Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.



The Chinese Airborne Infantry, having been tasked with seizing Ellsworth Air Force Base for the purpose of landing more troops and supplies in the interior of the USA, were angry and frustrated. The mission had started off well enough, with them flying nape of the earth in Xian Y-20 transports, an amazing feat of flying itself. Even though several dozen of them had puked up their lunches because of the maneuvering made necessary by flying so low, they were eager to carry out the plan. If successful, it would cripple a large segment of the American airpower that had dogged them so severely since they had landed in Mexico.

They had rehearsed and re-rehearsed the plan; move to the objective, set up rocket launchers and machineguns to the west, engage the American defenders with heavy fire, and then have the main body advance from the south, and fight their way into the base and secure or destroy as much as they could. Unfortunately, they had not considered the effectiveness of the American early warning system, or the rapid response of the Air Force.

The drop had gone well enough; eighty percent of the troops had been dropped when the first transport plane was hit by a missile launched from an F-22. From there, once they assembled, they were on the move. That was when the next problem arose; the people of the area were, in large part, of the Lakota people. The Chinese couldn’t know that significant percentage of Lakotas were military veterans, and that the majority were veteran Marine or Army Infantrymen. Moreover, most of them had grown up hunting deer and antelope, so they knew the area as well as any hunting guide. Added to that, the Lakota people, having been pushed on to reservations by the US Government, took a dim view of those that would invade their land. They had an historic distrust of the US Government, and any attempt at exploiting their land for any reason was met with protests and court battles. But, for a foreign enemy to invade their country, and use their land as a launching point for one of their operations? Word spread quickly throughout the reservation and, once again, The Lakota men went to war against an invader.

There was no way the Chinese could know that the Lakota had declared war on them, but it was made obvious when the hindmost unit found itself taking fire from behind. The tactic was one that the Lakota had used since time immemorial; catch up to the enemy, shoot as many as possible from concealment, and run away. These hit and run tactics did little to stop the progress of the Chinese, but it did slow them down, as each casualty required care and transport. The one time they did capture someone, it was an old man of about eighty, who had killed three of them with an old Savage rifle. They returned fire and overwhelmed him. Figuring that they could get information from him, they tried to subdue him. That was when he pulled out a small pistol and wounded two more, resulting in them having to kill him.

And so it went through the night.

Where they made their error was, as they followed their GPS, the rolling hills, combined with having to maneuver through small towns and individual farms and ranches, caused them to veer slightly west. The original plan called for them to bypass the civilian airport as they could deal with that later. However, the unintentional shift west, and the general distrust of the infantry soldier towards ‘gadgets’, their new path took them almost directly towards Rapid City Regional Airport which, under blackout conditions, was nearly invisible in the moonless night. When they got within a Kilometer, and saw the tower and the elaborate defensive positions, they ignored the fact that their GPS indicated that they still had another twelve miles to go and set up to begin the attack.


CPT Tim Dugan, of the South Dakota Provisional Militia, took another drink from his Camelbak. His mouth was dry from fear, and his shirt was soaked with sweat; also from fear. They had all heard the sporadic shots off in the distance, and they heard them as they occurred less often, though they were closer. The company had been on one hundred percent security all night, and everyone was on edge. Dugan walked down the line for what felt like the thousandth time, making sure everyone was awake and ready. He approached the position where Don and Earl were, hoping to find out if they had seen anything. Almost simultaneously, two things happened; Don fired his rifle, and a bunch of rocket and machinegun fire erupted out of the darkness. Dugan ran to Don’s position and looked over the edge. All he could see were what looked like hundreds of muzzle flashes.

A moment later, his men began returning fire. He walked down the line, encouraging, cajoling, and in one case, kicking a man who had sunk below the defenses and was firing his rifle by sticking it up over the edge and emptying it in the general direction of the enemy. He ran to one of the bunkers that had been hit by a rocket to assess the damage; the men inside were dead, their machinegun laying on its side. He righted the gun and, giving it a once over, he set the ammo box up correctly, charged the weapon, and began firing in short bursts. Presently, a couple of men ran up to him, "Sir! Let us take over. You’re needed on the other end!"

Dugan nodded and made room for them. They quickly got behind the gun and began firing it again. He swore that they looked like they were enjoying themselves. He ran towards the end of the line where he found about half of the men dead or wounded, with several more trying to help those in need. This created a dead zone where the enemy could move forward. Dugan looked over the side and, seeing that the enemy was indeed advancing, took aim and fired his entire magazine. What he lacked in numbers, he somewhat made up for with accuracy. Of the twenty-eight rounds he fired, he hit nineteen enemy soldiers. This gave them pause, but only long enough for them to fire another rocket at his position.

When it went off, he was knocked off of his feet and slammed against the opposite wall of the trench. He was vaguely aware of hands pulling at him, and then he blacked out. He came to a few minutes later to find himself being carried along the trench line. He struggled and was set down. He looked up to find several of his men helping him to his feet, "Sorry sir! We thought you were out of it."

"I’m fine! Where’s my weapon?"

"Umm, here sir." The man held up his AR; the barrel was bent about twenty degrees out of line.

"Fuck! Where’s my radio?"

"Here sir. I’ve been on the ‘net."

"What’s the situation?"

"We’re holding sir. The Colonel’s on the far side. He’s sending half of the men there to reinforce this side. No word from Ellsworth. The airport is getting ready to evacuate everyone."

"Evacuate? Evacuate to where? Fuck it; not my problem. Send a runner to link up with the reinforcements and guide them in. Are all of the MG’s up?"

"Bunkers Three and Seven are deadlined. One, Five, Nine, and Eleven are still holding; Fuckers aimed too low when shooting uphill."

The sound of gunfire was getting louder, which meant the enemy was getting closer. Dugan pulled at his radioman and ran towards bunker Five, where his ruck and long rifle were stored. Once inside, he grabbed his rifle and some ammunition and went back to the wall. Loading his rifle, he leveled it and looked though the scope. Even though it was dark, the magnification, combined with the muzzle flashes around and in front of him, gave him enough illumination to see individual enemy soldiers. He centered the reticle on what looked like a man with a radio, and fired. The man toppled over.

"Fuck! I wish we had some illumination rounds!"

"We have a few, sir!"

Dugan looked at his radioman like he had grown another head, "Where?"

"A bunch of the guys picked up some parachute flares the last time we were in town. They figured that they might come in handy."

"Well, for God’s sake tell them to send them up! If we can see them, we can hit them!"

The RTO sent Dugan’s instructions out to all hands. What happened in the following few minutes was what gave the defenders the advantage. The parachute flares were of a type used by boaters in distress. Within a few seconds of each other, over twenty flares were sent skyward. Though they only burned for less than a minute, the combined red and white glow served to reveal the enemy less than one hundred meters away. The militiamen who, until this time, had been firing at shadows and muzzle flashes, now had discernible targets. At the range they were, the Chinese were easy pickings for angry men in a defensive position. As an added plus, when the flares landed, they caught the grass on fire, providing even more illumination for the militiamen.

Still, the Chinese soldiers were elite soldiers. Seeing that running would only expose them to more murderous fire, they pressed the attack, firing as they advanced. The casualties were stacking up on both sides as attacker and defender alike were subjected to withering fire. Several of the Chinese got close enough to lob grenades into the trenches, killing an entire squad of militiamen. They leaped into the trenches, only to be taken under fire by several other militiamen who had exhausted their rifle ammo and were using handguns. The Chinese continued to pour into the trench until they were suddenly hit by a burst of automatic weapons fire. Dugan looked over to see a man brandishing an M-60, holding the ammo belt with one hand, and operating the gun with the other. As the Chinese fell, the men who had run out of ammunition picked up the enemy weapons and began on-the-job training as to how they worked.

For the next few minutes, Dugan was running up and down the trench line, directing fire, moving troops from one point to the next, and occasionally sending a shot towards the enemy. He ran towards the last position where he saw Don and Earl, and found them both bleeding from several wounds. Both of them had pulled out their long rifles and were shooting as fast as they could operate the bolts.

Suddenly, there was a cacophony of truck and car horns coming from the south. All three men looked and for the rest of their lives would have the image of two dozen pickup trucks and cars rising over the crest of the southernmost hill bordering on the cellphone parking lot burned into their memories; The Lakota Nation had arrived. Dugan looked over at Don and Earl. Earl snorted and said, "I don’t remember the movie where the Indians fought off the army to save the settlers."

Immediately, the doors to the vehicles flew open and the occupants piled out; approximately sixty men and women, each beyond retirement age. They immediately funneled into the trenches and, without direction, began firing at the Chinese. The Chinese, having lost the initiative, began a fighting withdrawal. They continued to fire and maneuver so as to get out of range and implement their Escape and Evasion Plan. No one, neither Militiaman nor Lakota, were inclined to pursue them. They did, however, continue to harass them with rifle fire until they were almost two kilometers away (the maximum sight setting on some of the older surplus rifles)