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Calendar >  Emphatically Clear -Thomas Calabrese

Emphatically Clear -Thomas Calabrese

By   /  August 14, 2022  /  11 Comments


Swamp Fighter

Thomas Calabrese –Ray Trent was a seasoned combat veteran and a dangerous weapon. He had been in the Navy Seals for nine years and fought in some of the most dangerous places in the world. He loved his country and knew what threats existed in the United States and throughout the world was prepared to go into harm’s way to confront them. A vicious merciless enemy would torture and mutilate him if he was caught, but that didn’t scare this valiant warrior as much as his own out of control government where the arrogance of some leaders was only exceeded by their greed, addiction to power and maintaining the status quo.

It was 2010 and Ray was on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan. During his previous assignments he had lost close friends and comrades on missions because there was no clear definition of the mission. The United States had hitched its wagon to the principle of nation building. Instead of fighting terrorists, contractors were building structures that would be destroyed or looted as soon as they were built. The process would repeat itself over and over and little was ever accomplished. Ray wasn’t against helping the Afghan people, but many didn’t want progress. They had lived this way for thousands of years and the United States wasn’t going to change their mindset. The English and the Russians both had failed previously in this endeavor. Ray liked to keep things simple, defeat the enemy and let the Afghans decide for themselves on how they wanted to live.

His hatred of the establishment grew to a level where his rage was always simmering beneath the surface. The fact that every man he served with loved their country more than they hated the government was the only thing that kept him going. His loyalty to his brothers-in-arms was too important so Ray put his feelings aside and did the best he could under difficult circumstances.  He was a professional warrior and swore to do his job even when others didn’t.

There was a time when his team was assigned to provide security at an isolated airstrip in the country. A transport plane landed and several pallets of cash were unloaded. State Department officials met with a powerful warlord and the cash was placed on several trucks. The warlord and his men drove off.

Ray questioned one of the officials, “What’s going on?”

The bureaucrat snapped back, “None of your business, just provide security and keep your mouth shut.”

            “How much of this money is ending up in your pockets,” Ray said as he looked into the back of the plane and saw several more pallets of cash. “Where’s the next stop…Switzerland?”

The bureaucrat got in Ray’s face and warned him, “You’re in over your head, doorkicker. You’re expendable and so are your men.”

The plane took off and Marty Garrison walked over, “What was that all about?”

            “He was just reminding me to watch our backs,” Ray quipped, “Let’s move out.”

It didn’t take long for the threat to materialize. In collaboration with the Department of Defense, the State Department decided that Ray Trent and his men needed to be eliminated. Information was relayed to Taliban leadership about Seal Team Five’s travel route. The intention of the bureaucrats in Washington was to have the American warriors killed in an ambush because they couldn’t take the chance of the Seals speaking about the money exchange. The 15 man team were airlifted by helicopter to an isolated area of the Helmand Province, Ray sensed that something was wrong from the very beginning. The mission was vague and rushed, something that Navy Seals never do, but they were informed they would be told what was going on after they touched down.  Ray warned his men, “Be especially alert on this one.”

While moving down a narrow trail southwest of Lashkargah, Ray turned to Rob Martinez when they came to a steep walled canyon. “Great place for an ambush, wouldn’t you say? Launch the drone.”

The drone flew high over the canyon and transmitted images back to the Navy Seals. The entire area was filled with enemy combatants. Once the Seals entered, they would have no chance of survival. Ray radioed back to the command center and used his team’s call sign, “Thunderbolt this is Lightfoot, over.”

Command Center responded, “This is Thunderbolt.”

            “Need surveillance intel on grid coordinates, 2430 0236, 0237, 0238, over.”

There was a 10 second delay before the response, “All grid coordinates are clear.”

Ray knew they were lying, but wanted to give them one chance, “Repeat last transmission.”

            “Area is clear, proceed as ordered.”

            “Roger that,” Ray said and shut down the radio communication,

Gary Pickett inquired, “What’s going on?”

Ray responded, “They want us dead, but that’s not going to happen today.”

A group of State Department officials were celebrating at the base cafeteria, believing that had accomplished their task and would be properly rewarded for their dastardly deed.  The heavily armed Navy Seals walked into the room and surrounded the bureaucrats. They didn’t say a word as the cowardly bureaucrats cowered in fear, knowing the Seals were aware of the betrayal. One man pleaded for mercy, “We were just following orders.”

Ray put his pistol to the man’s head and pulled the trigger. It clicked on an empty chamber and the man fell to the floor sobbing.

Charges were filed against Ray Trent for disobedience of an order and threatening a government official. Naval Judge Advocate lawyer Commander Don Del Santos was assigned to prosecute the Navy Seal.

He pretended to be on board with the State Department and came at Ray with everything he had until the final day of the court martial when he deliberately released evidence that supported Ray’s contention that his team had been targeted for assassination. The court martial board had no other choice, but to dismiss all charges.  This enraged the deep state bureaucrats and Commander Del Santos warned Ray, “You’ve been acquitted, but that doesn’t mean this is over. They’ll plant drugs in your locker or pornography on your computer. These are very bad people and you need to get out of your military. They tried to kill you once, they’ll try again.”

Ray knew the reality of the situation, but right now he was more concerned about Commander Del Santos right now, “They can’t be too happy with you.”

            “My JAG career is over, but I have no regrets. I was honored to be of assistance. Maybe someday our paths will cross again.” Commander Del Santos extended his hand and recited the Seal motto, “The only easy day was yesterday and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

Ray shook the Navy lawyer’s hand, “I won’t forget what you did for me. I owe you and I always repay my debts.”

The two men left the military and went their separate ways. Ray got a job working for Bluewater Security, an international company that provided well trained professionals for a variety of high risk endeavors and moved to Puntarenas, a port town on Costa Rica’s Gulf of Nicoya. Don Del Santos went to Florida and entered politics. After a few years serving in Tampa city government Don decided to run for governor of the Sunshine State and won in a landslide. His platform was simple. God, family and country. Most Americans don’t want the government to be their idol or savior, they want minimum intrusion into their lives and that is what Del Santos pledged and delivered.

The federal government was out of control, bloated, incompetent and partisan. Its policies had weakened the military, police and the border patrol. Crime was rampant, the debt was skyrocketing and the list of problems seemed endless and unsolvable. When Del Santos was asked to run for President, he could smell the stench of Washington all the way down in Florida. He loved his country too much to say no. The campaign was dirty and rough and his opponent incumbent James Earl Sanders was a puppet of the deep state. He was an entrenched bureaucrat with no morality and would say or do anything that his handlers told him to. Sanders had to be tightly controlled because he was also a gaffe machine. A reporter caught him off guard when he asked. “Some people say that you are bought and paid for by people who want to destroy America…what do you say to that?”

Sanders tried to be funny, but there was more truth than humor in his statement, “I don’t even like America, but until I find a job that pays more for doing less than I’m already doing then I’ll stay in politics,”  and burst into laughter.

 The crowd was dumfounded and Sanders’s press secretary jumped to the podium for damage control, “What the President means is he doesn’t like the bad things in America, that’s why he wants to change those things for the better.”

President Sanders yelled out, “C’mon you ratface donkey soldiers, you know what I meant!”

Sanders was already behind in the polls and this statement was the final nail in his political coffin.

Ron Del Santos won the Presidential election and entered the fray. It was even worse than he had imagined. The corruption seemed to run three or four layers deep in every agency and Ron had to be extremely careful what he said and who he said it to because there were a lot a people who wanted to discredit him and weaken his Presidency at every opportunity

President Del Santos instructed his Chief to Staff, Frank Termini, “I need you to find someone for me.”

            “Yes sir, who might that be?” Frank asked.

President Del Santos said, “Ray Trent, he’s a former Navy Seal. We served together in Afghanistan.”

            “Yes sir.”

            “One more thing…keep this between you and me…understood?” President Del Santos instructed.

When Ray got the word, he booked a flight to Reagan International. Upon his arrival at the White House, he approached the guard at the gate and said, “Ray Trent.”

The guard made a phone call then said, “You’re expected. One of the guards will give you a ride, sir.”

President Del Santos was waiting outside when Ray arrived, “Good to see you.”

            “Good to see you, Mr. President.”

            “Call me Donnie,” President Del Santos smiled, “Let’s take a walk.”

The two men walked through the grounds of the White House, making small talk for the first few minutes before President Del Santos said, “I need your help.”

Ray stopped to smell a rose in the flower garden and answered, “If I can.”

            “Washington is a very bad place and while I have a good staff, I’m not really sure how much I can trust them on sensitive issues. I also don’t want to put them in an awkward position if something goes south.”

Ray inquired, “I thought you had executive privilege?”

            “That works better in theory than in practice.” President Del Santos said, “I need the kind of loyalty that only a warrior who has gone into harm’s way can provide.”

            “I owe you, so what can I do?” Ray said.

President Del Santos reminded the former Navy Seal, “I don’t want you to do it because you feel you owe me. I want you to do it because your country needs you.”

            “I’m here and I’m listening,” Ray said.

The two men walked for another 20 minutes, talking as they went. Ray said, “No offense, but I don’t want to work for the government.”

            “You would be working for me, not the bureaucracy. I need a personal trainer.”

Ray responded, “There’s a lot more qualified people than me. I like exercising, but I’m not inclined to start a new career where I tell you one more rep.”

The mood turned deadly serious as President Del Santos said, “Our country is teetering on the edge. Congress is failing, the FBI and intelligence agencies are severely compromised and I am a threat to their existence. I need a warrior and a patriot.”

            “I still don’t know what you want me to do?” Ray asked.

President Del Santos said, “When I tell you, let me be emphatically clear, that means I don’t want to you do anything. Am I making myself emphatically clear about the term emphatically clear?”

Ray knew exactly what President Del Santos meant, “Emphatically.”

Every morning President Del Santos received a security briefing at the White House called the President’s Daily Brief, a top secret document produced and given each morning to the Commander-in-Chief. President Del Santos knew that they were several people on the White House Staff that were moles and were dedicated to undermining his presidency. Don played them like a fiddle. His signature statement, ‘Let me emphatically clear’ became a symbol of his presidency. President Del Santos asked that the briefings be extremely detailed instead of just a general outline.

During his workouts, President Del Santos would secretly give Ray a flash-drive with all the secret security information. Ray put together a team of former Special Operators to plan and conduct domestic and foreign operations using the Intel that President Del Santos gave him.

While the Commander-in-Chief played politics and claimed plausible deniability Ray and his team had carte blanche to go after the enemies of America. High on their list were the crime families of entrenched politicians and bureaucrats. When a whistleblower at the FBI reported that the Department of Justice was going to conduct a raid on President Del Santos’ sister’s house, Ray and his team and were waiting for the ten vehicle convoy when it came down the streets. Spike strips were set out to blow the tires of the vehicles.

Ray called out from his concealed position, “Exit the vehicles with your hands up.”

An agent in the front vehicle responded. “We’re the FBI!”

            “I know who you are,” Ray fired and a burst of gunfire hit the pavement near the vehicle.

One of the agents tried to use his cellphone and said, “They blocked communications.”

When they hesitated, Ray reminded the agents, “This isn’t a negotiation.”

The agents had no choice but to comply. Ray and his team were masked and could not be identified. They approached with their weapons at the ready as one of the agents started making empty threats, “You’re a dead man, you have no idea what we can do to you!”

Ray punched the loudmouth in the stomach and he fell to his knees gasping for air. The rest of the team searched the others agents and took their badges, weapons, cellphones and put them in a trash bag. A member of the team found the search warrant and handed it to Ray who looked at it with disdain. The team put zip tie handcuffs on the agents’ wrists and ankles. Before leaving, Ray wadded up the search warrant and shoved it in the mouth of the agent that he punched, “You’ve been served.”

The team disappeared into the wooded area and made their way to a clearing where a helicopter was waiting. They boarded and disappeared. The next mission was in Cancun, Mexico. The entitled and drug addicted son of a powerful politician was partying with his friends and a group of under-aged girls. Ray and his team burst through the door. As much as he wanted to kill the predators, Ray controlled his emotions. The team released the girls and sent them on their way. The men begged for mercy and Ray decided to embarrass them. Several members of the team pulled out hair clippers and basically scalped the men. The baldheads were painted red and they were sent scampering down the street in their underwear.

Time passed and President Del Santos continued to antagonize and provoke the global deep state with his policies to hold people accountable for their actions. The more they came after him, the more Ray and his team of patriotic warriors went after them. The Global Economic Foundation was an organization pledged to the destruction of American sovereignty and they became a primary target of Ray and his men.  Several warehouses in Mexico that held thousands of pounds of fentanyl pills were destroyed before they could be shipped to America. Three high ranking members of GEF were kidnapped and held for millions in ransom. A military arms shipment to Ukraine arrived intact because Ray and his men stopped hijackers in Poland from taking it.

Not every mission required Ray and his team to use their combat training, some required different skills. They planted surveillance and listening devices in politicians’ offices and homes to monitor their illegal business dealings. President Del Santos won re-election and in his second term, he pledged to go even further in his plans to reduce taxes for all Americans, strengthen the military and streamline the government.

The Deep State was in a panic so they held congressional hearings about the President. Ray Trent was called to testify before the politicians.  Congresswoman Elizabeth Oman loved being on camera and demanded, “Exactly what do you do at the White House?”

            “I help the President stay healthy.” Ray answered.

Congresswoman Oman continued, “You’re a decorated Navy Seal and you took a job as fitness trainer. Aren’t you over-qualified?”


            “It seems to me that President Del Santos chose you for other purposes. Has he ever discussed politics with you?”

            “Maybe,” Ray said, “I’d rather not say.”

Congresswoman Oman was salivating at the prospect of finding a smoking gun, “You are under oath and unless you want to be held in contempt of Congress you will tell us what the President told you!”

There’s an old saying, Be careful what you wish for because you might get it…Congresswoman Oman should have remembered it.

Ray answered, “President Del Santos told me that the federal government is bloated, incompetent and in some cases corrupt and Congress is the worst of the offenders. He reminded me that someday I might find myself looking at some politician serving on an oversight committee that is as dumb as a bag of rocks who secretly has a brother on the board of directors on a Chinese telecommunications company. This person will lecture you about patriotism while being a traitor to the country.”

Congressman Oman was embarrassed because she knew that Ray was referring to her and her brother. She quickly attempted to end the exchange with a barely audible whimper. “No more questions.”

Ray continued, “The President also said, let me be emphatically clear; just because worthless and evil bureaucrats and political parasites don’t do their sworn duty, it will never prevent me from doing mine.” Ray then asked, “Any more questions, Congresswoman?”

Ray Trent was a former Navy Seal and the President’s fitness instructor, but only a few knew that he was also the legendary Swamp Fighter.

The End


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  1. John michels says:

    Tom you were correct I did love the story

  2. Bill says:

    Thanks Tom, another great story.

  3. Skip says:

    Thanks, Tom … emphatically!

  4. Tom says:

    Well done. If only this were true!

  5. Jeremy says:

    Add this one to the list of my favorites.

  6. Josh says:

    Take ’em down Ray, the government works for us, we don’t work for them. If they abuse their power and there will be accountability.

  7. Tony says:

    This Sunday’s Story in the Vista Press provided by Mr. Thomas Calabrese must have been taken from the files of the FBI? The names have been changed to protect the innocent but the story is true.
    We, the people must pay mote attention to what is occurring in our country. If we are not effected today our children will be.
    I suggest you visit any Presidential Library, we have two here in California and read the personal papers of the presidents.
    Both Democrats and Republicans need to come together in the interest and betterment of America. The hiring of 80,000 additional federal employee’s at this time will only create a bigger deficit in an already bulging debt. The government already know who is wealthy and the information is inputted into the IRS computers. I am sure they have software to read everyone Tax forms and scrutinize the Income Tax Forms.

  8. wolf says:

    good one. I love the fitness routine

  9. Steve says:

    I enjoyed the story…service to our country takes precedence over obedience to our government. Liberty and Freedom doesn’t come free and patriots are willing to pay the price.

  10. Stephanie Boren says:

    One of the tings I love about your stories Tom, is that they are always “current” in some way. You make the reader think. Thank you, I look forward to reading the next one.

  11. Jon Gregory Nielsen says:

    THANKS as always, Tom. Ray Trent was no mere doorkicker, was he? Bravo…

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