April Fool's Day, 1984
On April Fool's, a decade hence,
A hole appears within a fence.
I will be called to patch it.
The part which leaves is very great.
Then I will learn about my fate.
I must work hard to match it.
Predictive poem -- Lyn Buchanan April Fool's Day, 1974
April Fool's Day seemed somehow appropriate as the day to
report to my new military unit. No one had told me where it was.
In spite of a very shallow and clandestine briefing at a Czech
restaurant in Germany, I wasn't really sure of what the unit
did, or for that matter what I would be doing in it. To top that
off, I had been given two different sets of orders: one
"official" set, printed on paper, and a totally different set,
given verbally. The official orders said that I was to report to
HHQ Co, 902 MIBn, INSCOM, Ft. Meade. Translated into human
speech, that stands for Headquarters & Headquarters Company,
902nd Military Intelligence Battalion, Intelligence and Security
Command, located at Fort Meade, Maryland.
But the verbal orders I had received said that I should not
go anywhere near the 902nd. Upon reaching Fort Meade, Maryland,
I was to check in at the military guest quarters and call a
certain phone number to let a special agent know that I had
arrived. Under no circumstances was I to report in to the 902nd,
as my written orders stated. In effect, I had been instructed to
go AWOL the first day of my new assignment.
My wife, Linda, my seven-year-old son, Lael, and I arrived at
the Baltimore-Washington International Airport late in the
evening of April 1, 1984. It is customary for a soldier and his
family to call the unit to which he is reporting and have a
staff driver pick them up. I couldn't do that, due to the verbal
orders. We took a cab from the airport to the Fort Meade Guest
House. The desk clerk asked for my orders and said that he would
call the unit and let them know I was in. He was somewhat
perplexed when I asked him not to.
In the room, I pulled out the napkin which had been given to
me in the Czech restaurant in Germany. The hand-scrawled phone
number on it was for a private residence in the Fort Meade area.
A man's voice answered, and said that we should all wait in the
parking lot in front of the guest house. He would come right by.
When we arrived in the parking lot, a dense, misty fog had
rolled in, making the whole scene look like something out of a
Hollywood spy movie. The guest house is far removed from the
other base facilities, so the darkness was oppressive. All we
could see through the swirling fog was the fuzzy, eerie glow of
the guest house's neon sign at the edge of the parking lot. We
stood quietly, feeling small drops of mist sweeping against our
faces in the moist night breeze. With the fog, the world had
gone deathly quiet, and nothing could be heard except our own
breathing and the electric crackle of the neon sign's
transformer. Even Lael, an active and impatient seven-year-old
still on German time, was subdued by the surrounding mystery.
I looked at my wife and marveled at the courage of this woman
who would accompany me anywhere in the world, on nothing more
than faith that I would do the right thing. I wondered how she
could keep that faith even at times like this, when she knew
that I had absolutely no idea of what I was getting us into. She
looked back at me and gave the slightest of smiles. The silent
mist swirled and we shifted from one foot to the other and
The events leading up to my new assignment at Fort Meade
were, quite frankly, odd. I had been working at the U.S. Army
Field Station in Augsburg, Germany, for a little over two years.
I had originally been assigned there as a Russian linguist, but
through some devious manipulation, had worked my way into the
Computer Operations and Coordination section.
At that time, the coordination of the computers at the field
station was a large task, since we had almost a hundred
different computer systems with several different countries of
origin. The computer systems did not "talk" to each other, and
there was constant conflict among the data fields, the
computers, and the people and countries who ran them.
I had been there almost a year when I received the order to
design a program that would tie the field station's many
computer systems together into a single reporting entity.
Another sergeant -- I'll call him Doug -- felt that he should
have gotten the job and was very hostile toward me for the
selection. During the following two months, Doug repeatedly got
into my programming code and placed "bombs" there, as his means
of revenge. I confronted him several times, but it only fanned
the flames. In frustration and as a total last resort, I
reported him to his superiors, who threatened him with
disciplinary action if he did it again. There were no more
interruptions from Doug and in another month I had the program
running and tested.
Now I had to make the necessary demonstration briefing to the
commanders of the various U.S. military branches and the
military commanders of more than a dozen different NATO
countries that had personnel at the field station. When the day
came to make the demonstration, I arrived early, checked and
rechecked the program for errors or flaws. There was none. I ran
it through all the testing procedures and made certain the
presentation would go smoothly. Everything checked out
perfectly. Right before presentation time, I went to the
bathroom to make certain my hair was well combed and there were
no scuffs on my spit-shined shoes or wrinkles in my uniform. At
the appointed time, the commanding officers of every military
unit attached to the field station began to assemble for the
briefing on the new computer program.
I went through the initial song and dance about the need for
such a program, what problems it would solve, what benefits
would be reaped, and so on. I then turned and hit the computer's
enter key to begin the demonstration. The computer screen went
blank. Something had gone wrong. I turned back to the chuckling
audience and searched for something to say when I saw Doug
standing in the doorway. He grinned menacingly and pointed a
finger at me. "Gotcha!" he mouthed, and turned to leave.
Something welled up in me then, which had not happened in
years: an uncontrollable rage. Earlier in life, I had been one
of those "poltergeist" children. I had learned in my early teens
that when I allow myself to get truly angry, things around me go
crazy. As Doug turned to leave, things did exactly that.
When I was about twelve years old, odd things began to happen
in the form of objects around me moving or bumping, or suddenly
falling for no apparent reason. It was bothersome to others, but
to me, it was odd and interesting. It felt as if it was
something I was doing so I began trying to learn what it could
be. I learned that I could sometimes cause a few small things to
happen -- simple things -- at will. They were not enough to
really impress anyone, but they were enough to spur me onward. I
devised some mental exercises to help me "flex my mind muscles."
I developed a "little voice" that would give the orders and help
keep things organized. I understood completely that it was just
a device of my own making, and not a real voice. It was not an
entity of any kind, a spirit, or even an alter ego. I was not
really hearing things. It was just a gimmick I had devised to
separate my regular thoughts from those that were supposed to
make the weird things happen. I was never afraid of it, and
actually thought of it as a really neat plaything. I had
complete control over it.
Through this and some other exercises that I devised, I
learned to make bigger things happen, and could make the smaller
things happen with little effort. But as I got better at it, the
things that happened "by themselves" got stronger, too. I
practiced and learned more control, so these spurious incidents
became less frequent, but when they did happen, they were much
more noticeable. A couple of times, the little voice had done
something by itself to get me out of a fight or embarrassment,
but for the most part, the unbidden incidents were just funny
little things. In fact, they were usually harmless pranks, at
the most. They happened without my volition, and I would often
see the humor in them and appreciate the unexpected cleverness
Around age fourteen, though, with hormones rising, I began
competing for the attention of young girls. One day I was
showing off, trying to impress the cute redheaded girl who
attracted me so. I succeeded by showing her one of the tricks I
had learned to do with the little voice inside my head. It did
impress her, all right. In fact, she was so impressed that she
went home and told her father -- the Pentecostal minister. The
following day, he and two of his deacons met me after school and
asked for a demonstration. As soon as this demonstration
succeeded, they all slammed their hands onto my head and pushed
me down to the sidewalk, screaming to God to cast the Devil out
I was brought up in "Deep East Texas," otherwise known as the
Bible Belt. There, if the preacher said something, then God must
have said it, too. They had suddenly and forcefully turned my
little trick into a sin against God. They were trying to rid me
of an evil which had not been there before they tried. I was
scared to death and so shaken from the incident that I had
nightmares for a month.
What had been nothing more than an amusing and interesting
plaything now had its roots in ominous evil. It still didn't
feel wrong, but what if the Devil had just been tricking me?
What if he had just been preparing me for doing some great and
sinfully evil deed? What if the Devil had dark and occult plans
for me and I hadn't been Christian enough to know it? What a
stupid and horrible Christian I had become! What a depraved
sinner I had turned into! I decided that I would stop doing my
neat things, and thanked God for warning me of my sins in time.
I now know that the subconscious mind, once given its
freedom, doesn't give up that freedom without a fight. I didn't
know that back then. At the time, to my guilt and horror, it
seemed that the more I stopped doing my purposeful "neat
things," the more the unbidden things increased. Of course, to
my mind at the time, it was simply Satan fighting back. It had
nothing to do with conscious and subconscious talents. To my
fourteen-year-old mind, it meant only that God and Satan both
were testing me. I was in a huge tug-of-war between them, and it
required even more diligence of me, or my soul would burn
forever in Hell.
I quickly learned that getting angry was almost certain to
bring on an unbidden incident. These incidents were usually bad
things, in hindsight, and I was always sorry for them later.
Yet, at the time they happened, they seemed to save me from some
bully or help someone else who was in need. The things that
happened always gave me some instant satisfaction because I was
suddenly able to take control of bad situations and turn them to
good. But later I would see how the Devil had tricked me again
and then the guilt would set in.
About two months after the incident with the minister and his
deacons, the problem still weighed very heavily on me. Then,
another incident happened, which was to make me spend the next
thirty-one years fully dedicated to blocking these sinful
abilities. I was riding my bicycle home from school one day when
a kid who was always bullying everyone rode up behind me. As he
sped past, he hit my handlebar, and I went spilling forward onto
the ground. My face and arm went straight into some sharp
gravel. The boy had nothing against me, personally. He only
wanted the sport of hurting someone, and I happened to be handy.
My dislike of the boy turned to instant hatred. I was hurt and
my face and arm were bleeding. I looked up at him as he rode off
laughing and heard the little voice in my mind say, "Die!" A
sudden very heavy, tiring calmness spread over me. I watched
spectator-like as he swept sideways off his bicycle, which
continued a short ways down the sidewalk without him. He flew
over the hood of a parked car and landed in the street. An
oncoming car screeched to a stop with the boy's head already
under its bumper and its front tire just inches from his face.
If it had not stopped, he would have been killed. I would have
been responsible. The minister had been right. Not only was my
developing power evil, but now, I was evil, too. I vowed never
to use this ability again.
That plan did not work, of course. Over the years, with some
very notable exceptions, I controlled the uninvited occurrences
by avoiding anger at all costs. Several spontaneous things did
happen both with and without the anger, and of course, no one
can go forever without getting upset over something. But I never
again heard the voice say, "Die!"
Not for thirty-one years, anyway, until that day in Augsburg.
Doug had ruined my program and made me look like an idiot before
my commanders, their commanders, foreign commanders, everyone. I
was instantly and uncontrollably furious. I heard the voice and
quickly turned my attention back to the computer, but could not
control the rage. For the second time in my life, it had said,
"Die!" And for the first time since I was fourteen, I felt the
very heavy, tiring calmness spread over me. Computers throughout
the entire field station went dead.
During the days that followed (a length of time still
classified for obvious reasons), the United States and the other
NATO countries that had facilities at the field station had no
electronic intelligence effort along the East German border.
Field station personnel went to work on regular schedules and
kept up the appearance that all was business as usual. We had to
fool the Soviets' spy-in-the-sky satellites, which kept constant
watch on us.
I knew inwardly that I had caused the problem, but I wasn't
about to tell anyone. For one thing, everyone would have thought
I was crazy and laughed at me. I quickly reasoned it all away
and convinced myself that I had been wrong. After all, this kind
of thing can't happen. I had believed things like that when I
was a kid, but I was now an adult. Such thinking was spooky kid
stuff. This was just coincidence. So I went to work like
everyone else, played cards and worked crossword puzzles, caught
up on my reading, and waited for the field station to get up and
The software analysts checked to see whether my program had
caused the computers to crash, but quickly determined that it
had not. Except for the "bomb" which Doug had planted in my
program, my code was squeaky clean. In fact, the final report of
that investigation said that it was the computers crashing that
had caused my program to fail. Further analysis showed that
unattached and unassociated computer systems had been affected
as well. Those systems were totally unconnected to my program.
It seems that even stand-alone intelligence computers around
Europe and all along the East German border had crashed at the
same time. The cause had been something much bigger. The
question of an act of terrorism using an electromotive pulse (EMP)
arose. The analysts decided that no such EMP had been used,
since nonintelligence computer systems sitting right beside the
affected ones had remained intact. An EMP would have taken
everything out. They checked for viruses and found none. To this
day, the whole incident remains an awful one-time event without
I was later to learn that major portions of the entire NATO
intelligence network had gone silent at the same time our
station had. Even parts of the intelligence network that were in
no way connected to us electronically had blown out. Many years
later I learned that the affected area had been from the North
Sea down to Italy, though intelligence computers in Australia
had been affected as well.
However, our lack of electronic eavesdropping capability had
not really put the Free World in danger. It seems that the
Communist Bloc countries, the East Germans, Bulgarians, Czechs,
and Soviets had also lost their electronic eavesdropping
equipment at the same moment. Just as we had been keeping up
appearances to fool their spy-in-the-sky satellites, they had
been doing the same in order to fool our spy-in-the-sky
satellites as they scrambled to get their intelligence networks
back on line again.
I kept quiet about my suspicions that I might have, in some
way, caused some part of all this. But there was one aspect of
the incident that I hadn't known about. The commanding general
of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (USAINSCOM)
was a man named Maj. Gen. Albert N. Stubblebine. Because of the
general's personal interest in mental phenomena, several of the
officers in his command had been trained to spot such "human
potentials." One of those officers had attended the ill-fated
demonstration. He had only a passing interest in computers, but
had attended mainly to see all that brass in one place at one
time. He had seen the incident take place and recognized it for
what it was.
About an hour after the incident occurred, General
Stubblebine was called on the carpet by the commander of the
U.S. Department of Defense, demanding an explanation. General
Stubblebine had none to give. He vowed to get to the bottom of
it. By the end of the business day, the officer who recognized
the event had turned in a full report of what he had seen and
About two months after the event took place, General
Stubblebine came to the field station to install a new field
station commander. The necessary "GI parties" and white-glove
inspections had taken place and the field station sparkled from
stem to stern for the commanding general's visit and ceremony. I
had no direct part in the ceremonies, so I arrived at work at my
normal time. My department director met me at the door and told
me to go back home, put on my class-A (dress) uniform, and
report to the field station commander's office.
"Uh, sir," I said, "I'm a sergeant, now. Can't you get some
private to serve doughnuts?"
"You're not serving doughnuts," he answered. "The commanding
general wants to see you personally right after the installation
ceremony." He added, "You must have really screwed up big
About one o'clock in the afternoon, I was still sitting in
the field station commander's outer office when the general and
the new commander walked in. We all snapped to attention, and
the general, with the new commander following the proper number
of steps behind him, proceeded past everyone. The general
stopped directly in front of me, looked at my name tag, and
said, "You're Sergeant Buchanan?"
"Yes, sir!" I responded automatically.
"Follow me!" he growled as he grabbed me by the arm and
shoved me in front of him. I walked into the office in front of
the general, aware of the breach in protocol, but helpless to do
anything about it. As the new field station commander entered
behind us, the general turned to him and said in a very
officious tone, "I need to talk to Sergeant Buchanan. Wait
outside." The new commander, forced now to end his grand
entrance by standing idle in the hallway, gave me a look that
very clearly said, "Whatever happens, soldier, your name is on
my shit list in black, permanent ink!"
I stood at attention as the general closed the door, turned
to me, got right up in my face like a drill sergeant, and with a
deadly monotone voice asked, "Did you kill my field station
with your mind?"
I knew I could lie my way out of this situation, but
something within told me that he would not be asking the
question if he didn't already know the answer. I knew I had
better tell the truth. I was envisioning how long it would take
to pay for a field station on a sergeant's salary when I heard
myself answer very meekly, "Yes, sir. I did."
The general stood for what seemed like hours, staring me
straight in the eyes. I tried to remain stone-faced and not to
flinch in light of what I had just said. I had given them the
scapegoat they needed. I was facing impending financial
destruction for the rest of my life, and probably some serious
Finally, a broad grin spread across the general's face and he
said, "Far fucking out!"
We talked for a few minutes about what I had felt and sensed
during the incident. I have met and talked to many generals in
my career, but this one was so open and friendly that I very
quickly felt completely comfortable opening up to him. He asked
what people called me, and I told him, "Lyn." From that point
on, even through the following years, that is what he called me,
and has never once called me by my rank or last name since. At
the end of our conversation, he finally said, "Man, have I ever
got a job for you!"
I had no idea what the job could be, and he did not tell me.
I stood in silence, knowing that, having admitted such a thing,
my future could never again be the same. He told me that someone
would contact me soon. He then reopened the door, ushered me
out, and allowed the field station's new commander to have his
For the month that followed, I found myself on every "shit
list" imaginable. The new commanding officer remembered my name
and my face quite vividly. Everyone in my office wanted to know
what had happened with the general, but I would not tell. Some
accepted my silence, but my section's director was offended by
it, and let me know in no uncertain terms that keeping him out
of the loop was not an option. My name became indelibly printed
at the top of his list, too. In time, he learned what the
meeting with the general had been about, made it public within
the office, and I quickly became the butt of every pointed joke
and jab you can imagine.
But the whole thing seemed to just quietly blow over. I did
not hear from the general again, so I figured that I was not to
be selected for anything special. We all got back to work, and
life returned to normal.
A month or so later, I received a call at home from a man who
identified himself as "Joe." He said that he and another man,
"Brian," would be coming through Augsburg and would like to meet
with me. They had instructions from the general to talk to me
about "something." They wanted to meet with Linda and me at a
local restaurant where we could talk in a noisy, public place,
away from any other military people. I gave them directions to a
favorite restaurant of ours, a Czech restaurant located fairly
distant from the American sectors, and not often frequented by
During the meal, Brian revealed, right in front of Linda,
that he was the director of a special, highly classified project
that "collected intelligence by mental means." He and Joe
explained the concept of "remote viewing" to us. Seeing my
consternation that Linda was being exposed to secrets, Brian
explained that the process of remote viewing changes people. If
I became involved, I would change. The wives of his soldiers
could not understand the reasons for those changes because of
the security, and therefore his unit had been plagued by
constant marital problems.
"I don't want another divorce in my unit," he said, "so this
time, your wife gets to know what is going on. If she doesn't
approve, you won't be involved." He asked Linda whether she had
any problems with my doing that kind of work. To my surprise,
she said that she had always known I had talents in that area
and thought I would be good at it. In fact, she seemed eager for
Joe wrote a phone number on a napkin and handed it to me. "If
you ever absolutely have to get in touch with us, call this
number." I tore off the number and put it into my wallet for
Brian and Joe said that General Stubblebine wanted me to go
to a special course. He would get in touch with me when things
were set up. The general's words had been, "Let's send him to
that course, and then we can talk further about any possible
assignment." I realized that I would have to somehow prove
myself before the assignment would be granted. I had no idea how
to do that.
Then, more weeks went by and I did not hear a thing. I wasn't
about to fire off mail, nagging the general for information. So,
About a month after meeting with Brian and Joe, a message
came into the station saying that I would be attending a special
training course. The message did not say what kind of course it
was, nor did it ask permission for my release from the unit or
from duty to attend. It was signed by the commanding general of
INSCOM, and the only questions asked by my immediate command
were asked to me. I did not know what the course was about, and
if I had known, I probably could not have told them. They
thought I was keeping secrets from them, and there I was, back
on the shit lists again.
On the appointed date, I drove to the Munich airport and
waited for the plane. As I was going through the boarding gate,
I heard my name being paged over the intercom. I started to go
back for it, but an overpowering feeling kept me from doing so.
I was afraid that I would miss the plane and wind up being AWOL
at the course. I boarded, and imagined and worried all the way
to the States, ran over every possible scenario in my mind. What
could the call have been about? Had Linda or one of the kids
been in an accident? What could have gone wrong? When I got to
the States, I called home and learned that Linda knew nothing of
the call. It was only after returning to Germany that I learned
the answer. The field station commander had learned what the
school was all about and decided not to grant me permission to
go. He had tried to track me down and even had me paged at the
Munich airport, to stop me from leaving.
I arrived in Washington and met one of the other people who
was coming from overseas to attend the course. His name was Bob
(not his real name, but close enough). He was an intelligence
field office interrogator, working in one of the field offices
in Europe. He would not tell me his rank, but I would later find
out he was a warrant officer. He knew the D.C. area, so we
rented a car and drove to Arlington Hall Station, where the
INSCOM commander's office was located. We found about twenty
people preparing to board a bus. We reported to the office and
the general's secretary was surprised to see us.
"You're here! I thought you weren't going to make it."
We followed instructions and loaded our overnight bags onto
the bus for a trip to the Monroe Institute, about a half-hour
ride south of Charlottesville, Virginia. Other than Bob, myself,
and one other sergeant, everyone to whom we were introduced was
a major, lieutenant colonel, colonel, or of such high rank. The
other nonbrass person was a female sergeant named Dawn, who was
stationed in Greece, and who had also been "gleaned from the
ranks" by General Stubblebine.
The general's secretary had handed me a copy of a magazine
article about the Monroe Institute. This was to be an
out-of-body training course. My reaction to that was one of
virtual disbelief. I had read of such things years before, but
to think that there was a school that taught it? No way! What
would we do? Chant? Call to the spirits? Use tarot cards? Sit in
a circle and cast bones?
The first day of the course, we received the orientation
lecture. We would be using a sound system called "hemisync,"
which had been developed by Bob Monroe, the founder of the
institute. The sounds played into each ear were of a slightly
different frequency. As your mind tried to make sense of the
two, it would have to create a "beat frequency" within itself.
The main frequencies were computed in such a way that the beat
frequency thus set up in the brain was the brain's normal
frequency for the out-of-body experience.
They had tapes causing other beat frequencies, such things as
those for concentrating very deeply, playing better golf,
staying more energetic, not being hungry (so you can lose
weight), and a myriad of other very practical uses. But we were
to use it to go out of body? "You've got to be kidding me," I
Then there was the follow-on thought: "Uh, oh! My success in
this course determines whether or not I get the assignment." I
had to pass a test. I was not prepared for this kind of stuff.
The first afternoon, we all went into the "chec units," which
are simple enclosed cubicles the size of a bed. There were
speakers on the walls and earphone jacks, so you could listen to
special sounds being played as you lay there. Four or five times
a day, we would lie down in darkness in the chec unit and listen
to tapes of these special sounds for an hour or so. Afterwards,
we met in the big room downstairs and sat in a circle, so we
could discuss with the group what had transpired within our
minds as we listened. Since I could not think of anything earth
shattering that had transpired in my mind, I kept quiet. Keeping
quiet was no way to pass a test in the military, but to open my
mouth would have proven that I had failed.
That night, more tones were played to us as we slept. The
following morning, we had breakfast, went to our chec units, and
listened to more tones. Nothing happened again. Later, in the
group, the others were making quite a fuss about their
experiences. Again, I kept quiet.
That afternoon, after lunch, we returned to our chec units
for more tones. I was restless and bothered and, frankly,
worried that I had already failed whatever test there was. I lay
in the bed, lights off, listening to the tones, and told myself
to relax. I didn't relax. Nothing worked. Finally, I decided
that no matter how uncomfortable I got, and no matter how
nervous, I was going to just be still and listen to the sounds.
Then my chin began to itch.
"I will not scratch," I thought, knowing that if I did, I
would be in motion all over again.
It itched again.
"No!" I thought.
Finally, in desperation, I allowed myself one single scratch.
I raised my hand to scratch my chin and felt the oddest
sensation: it felt as if my hand had a glove on it. The feeling
was so odd that I opened my eyes and looked at my hand. My hand,
right near my face, had a slight glow to it. I then looked
farther down and saw in the semidarkness the same arm, still
lying at my side.
"This is an out-of-body experience!" I thought. A flood of
relief swept over me. Such a thing was possible, after all...and
it was possible for me! I would have something to talk about
later in the group. I might pass the general's test. I might
even get the assignment.
I had heard that in the out-of-body state, you can put your
hands through walls and things like that. I decided to put my
hand through the bed. To my total surprise, it worked. I could
even feel my hand going into the bed as it passed through. I
tried putting it through the wall. It worked. I tried passing it
through the earphone cord and through the volume control panel
on the wall. I could actually feel the back of the volume knob
"I've got to learn how to do this at will," I thought. "I'll
put my hand back into my hand and then take it out again over
and over. That'll teach me how to get out of body any time I
want." I put my glowing, ethereal hand back into my real, dull,
boring, lying-there-in-the-darkness hand. The tape ended at that
moment, and I have not been able to get out of body again since
that day. I have tried and tried, but can't seem to make it
In the discussion group that followed, I related the
incident. At one point, I said something about my physical hand,
which had been lying at my side, and "my real hand," which was
passing through walls and the bed. As I related the experience,
a startling realization welled up within me. All the stuff I had
learned in Sunday school about having a spirit within me
suddenly became real. For the first time ever, I honestly
realized that the "body me" was not the "real me."
I returned to Augsburg and waited for news of a new assignment
to arrive. The wait was long. My direct command wanted to know
what was going on. I didn't know, but they did not believe that.
Two months went by. Finally, I got a call from the Military
Personnel Center (MILPERCEN). A colonel told me he had orders
from somewhere that he was not able to determine, assigning me
to a clandestine organization. He strongly advised against it.
It would be bad for my career progression.
"So, I'm going to transcend these orders," he said. " We're
assigning you to Fort Riley, Kansas, to a tactical battalion. I
see you haven't had any tactical time so far. That's what you
I protested, but the colonel very forcibly told me that he
knew what was best for me, and that I would be assigned to Fort
I realized that if I did nothing, the whole assignment would
fall apart. I phoned the number on the napkin and told the
unidentified man on the other end what had transpired. He said
he would take care of it.
The next evening, the colonel from MILPERCEN called again. He
told me that he had had a personal visit from the commanding
general of INSCOM, who had come into his office and "chewed him
out." He told me that I would be assigned to the clandestine
unit. "And from now on, Sergeant, don't you ever send another
general to our office. Please."
The orders came through about three weeks later. They gave me
two months to transfer out of the old unit, set up
transportation of household goods, and get all the other
logistics taken care of for a permanent change of station.
Just as a way of saying, "You don't do that to me," two days
before my final workday at Augsburg, I arrived about six A.M.,
and was greeted at my desk by a military policeman.
"Are you Sergeant Buchanan? Leonard Buchanan?" he asked.
"Well, I have a warrant for your arrest. It says here that
I was caught off guard by that one. "Uh, Sergeant," I
replied, "I don't know how to explain this, but people don't go
AWOL by getting into uniform and reporting for military duty at
"No," he answered, looking at his instructions. "It says here
that you didn't show up for your duty assignment at Fort Riley.
The commander there put out the order to have you arrested."
The Augsburg Field Station commander delighted in toying with
me before finally sending a message that those orders had been
rescinded and that I was not AWOL. He gave me a stern scowl and
said, "I could have let you go to jail, you know."
So Linda and I stood in the guest house parking lot, watching
the fog and mist swirl around the neon sign, waiting for a
mysterious someone to appear. A large car drove in, drove past
us, and pulled into a parking slot. Since it had passed us by,
we ignored it, and were somewhat surprised when a very tall,
slender man walked up from behind us and stuck out his hand in
"Hi," he said, and grinned. "My name's Bill."
Bill had planned to take us to dinner, but since it was very
late and we were tired from the trip, he postponed it for
another evening. He took a copy of my printed orders and said
that they would be taken care of. He checked again to be certain
that I hadn't notified the 902nd of my arrival and cautioned me
not to do so. "As of tomorrow," he said, "you will completely
disappear from the U.S. military system. Pack your uniforms away
and don't go anywhere near your assigned unit."
I asked what I should do next. "Well, you've met Joe. He's
probably our best remote viewer, and runs the computers, too.
He's retiring from service, and it's going to leave a big hole
in the unit. You're going to be filling it. You've got a real
job cut out for you. But we'll worry about that tomorrow." He
pointed in a direction away from the guest house. "If you walk
across that field, the first pair of buildings you come to is
where we work. They look like they're abandoned, but knock on
the door, anyway, and we'll let you in. Come there in the
morning and we'll talk about what you do next."
As Bill drove off into the fog, Linda and I looked at each
other. We then quietly turned and went into the guest house for
a night of uneasy sleep.
Copyright © 2003 by Lyn Buchanan