The next morning our entire company gathered in the ready tent for a briefing direct from the company commander. This was unusual, all other briefings had taken place in the TOC and were delivered by our squad leader.
Our CO informed us that overnight a ceasefire had been agreed upon. As a result, officers of NATO would be moving to the heliport in East Germany to inspect it for future relief operations. They would be escorted by the Canadian squad. Additional NATO officers would be inspecting the war damage at Neuhaussen Spree accompanied by US squad 2. The British/German squad would hold the West German side of the boarder just north of Cotbus and our squad would escort a Russian element and officers to inspect the airport.
Additionally, in the name of trust and everlasting peace, all radio communications would be in the clear. No codes, no SOI. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me my trusty radio had quit working sometime between my comm check and our arrival in the AO.
Arriving in the airport, we took positions covering the British/West German unit on the border. I found that I had mistakenly brought an SOI card into the field and quickly burned it at the direction of my squad leader. This actually turned out to be a good thing because as a result we found some East German equipment in the building I had ducked into to burn my card. This was later turned over to the Russians as a gesture of good faith.
At the agreed upon time, the Russian unit in two vehicles crossed into West Germany and proceeded to the airport. Their officers moved about in a group, mumbling to our S2 (Intelligence officer) about the condition of trucks, buildings and the like. Their security element kept a loose perimeter around them, and we kept a perimeter around that. To make matters more confusing, we had been advised that some East German units had failed to conform to the terms of the ceasefire and may attack. It was not only our job to eliminate every last Russian if they try anything, it was also our job to protect them from other attacks.
This delicate dance seemed to drag on forever. I attempted to keep at least 2 Russian soldiers in sight at all time while keeping an eye out for an outside attack and remaining within diving distance of a piece of cover for either scenario at all times. Truly, this was the most stressful couple hours of the entire event!
Here right in front of us were the soldiers that we had been fighting all week. We were outnumbered but far from outgunned and had already decided that we wouldn’t be going down without a fight.
Around halfway through this ordeal, our CO came sliding up in his Mutt (Jeep). For a moment, I thought his security detail had been killed or captured and all hell was about to break loose. Instead, he called my squad leader and I over, and advised us about the communication issue. I came to find out that my squad leader’s radio hand set had been destroyed on the drive out the AO so neither of us had a working radio. I exchanged my hand set for his (attempting to hide this information from the surrounding Russian soldiers) and trotted back to my place on the perimeter.
Another tense period passed with everyone eyeing everyone and the officers moving about and inspecting things. All of a sudden the radios of both factions crackled to life:
It was over. Two hundred and sixteen hours had passed and Eastwind was officially over. I had no words – I was exhausted, ecstatic, exhausted, sad and relieved all at once. We all piled into the trucks and met back at our base. Changing into fresh uniforms, we headed en masse to the WARPAC camp where they were waiting for us in formation. We toured their camp, learned about their equipment and how they had lived for the past week. We then all tranferred back to the NATO camp so the WARPAC guys could tour it. We then all sat down for a hearty meal and started the goodbye process. It was bittersweet, even though it was just another BB war, we had all gone through something together that none of us would soon forget.