Things You Remember
By Leia Fee  

Hannibal . As in the elephants," I remember someone telling me when I asked about Colonel Smith's nickname. I had to have the reference explained to me--I wasn't exactly a history student. Mind you neither was the guy doing the telling, but everyone in the unit knew that story. We all joked about it, but there was a sort of stubborn pride in retelling. When the latest orders came in and we'd again drawn some near-suicidal mission, the joking refrain would always be, "So they're sending us over the alps again then."

When I first heard I was being assigned to Colonel Smith's A-Team I wasn't sure whether I should be flattered or scared to death. They were good. I heard all the stories about them but Hannibal 's somewhat mixed reputation was well known. The general consensus seemed to be that the men who served under him thought he was insane and brilliant, and everybody else though he was insane and dangerous.

That first mission I did with him convinced me of both, but I wouldn't have traded places with any other man out there.


Faceman came to us living up to his nickname, looking far too pretty and innocent to be out there. The other guys used to tease him about it, but within a week he had them queuing up to trade favours, swap duty shifts and fork out cash, MPCs or anything else worth trading, in exchange for his various acquisitions. Silver-tongued didnít begin to cover it. Face could sell you your own right hand and leave you thanking him for it. All those wild plans of Hannibal 's seemed a bit more feasible with access to all the 'extras' Face got hold of for us.

He joined up during one of the odd lulls we'd get from time to time where we'd go weeks without an engagement. Everyone was pretty jumpy by the time we got sent out and it was a bad one. All hell broke loose before we were even out of the jeep and I saw Face go ass-over and lose his helmet. I guess it would have been funny if we hadn't been about o get blown away --My Anything-Anyplace-Anytime unable to hang onto his own hat--as it was I slapped mine on his head and told him he owed me a real Hershey's candy bar when we got back.

Next supply chopper that came in after we got back brought a crate of them.


Everyone was pretty used to Hannibal 's unorthodox personnel choices, but even the rest of the unit was surprised by the arrival of Sergeant 'Bad Attitude' Baracus. Before he's even moved his gear into our barracks the gamblers were running a book on how long it'd be before he took a swing at Hannibal and what the hell would happen when he did.

In the first few week he got a cautious sort of acceptance--certainly no one wanted to get on his bad side, and no one doubted the usefulness of his ability to fix just about anything that drove, shot, or flew. It wasn't until later that I realised he'd been just as wary of us as we were of him. He'd been shifted from unit to unit his entire tour, always the troublemaker, the outsider. That's no way to build trust and you need trust under fire. You've got to know you can rely on the guy next to you.

You can't really trust unless you're trusted in return though and Hannibal trusted B.A. right from the start. No one liked walking point--made you too much of a target--but that night Hannibal asked B.A. to do it he grinned like he'd been given Christmas early. After he got shot everyone of the unit visited him in the infirmary. We took care of our own and there was no longer any question that B.A. was one of ours.


And then there was Murdock. I guess that was another of Hannibal 's idiosyncrasies--he liked to know who was doing the flying. Most commanders considered the pilots as interchangeable as the choppers--as long as they got you there in one piece it didn't make a difference.

Murdock was unique though--howling on takeoff, singing all the way to the LZ and then grinning and waving like we were away on holiday when he dropped us off. He flew like he expected gravity to make a special exception just for him and, like more or less everyone else, I was never quite sure where he drew the line between confidence and recklessness.

Crazy or not, he hauled us out of the heat more times than I can count. Like that one out of Danang. That was a screw-up if ever there was one. Our air support had been shredded, there was so much flak even the medevacs had withdrawn and we were just trying to keep our heads out of the firing line. I sent up a smoke but I was pretty convinced we'd had it. There was just nothing left in the sky to come get us.

I damn near gave a howl myself when I heard Murdock's voice over the radio telling me to vector him in.

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