I ended up lending Biden my satellite tv for pc cellphone to name Secretary of State Colin Powell, by way of the State Division operations middle, to see if he might assist.
“‘That is Joe Biden, might you join me with Colin Powell?’ Biden requested the State Division operator. A couple of minutes handed. ‘Colin? Hey, it’s Joe Biden. … Yeah, I’m standing right here on the runway at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, attempting to get out on a army transport, they usually’re telling me that the Pentagon has ordered that no civilians be let on the airplane. I’m sorry to bother you, Colin, however might you give us a hand right here?’
“Powell informed Biden to carry on for a minute whereas he tried to get Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld was in church, so Powell tracked down his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz. There have been a couple of extra minutes of cellphone calls to Centcom headquarters in Florida earlier than Powell got here again on the cellphone with Biden.
“‘Joe,’ stated the Secretary of State, ‘let me discuss to the air visitors controller there.’
“Biden then handed the satellite tv for pc cellphone to the air visitors controller with the next phrases: ‘Captain, the Secretary of State wish to discuss to you.’
“It was pitch-dark, however I used to be positive I noticed that captain’s face flip fully white with shock that he was speaking to the Secretary of State, a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, no much less. All I heard him saying to Powell was, ‘Yessir, yessir, yessir.’ When he was performed, he handed again the cellphone and informed Biden, ‘You’re welcome to board, sir.’
“As we strapped into the again of the C-130, the crew shouted that somebody was firing tracer bullets on the different finish of the runway. … With this huge cargo airplane empty aside from us, it felt like we took off straight up, like a rocket, which was superb with me, since Bagram is sort of surrounded by tall mountains that had already claimed two U.S. transports. Three hours later, we landed in Jacobabad, Pakistan, someplace in the course of the nation, at a Pakistani base being utilized by the U.S. Air Power. We had a couple of hours to kill earlier than we hopped a C-17 to Bahrain.
“Speaking to the U.S. airmen at Jacobabad was an eye-opener. Certainly one of them informed us, ‘We don’t have a flight to Afghanistan that doesn’t get shot at by small-arms hearth from inside Pakistan someplace close to the border.’