night, the Marines and SEALs patrolled it at night with their night vision equipment. Noels’ group of workers had used heavy equipment to push back the tree line on three sides of the perimeter to over 100yards, making it a killing zone with no where to hide. The 60mm mortars, located in firing pits adjacent to their ammo, were sited in to fire into that killing field with overlapping fields of fire. Two dozen .50 M2 heavy machine guns that had been scrounged from the same armory as the mortars had been sited at random guard stations with two overlooking the main gate. All the extra 7.62 older M60s that had been recovered were checked for serviceability, those not useable were stripped for spare parts while the rest were used at the rest of the remaining guard stations. Placing the claymores along the outside of the wall had almost depleted the supplies of the SEALs and the Marines, so that item was added to the ever-growing list of supplies to locate. Plans to send a recon force up the coast to larger cities were discussed and logistics worked out. It would be primarily a survivor rescue mission but if the opportunity arose to gather needed supplies, both tasks would need to be achieved.