PHD #235: Can Vans
Can Vans
Summary: The CAG and Marine S3 discuss upcoming plans for operations
Date: 19 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: Not really.
Cidra Vandenberg 
Training Room
A little taller than most rooms, this one was able to find some space under a section of Engineering that didn't require it. Overhead from the deck is a small catwalk where observers can watch the goings-on below them between the shift able walls. Nominally, set up for training in urban terrain, the course offers a variety of different training grounds with the different configurations including homes, offices and even battlestar corridors. All ammunition used in this area is paint or laser and as the signs repeat on every wall, the use of lead ammunition is a violation of Naval Regulations.
Post-Holocaust Day: #235

The Training Room is pretty empty at the moment. The only soul is Lieutenant Vandenberg who is dressed in her blacks. The combat vest is lain across a nearby table with her radio and helmet. She's currently shuffling the walls around the room on her own, which might be a bit humerous considering her size. No matter! She charges ahead with the job at hand while she works at setting up an exercise. It is anyone's guess what she has in mind with this configuration or the direction it is heading.

A soft "Ahem" clearing of her throat announces Cidra's entrance into the training room. In her blues, for her part, reasonably neat and pressed. The CAG cleaned herself up for this. "Lieutenant Vandenberg?" she inquires. As if half-reluctant to interrupt the woman in her work. Blue eyes flit to the Marine's set-up work on the walls curiously, brows slightly arched.

The Lieutenant glances over her shoulder quickly to see who is calling her name. Its a quick, almost reflexive look as she shoves a wall across the floor. "Yeah? What ca-" She tenses a second and turns quickly back to face the Major. "Sir!" A quick breath later and a shake of her head, "Apologies, sir. What can I do for you tonight? Is this about the details of Air Wing options, Major?" Vandenberg is not shy about coming to attention.

"I do hope I am not disturbing you. This matter is not pressing if so," Cidra replies. "I merely had some free moments and did think it best to get matters attended to. You mentioned, we spoke of using Raptors for extended HALO exercises, of other training you did wish to pursue?"

"Negative, sir. I'm just working this out now so I don't have to do it tomorrow morning before PT." The Lieutenant seems quite adamant that it is not a problem. "Aye. I did mention that. But I was hoping you might be interested in including your Vipers in on this. I spoke with Sergeant Constin a few days ago about training and he expressed an interest in improving the way that the Air Wing works with the Marines. Specifically, he mentioned that this Marine unit has a set of laser target designators?" The Marine pauses a second as if looking for a flicker of recognition on the CAG's face. "If that is the case, the Sergeant suggested we put them to use. I don't know the state of your ordinance, but if you would like to expend some for training on ground targets, we have the targets and the opportunity for some low-stress training, sir."

Cidra nods an affirmative, as to laser target designators. "We are attempting to be sparing with our ordinance," she says, with a good deal of caution at the idea. "We do not, of course, have a way to replace any of our missiles or the like. No sense blowing up perfectly good landscape that is not dotted by Cylons if it can be avoided. However, our ships are fully equipped for laser targeting exercises, and we could likely improvise some dummy 'bombs' from the bits we have salvaged on Aerilon if it came to it.

"That's actually a fair-good idea," Vandenberg pipes up at the end. "Salvage some steel and make- what did you call them? Dummy bombs? Fill them with paint or funky colored dirt or something so we can see hits." The blond looks like she's slowly building energy off this, a steady smile creeping across her features. "But, we would not be blowing up landscape, per se." She motions to her vest real quick as if asking permission, though she doesn't wait for it. Its only a few steps. A deft hand reaches inside to a hidden map pocket and removes one. "Sir? When I was down on Aerilon with my fireteam for eight months? We did a lot." Practiced movements bring the map open and fold it open to the relevant area. "In particular, we knocked out a pair of- What do you call them? A 'Forge' I think? We just called them Can Vans. Thats," she flips her hand around quickly, "here nor there though. But there are two destroyed antiaircraft vehicles down there. Here: Right outside Neath. They're burned to hulks but they still are actual enemy vehicles. Does that whet your appetite, sir?" she asks hopefully.

"Dummies, precisely," Cidra says with the faintest of smiles. It appeals. "Perhaps the snipes or Deckies could assist in assembling these devices if they do have the time. We have seen little of the Cylons around Aerilon since we came so we have, at least, had a chance to catch up on repairs and maintenance." Though the lack of Cylons seems to cause her more vague unease than anything else. She inclines her her head short in whatever permission Vandenberg required, though she does not seem put out the woman didn't bother to wait. That faint smile curves at mention of the targets. "Oh, I think that would do passing well."

Vandenberg's face comes alight with a full smile. "Glad to hear it, sir. What we are thinking about doing is having a few pilots on the ground to either call in your Vipers and Raptors as well so they might get a better appreciation of what we see on the ground. I don't mean to insinuate that your men and women are lacking skills, but it is a different world down there when you are trying to read a map in a hectic situation and call for help that is travelling- like, a bajillion miles per hour." Obviously a technical term. "The focus is to get everyone on the ground acclimated to the stress of it just in case, Gods' forbid, they are ever put into the situation. Afterwards, your pilots on the ground can get together with those who flew and they can exchange stories and experiences. Which, in my own experience, seems to be the best way to pick up hints and tips."

"I am a Raptor pilot by both training and skill, Lieutenant. I am quite aware of the many difficulties inherent in ground operations in atmosphere," Cidra says. "Quite a few of my Raptor personnel spent a good part of their career assisting in ground ops, in fact. You may wish to coordinate this training with my Captain Quinn and Lieutenant Trask. Both did extensive tours with an assaultstar on Sagitarron. I shall also want one of my Viper squadron leaders, Captain Vakos I do think, involved. Vipers are, inherently, more directed toward space operations but she did a tour primarily devoted to Raptor support and should, at least, be able to pinpoint practice areas we shall want to focus on."

The Lieutenant inclines her head to a nod. "Aye, sir. I can get together with them to discuss this without a problem. I meant no offense with my comments. I'm just trying to explain my whole theory. My brain doesn't fire off an idea unless I actually word the whole thing first." Its an awkward moment for her. "That's the specific points I wanted to hit. Is there anything you would like for us to work with your pilots on, sir? Anything at all. I have Sergeant Constin assigned as our Jump Master, Sergeant Lysander helping to coordinate the actual classroom training on the ground, and Staff Sergeant Crowe in oversight. Between the four of us we can cover just about anything you might require."

"I take no offense, Lieutenant," Cidra says. Her manner is entirely unruffled, for her part. "The mission of air support is a wide-ranging one and my personnel come from a patchwork of squadron focuses and experiences. There are some pilots who operate their entire careers barely touching Colonial soil, others who have worked primarily out of bases and providing support for Marine units. Anyhow. Most helpful area, for me and mine, you could likely focus on coordination and communication. Relay of target coordinates via wireless, refresher in Colonial and other signal codes…anything that would make it easier for my pilots to understand what those on the ground need of us. And what we need of you."

Vandenberg listens with complete patience, the bubbling enthusiasm from a few moments ago now tucked back away inside. "I was unaware pilots did that much, sir. Its items like this that help our two different departments form a cohesive team. A better understanding certainly won't hurt operations in the future." She claps her hands behind her back. "But I'll endeavor to make sure that communication is gone over. Likely I will ask your squadron leaders for their preferred method and run with that. Your teams drive the fast movers, after all, sir. From there I'll work with my Marines to ensure we can build something that works fluidly for both of us."

"I have always held that a good Wing is nothing more than a machine with many moving parts trained well to operate together. A battlestar is that times a hundred," Cidra says. "Anyhow, that does sound most excellent. Captain Vakos and Lieutenant Trask are readily available. Captain Quinn is a bit…indisposed at the present time…" Faint crease of worry lines her brow, though otherwise her expression remains carefully schooled. "…but I am sure she shall take an interest in this as soon as she is available. Shall be good to get the blood flowing all around, I do think."

"Good way to look at it, sir. The Corps isn't much different. An individual Viper and a Rifleman aren't too far apart in concept. Sure, they can lay some hurt on their own, but only when they're working with others of their own kind will you really start making the enemy regret it." Vandenberg gives the CAG a stout nod. She's with the Major all the way. "We'll make it happen. I've got a lot of Marines who have been telling me they're bored, Major. I intend to make them regret the complaints. If you would ever like to involve your pilots in some of our maneuvers either as enemy forces or bystanders, I could always forward you a copy of our training concepts. I don't buy into rivalry. I believe the more active we stay, sir, the better. And that goes all the way around the Battlestar. It doesn't stop at that hatch with the Marines." As she finished the second to last sentence, she slices a hand towards the mentioned hatch.

"Most certainly. I do like to keep my people on their toes. Though, after these past months, I shall not complain about the quiet," Cidra says. "Though I shall admit…" Slim line of a frown. "…it unsettles. We found the same - at least in regard to the Cylons - on Sagittaron that we have found here. No enemy presence save the infrastructure and destruction they left behind. I do not believe they depart so easily. At least, I believe it shall come at an ill purpose." She clears her throat. "In any case. I would be most interested in seeing your training materials. And if you are ever curious about what does go on in our simulation training, you are welcome to sit in. We do have a variety of programs. A pair of my younger officers have been redesigning the programming we flew out of Picon with, to approximate the advances the Cylon raiders have made sense the data we had from the war of forty years gone."

Resettling her hands behind her back, Vandenberg nods as the Major finishes. "The last action my fireteam saw on Sagittaron was July fifth, sir. We still saw Raiders for another week or two then they vanished. I agree, though. They're killing machines, sir. They didn't nuke our colonies just for giggles and then truck themselves off a few as if it were a consolation 'Second Place' to us for Warday. I'm with you, Major. I believe something is brewing which is why I want to rapidly increase our training tempo for the Marines." The last offer gets a half sneer, half smile from the Lieutenant. "Sir? That would be fantastic. You know what might be interesting? Grab a few of our more responsible," and thus less prone to acting childish, "Marines down to your sims. Have them make a few runs and try to bomb targets from Vipers. Let us see how your team works so we can get a better idea of just how crazy it can be for you while we might think we have it worse. It might clear a few minds. Think it might be doable, sir?"

"They are regrouping, we have seen that much," Cidra says. "While they have pulled out from here they have fortified Virgon and Picon, and still remain on Caprica and Gemenon. Likely the other colonies as well. My Raptors are undertaking renewed reconnaissance efforts while we have this down-time. Where they are, we can figure. For what purpose…I admit it still eludes me, and unsettles me more each day I cannot see the answer." Brows arch at the prospect of Marines in Vipers. Though she seems as much amused as skeptical. "Keep in mind, Viper gunnery is a very different animal than what you lot are trained to deal with. Our sims are designed to train one how to fly a Viper, and be used by trained Viper pilots. I suspect your Marines would not find themselves knowledgeable in getting the plane 'off the ground,' as it were. Nor should they be. Me and mine would not know how to lead a fire team if it came to them. But if you are interested in the experiment of it, I can be on hand with another instructor to show you the machines."

Vandenberg looks a touch grim. "Virgon and Picon." She takes a long breath and looks to the floor between them. "Makes me curious why they chose those two. Wouldn't a machine fold their withdrawn resources into a more even deployment? I guess they have something worth defending there." She's silent a moment, pondering it all to herself. "But I guess that's obvious to anyone." She looks back up and flashes a smile that's devoid of humor. "But yes, sir, that is the point. Get my Marines down there. Let them try to handle a Viper and see how difficult it is. I'll admit, I would love to give it a shot myself but I would likely crash leaving the tube." That does make her smile. But only a little. "In fact, I'd be willing to bet your officers have better luck leading a fireteam than my Marines do with your sims. But I think it might be good to have our Marines set up on a bombing run to try and hit a target while another Marine calls out coordinates. Watch them humble themselves on it and take away lessons to help -us- better appreciate the difficulty in calling for air support."

"My theory is resources are their prime concern," Cidra says. "This pull-out all seemed to begin after we hit their biological facility over Sagittaron. Has Major Willosw-Cavanaugh briefed you on that operation?" She waits not for an answer. "Anyhow, we did much damage to them there, destroyed a fair few of their basestars. Among other items they likely valued. There are a great many base metals - largely from destroyed Colonial ships - still around Picon and Virgon. Likely Scorpia as well. I shall be interested to find if my Raptor sent there can confirm my theory. Perhaps we actually did so them some damage. And if so, they are likely rebuilding." As for the latter, she waves a hand. "The right tool for the right job. It takes two years, under ideal circumstances, to train a Colonial fighter pilot. I think it not humbling that one cannot do a job one is not properly trained for. Put me in Engineering, for example, and watch me promptly stall our ship's fine FTL. But, if you think it would be valuable, I can slate them some Sim time. I shall just make certain to have my people on hand to keep the machines and programs in line."

"No, I haven't received any briefings. I read the reports, though, sir. I think I'm still being felt-out for being a Cylon. I've barely been on the ship a week so its quite understandable. As for their operations?" The Lieutenant makes a face and looks away. "Overall? I'm a groundpounder, sir. Fleets and the like aren't my thing. But being the S-Three? It makes sense. What you're proposing, I mean. This fleet appears to have really hit them in some sensitive places. I'm not a little proud to be working with it now." And it shows on her face and in her voice. Vandenberg really seems intent on throwing herself into the work. "It may not necessarily be valuable, sir, but it would give us some insight. At the very least, I would like to get Constin, Crowe, and Lysander down there so we know what we will be dealing with as far as your end of operations are concerned. Getting that peek into your world may give us the edge to silk-out communications and what needs to be taught in our classes."

"If insight is what they want they would be better off riding along on a Raptor on a combat air patrol. See the real thing," Cidra says. "And they are welcome to that as they are able. But, if you wish them Sim time, I can certainly grant it. If nothing else, they might get something useful out of working the wireless and DRADIS systems, see how things look from an aircraft perspective."

The Lieutenant dips her head once more. "I'd rather not have Marines poking over the shoulders of a Raptor crew during an active patrol, sir, but I appreciate the meaning and offer. When it comes to that actual operations, I would prefer my people keep their focus on what their jobs are. My mission as of right now is to train people for worst case scenarios. Getting Engineers trained up on firearms, pilots trained on the best way to conceal themselves on the ground, and Deck personnel ready for something like what this fleet was forced into on Leonis." She takes a long breath, then. "But yes, sir. I appreciate the sim time. I'll put out a notice for volunteers and make it very clear that this is not an excuse to screw off. I will personally deal with anyone who disrespects the equipment or the opportunity. You have my word on that, Major."

"We can keep them from breaking it, I do suspect. Viper pilots are not particularly gentle creatures by nature, either," Cidra says wryly, with that bare hint of a smile. "Well. I shall be interested to see what you come up with. And in coordinating more with my people - and you and Major Willows-Cavanaugh - on this air-to-ground ordinance training of yours. But. I am keeping you from your duties, I am sure. And I should be attending to my own. I wish you good hunting, Lieutenant."

"If they break your sims, sir, I will ensure they never forget what they are responsible for. I'll promise they spend a week cleaning the deepest, darkest, dirtiest hole on this boat. Then they can move on to the second worst." Vandenberg seems to really take this seriously. "We'll get it done, sir. I'm looking forward to all of this, myself." A sharp salute lifts to the departing Cidra. "Good hunting, Major."

"Clear eyes and steady hands," Cidra replies, returning the salute. And off she goes.

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