Part 7: Clearing the Arteries of the Apple Monday, 130728R Feb 1984 "WNBC time is 7:28. Now Jane Gennaro with the traffic." "Traffic is heavy on the West Side Highway this morning going to the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels and the GW Bridge; expect delays up to half an hour. Traffic is lighter on the East Side. On Long Island, the LIE and BQE are bumper to bumper. Metro-North and the LIRR report lighter than usual traffic coming into the city." The Lieutenant went back to paying attention to his breakfast. There were only fifty-one soldiers and State Guards in the Armory, and none of them were cooks. Someone in Albany had been smart enough to realize that and a contract had been let out to a local catering company to provide three meals a day to the Armory. "Of course, officers are expected to continue to pay for their meals," Major Sholom reminded his three lieutenants. "Technically we're not in State service." "Never mind that, Sholom," said Lt. Col. Capparelli, commander of the 5th Regiment. "Get in and eat. We'll settle it later." The Lieutenant said to Maggione and Kingsley, "Guys, put some money aside to pay for this. Someone will settle it later, no matter what." Capparelli pointed to the aluminum foil casserole pans. "The eggs are getting cold." A runner came into the drill hall, found Sholom, and said, "Telephone call, sir." Sholom went to answer it. He returned in two minutes. He whispered in Capparelli's ear. The State Guard colonel stood up. "Everyone get ready to move out in thirty minutes. Draw your weapons." Sholom said, "That includes us, gentlemen. Rifles, load-bearing gear, and helmets." "What's going on, sir?" "We'll tell you when we assemble." "Are we deploying?" Maggione asked. "Not yet," Kingsley said. "We haven't been asked to take our duffels." "Keep thinking," said the Lieutenant. "It's a good habit to cultivate. By the way, boys, in your copious amounts of free time, have you been keeping up with your branch qualification courses? No? Well, we will see about that. I can get my books and we can make sure you're ready to lead infantry. You have ten minutes to report back here in field gear, ready to move, and nine just expired. MOVE." Master Sergeant Williams said, "Are you ready, sir?" "What's the word?" "Someone tried to sabotage the Lincoln Tunnel last night." "What? How in the hell did they keep it secret?" "A radio patrol car saw a bunch of men riding in a van. They followed the van into the tunnel on a hunch. The guys in the van stopped in the middle of the and brought out sticky bombs and det cord. The cops moved in before they could set demolition charges. The saboteurs shot back at the cops. The cops shot back and a Port Authority unit was able to help. They killed three and captured two wounded saboteurs." The Lieutenant said, "You got this from..." "My connections with the Port Authority Police." "Do they know who they are?" "Not yet, but the word Spetznaz comes to mind." "Ogarkov is getting funny, Williams. That's an act of war, but they did try to sabotage Hamburg last week, and we didn't start shooting then. But those tunnels are the Big Apple's oxygen." "And we may end up on tunnel duty, Lieutenant." "I can practice counting tiles," he said, smiling grimly. The National and State Guardsmen formed up at 7:50. Capparelli was less of a stickler for formality than the Colonel. "Break ranks and huddle.... Listen up. The FBI has asked us to block off the roads around 21st and 24th Street and Sixth and Seventh Avenues. They'll be doing the heavy lifting." "What's there?" a State Guard sergeant asked. "Only the headquarters of the Communist Party USA." The soldiers growled. "About time for those assholes to get it," a State NCO said. He followed up with team assignments. "And be careful out there." The State troops slinged their M-14s, while the National Guardsmen checked their M-16s and looked at Sholom. "Let's go, gentlemen," the major said.