This is based solely on the miniseries and what little research I have been able to do outside of it. I don't own Band of Brothers or any of the amazing men who served in the military. The only things I own are Megan, Brian, and Jack.
The summer passes far too quickly, and before I know it, it is September. We spent the days training the new men that had arrived, and the men spent the nights in the local pub. The new men were unkindly termed 'replacements' by the men who had been with the unit since before Normandy. Honestly, I can understand some of the standoffishness, since so many good friends were lost, but they need to accept these men. If they don't, I don't know if we'll ever be able to work together.
Bill Guarnere has made good strides there, accepting Babe Heffron into his group. I think that had more to do with them being from the same part of Philadelphia than from getting to know him. But hey, as long as they're getting along, I don't care which comes first.
Tonight, what seems like the entire company is crowded into a tiny pub. Bull, Buck, Luz, and Toye are playing darts, while everyone else is chatting around tables and the bar. I'm sitting at the corner of the bar, still reading Gone with the Wind that I started back in July. It's taking me forever to finish. Mostly though, I'm just people watching, especially my boys playing darts. There's something going on and I want to figure it out.
Buck and Luz are playing against Babe and Toye, with Bull and Guarnere looking on. Buck is losing badly, never hitting what he is aiming for. After a particularly lousy shot, Buck laughs, saying, "you know, it's lucky we weren't gambling."
Luz laughs along. "Yeah, we would have gotten killed!"
"Wanna bet?" asks Babe?
"Pack of smokes," adds Toye.
Buck protests half-heartedly, but eventually gives in. "Make it two." Babe and Toye shrug in agreement. "First one to hit the bull's-eye. One shot."
"Here we go, George." Buck prepares to set up his shot, and I sit up straight, looking closer. Something really feels off here.
As Buck starts to aim, Luz asks a question. "Hey Lieutenant, are you gonna shoot lefty all night?"
Toye catches on quickly. "Hey, come on."
"I'm just curious, cos he's right handed."
Buck switches hands, saying, "what would I do without George Luz?" He immediately throws the dart, hitting dead center of the bulls eye. Cheers go up from the men who were watching, and Babe and Toye hand over the cigarettes.
I shake my head at the antics of the guys before going back to my book. Of course that doesn't last long, as Smokey comes in with Lip hollering about having to make an announcement.
"Listen up! I got us an announcement to make!" Smokey motions to Lip. "This here is Carwood Lipton."
Don jeers at Smokey, hollering, "He's already married, Smokey!" Everyone laughs. It's nice to see some humor in this group that isn't just a little morbid.
"Shut up! This here is Carwood Lipton, the new Easy company first sergeant! As befitting his position, he says he has to make an announcement."
Aw crap. I've got a horrible feeling about this. Turns out, I'm right. As Lip steps up to the impromptu stage, he says, "I hate to break the mood here, but we're moving out again."
As Lipton leaves the bar, he stops by my barstool. "Megan, stop staring into that glass like it just killed your best friend. Winters said the briefing will be tomorrow morning, 0700."
"Thanks Lip. I guess that's my cue to start getting ready. See you in the morning." I put the bookmark back; I've only read 4 pages in the last 2 hours.
Back at the Coopers, I find Lily and Paul in the kitchen. "I know it's late, but I just want to warn y'all that we're probably leaving again soon. There's a briefing in the morning, and I'll be able to let you know more then."
"Thanks Megan," says Paul, as Lily wipes a quick mist from her eye. "Good night."
I get to the hanger early to try and get an idea of what's going on. Dick, Lew, Harry, and Sink are all already there as well. "Morning folks."
"Morning. Hi Megan." "Ugh"
"Gee Lew, wake up on the wrong side of bed?"
"Shut up Megan, it's too early to be up."
"Lew, you joined the paratroops, you knew you were signing up for insanity."
"Yeah, yeah." Lew sits down, sulking a little at the sun that actually has the audacity to shine today.
Sink finishes chatting with Dick and moves to head back to his office. On his way out, he says, "Megan, bring everything you can on this mission. There will be supply depots in Europe, but I don't think they'll being the unit back to England again."
"Ok, I will. Thanks for the heads up." The men are now filing in, joking about what might be coming next.
Dick steps up onto a platform that has a covered map. "Listen up! Here's the next mission for us." Lew takes the cover off the map as Dick speaks. "As you can see, this operation is called Operation Market Garden. In terms of airborne divisions, this one's even bigger than Normandy. We're dropping deep into occupied Holland." Motioning to a spot on the map, Dick continues. "The objective is to take this road here, between Eindhoven and Arnhem, so that two British divisions can move up it towards Arnhem. Our job is going to be to liberate Eindhoven, stay there, and wait for the tanks."
Nixon steps up to take a turn. "The entire European advance has been put on hold to allocate resources for this operation. It's Montgomery's personal plan; we'll be under British command." The good news is: if this works, these tanks will be over the Rhine and into Germany. That could end the war and get us home by Christmas. It'll be a daytime job, intelligence doesn't expect much opposition. They think the Krauts are mostly old men and kids, and we should take them by surprise. In any case, say goodbye to England. I don't think they're going to call this one off."
As one, the company starts talking after the officers clear the stage. Most of the chatter is from the replacements, who haven't seen any combat. They are excited about getting to fight Germans. The veterans of Normandy are excited to have something to do again, but also realize the stresses and dangers that will come. They will be better prepared this time around, and they will have to guide the newbies.
I suddenly realize that there are some things I need to remind them of, so I jump up on a chair. "Hey! Listen up for a minute!" Everyone stops, turning back around. "Make sure that everyone has full kits before you go. Do not slack on anything. If you want something from medical, like an extra bandage, come see me. Medics, we're going to take as much as we can. See me this afternoon to get your supplies." I hop down from the chair, doing a small pirouette as I do.
"Miss Megan, you take such good care of us." Bull, Bill, and Don have all snuck up behind me.
"Well someone has to. Just be careful. No death defying stunts on motorcycles, no acting like crazy men, no scaring the newbies."
Bill looks crushed. "Gee Miss Megan, you take all the fun out of life." Bull and Don laugh at the look on his face.
"Aw, poor baby. You'll live, especially once you get to start playing with your toys that explode again."
"Clear out! Dog Company briefing in 10 minutes!"
"I've got to go. I'll see y'all later at dinner." I practically run out of the hanger to avoid running into Ron, not noticing the concerned looks following me out of the hanger.
I head to the hospital, and spend the next several hours passing out first aid kits and stocking the medics from second battalion. Once I'm finished, I pack up my gear and head home to the Coopers to pack for the move back to Upottery.
I get back just in time for dinner, which is great because now I can say goodbye to Livy just like I promised.
"Miss Megan!" I pick Livy up and give her a big hug. "You're squishing me!"
"I'm sorry Livy. Remember how I promised to say goodbye?" Livy nods, starting to tear up. "I have to leave in the morning, and I probably won't be back for a while."
"No!" Livy holds on tight. "I don't want you to go!"
Lily and Paul try to pull her off me, but I wave them off. "I know Livy, and I'm going to miss you a lot. But this is my job. Your mom has my address, and you can write as much as you want."
Dinner is simple, just a basic soup and salad, but conversation flows freely, making the time pass quickly. All too soon, dishes are being washed, and it's time for me to pack.
"Megan, what time are you leaving?" Paul asks?
"Very early, I need to make sure all the supplies are loaded and ready to go."
"Here then, take some of these old biscuits so that you have something to eat on the road."
I tuck them into my bag. "Thanks Lily." I give both her and Paul a hug. "Thank you so much for having me. I'll write when I can, and Livy is welcome to send anything she wants."
Upstairs, I throw my uniforms and gear into my pack, before getting ready for bed. Thoughts of Normandy and London come rushing back, threatening to push me into tears. Gulping, I speak the words in my heart. "I don't know what's going to come next Lord, but I do know that this will not be an easy task. Help keep us safe, protect everyone else fighting with us. Take away the paralyzing aspect of fear so that we can do our jobs and go home to our families."
Oh my gosh! I got back to this recently, and I didn't realize I'd been gone so long. Sorry this took forever. I am working on my Masters in Teaching, so between that and working, I have had zero free time lately. Thank so much to all of you who have been reading. Special thanks to those who have taken the time to leave a review. I really appreciate all your support. Thanks also to those who have added this to your favorites or story alerts. Y'all are the best and you keep me writing. Thanks for the support! Please keep letting me know what you think!