Arrowhead – CLEA Aerial Support Team

Left to right: Guardian Angel, Diamond, Wyvern, Express, Hummingbird, Cowboy
Left to right: Guardian Angel, Diamond, Wyvern, Express, Hummingbird, Cowboy

Arrowhead was the second “Head” team established by CLEA. Like the other “Head” teams its primary mission is to go into a known “hostile” are with the intent of rescuing civilians under fire from armed criminals or the extraction of CLEA personnel. Being an airborne team Arrowhead frequently takes part in its secondary role of providing support for CLEA operations and personnel. Being CLEA’s only aviation team means they are rarely out of action for a long time.


CLEA DATA FILE

Primary Role:

  • Air Support/Strike

Mission Types:

  • Rescue
  • Ground Attack
  • Providing Support to other CLEA teams and assets.
  • Air Escort
  • Air Strike

Team Identities:

  • “Guardian Angel” – Graeme Bader, Team Commander
  • “Diamond” – Casey Ramirez
  • “Wyvern” – Gracilyn Neill
  • “Cowboy” – Clint Olmos
  • “Hummingbird” – Xin Chan
  • “Express” – Ken Harada

CLEA Classification:

  • Specialist Combatant (Entire Team)

Special Skills and/or Abilities:

  • Fighter pilot – Bader, Ramirez, Neill and Olmos
  • Rotorcraft specialist – Chan (usually involved in reconnaissance/spotter/support role)
  • Transport specialist – Harada. Usually flies the big and heavy aircraft and has stated on many occasions that if its big and have wings he can fly it. He is adept at flying smaller aircraft albeit not as skilled as the others when out of his comfort zone.

Tactical Weakness(s):

  • Aerial only. Cannot undertake missions without additional ground support.

Notes/History

Arrowhead was formed not long after Spearhead. Having to rely on other agencies to transport Spearhead’s vehicles into their mission zone, Chief Naylor realised they needed their own support. This along with the fact that an entirely airborne team could extract civilians relatively easily in some situations led to her forming the team. Knowing the unit would need access to at least one of more attack jets but not knowing quite how the team should be structured she had CLEA resources scour personnel files from armed forces worldwide looking for a candidate who could run the unit. That person she envisaged would be able to structure the team according to its mission profile.

The first major headache she found was that fast jet pilots usually considered their work “dream jobs” and often pilots formed strong bonds with others in their unit, thus the first people she approached did not want the job. In the end she had to rethink her strategy and look beyond currently serving military pilots. This rethink brought Graeme Bader to her attention.

Bader had served with the UKAF and during a UN peacekeeping patrol over Polvania had seen his entire unit destroyed. In adequate intel had failed to indicate a battery of missile units were in the area. Despite being cleared of any negligence somebody had to take the blame for six lives lost and being the only survivor Bader was made the scape goat and was given the choice of retiring or being dismissed. Looking at the mission data with her analysts Naylor was told that whilst an ordinary person should have been killed Bader had only escaped by using superb airmanship, shaking the missiles off using high speed low level flying. In fact his records indicated if it was not for that incident Bader was earmarked to become a teacher at the UKAF academy. On reading this Naylor knew this was the man she wanted for the job even despite his age.

After finding where Bader was hiding in the English countryside she was suprised to learn that he refused to come and see her stating that “if someone wants me that badly they can ask me in person.” The Section chief that had approached Bader mentioned that he apparently seemed to distrust people in authority, perhaps after being drummed out of the UKAF, and therefore would take some convincing before he got back in a jet.
Heeding the advice of the section chief, Naylor (and her security entourage) paid him a visit. At first Graeme seemed cold but when she explained what she was trying to do and the fact he would get to choose his own setup he decided to accept the job and came back with her to Atlantica.

Once there he decided that in order for the unit to cover its primary and secondary missions then it would need three attack jets, a spotter aircraft, a gun ship and a transport aircraft. The spotter would scan the area providing intelligence whilst the attack jets would clear the way through any air defences thus allowing the gunship and transport aircraft to get to the target, the gunship providing support against any ground based forces.

That solved the equipment requirement but once Bader turned his attention to sutiable pilots he hit the same brick wall Naylor had when reviewing the personnel files, the simple fact that anyone serving would probably not want to join CLEA and abandon their existing job. Though he had the option of finding other retired pilots Bader stated he did not believe the way forwards was to “resurrect a bunch of old codgers like me.” Instead he considered a new approach and that was to find pilots that would want to leave their current situation. If Naylor thought having Powell select the Spearhead team was a nightmare then Bader’s idea was far worse!

The first person he chose was Clint Olmos. A onetime pilot in the AADF, the personnel files indicated that he had a history of disciplinarians when younger for showboating which his superiors did not take kindly to. He matured and then attained the rank of squadron leader. Sometime later one of the young pilots under his command started doing the same thing as Clint had done when he was younger. Rather than disciplining the subordinate Clint ignored the high jinks as he thought the trick flying would allow the young pilot to attain new skills. Unfortunately the younger man was less skilled than Clint was when he was the same age and this lead to him stoving an aircraft into the ground. Though not found guilty at the inquest, Clint quit the AADF blaming himself for the accident and swore he would never get in a pilot’s seat again. After getting Naylor’s okay Bader approached Clint in an effort to get him to sign up to the team. He flatly refused but Bader managed to win him around after a long and heated argument.

Next in his selection was another Polvania “victim”, NAAF pilot Casey Ramirez. After Dushku’s death the country had fallen into civil war and the UN stepped in after Dusku’s son leading one of the sides chose to perform ethnic cleansing as part of his means to gain power through fear. As part of the multination effort the NAAF one part of the multination effort was helping to impose a no fly zone. Ramirez was shot down during a sortie and survived, only for Dushku’s forces to capture her. Paraded in front of the media she was coerced into making a statement condemning the peacekeeping efforts. Later after the civil war was over the NAAF considered her an embarrassment and quietly dismissed her. Bader saw some of his own treatment in her and wanted to give an otherwise brilliant pilot a second chance. Never wanting to give up her job flying aircraft she jumped at the chance to join the team and Naylor could not think of any solid grounds to oppose.

The same could not be said for Gracilyn Neill, another NAAF pilot, and one with a problem with authority figures. During an incident in what became known as the South China Sea crisis she had deliberately disobeyed orders. Returning home from a sortie she was supposed to land on the carrier when word came out a frigate was under fire from enemy aircraft. Low on fuel, she elected to save the frigate by engaging the enemy instead of getting her squadron down safe.

The enemy was dealt with but all three planes had to ditch. After being picked up there was an enquiry which went to a court martial. Here the other members of her squadron were absolved on any blame in following Gracilyn’s orders but she was given a five year sentence for disobeying the orders of a superior. Her council tried to make a plea for leniency but Gracilyn, in full view of the court stated “I won’t follow orders if the guy making them is a complete moron.”

Though she sounded a fiery individual Bader liked the fact Gracilyn had saved many lives in protecting the frigate. He knew his work would be cut out in making her a team player but nevertheless he wanted her.

Naylor was far from keen on the idea but in the end Bader was very persuasive so she had to call in some favours. Then after Bader met her for the first time Gracilyn was quite blunt, feeling Bader was “passed it”. Bader therefore challenged her in the simulator to see who was best. When she went head to head Bader bested her quite easily with unexpected manoeuvre after which he earned her respect

If Gracilyn had been a tricky candidate to get past Naylor, Ken Harada was even harder. A known smuggler he had been incarcerated after attempting to fly an illegal cargo of contraband into the UAS. Though the cargo was not guns or drugs it still warranted a spell in prison. The reason Bader was so interested in him was the fact that until his capture on all the other border runs into the UAS he had managed to evade border patrol jets in essentially what was a flying brick. To do those feats after being spotted showed remarkable flying skills. The problem with Harada was that unlike the American state that had held Gracilyn, getting Tanaka released from the UAS was going to be far harder as the UAS were very strict when it came to crime and punishment. In negotiations that resembled peace talks between countries Naylor got Harada released but at the same time she had to arrange to take care of a drug cartel operation in a remote UAS region.

The last person on Bader’s list was already known to CLEA, for all the wrong reasons because Xin Chan was on CLEA’s watch list. After starting out in China, as a civilian pilot she had gone over to New Tokyo looking for more lucrative business. Whilst operating out of the mega city she lost her wings after an accident. The investigation and hearing blamed the accident on her incompetence and she claimed it was a mechanical failure the manufacturer was paying to cover up. Aggrieved at the decision Xin decided to bypass the lack of a licence by travelling elsewhere to various conflict zones around the world where she offered her services. In such places nobody asked too many questions. At first she operated as a cargo pilot before she join a mercenary squadron the “Red Dragons”. At the time they were working for anti-government forces in the far east country Khirana. By working for them Xin gained combat training. As soon as she became a mercenary her name appeared on CLEA’s watchlist but since Khirana did not recognise CLEA they only monitored her movements in case she left and committed crimes in other countries that did allow CLEA to operate. Intel in her file stated that she received combat training when part of the Red Dragons but did not remain with the group that long after it became apparent that their “employers” wanted the mercs to attack pro government civilian areas. That she would not do and so left the group and went solo. After visiting some other trouble spots around the world she appeared to be inactive.

An expert in flying rotorcraft and other small spotter type aircraft Bader thought she would be ideal for a role on the team. The idea of a merc with scruples also indicated she was unusual and obviously cared about not “hurting” the wrong people. Like several other members on the team, when Naylor’s people tracked her down Xin was not all that keen on signing on with Bader. Having lost her license by trusting “the system” she did not trust the so called people representing law and justice. Bader therefore suggested that if she worked for the team then CLEA might be able to clear her name and at the least her flight status would be officially restored. This she accepted.

Having created his team Bader was then left with the problem of making them work like a team rather than a group of individuals. At first their personalities had serious conflicts of interest but over a period of a few months he was able to get them to at least work together. Once the unit was operational it then took an even longer time before they could start trusting each other but in the end the sense of comradeship that was normal in military units began to form. Once that happened the team became a powerful force for CLEA.

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