I've been on the tactical team since its inception. In all that time I have only missed three tactical operations.
The first wasn't a call-out. The OIC (Officer in Charge) decided to use tactical staff on duty and not page out the team. Working a different shift, I missed the mission. It was spectacular, too and became the reason we decided not to rely on "bean-bag" rounds.
The second time, my team wasn't on call (we have two teams, that alternate 'on-call' status). I'd been awake for about thirty hours and the mission was completely routine, so I just checked to see if Andy anticipated any possibility of problems. He said "no" and I went to sleep.
The third time, when the pager went off I was in surgery getting my ACL replaced. My wife turned it off and waited until I was out of recovery to tell me.
Tomorrow will be the fourth. An extraction and high-risk transport on a supremacist with multiple murder charges.
The other team has a new team leader. Mike used to be my second. Tomorrow will be his first mission as a TL. I have to not be there. The team is used to looking to me for the plan and operational guidance. They're used to my voice. They need to listen for Mike and nothing else. They need to see that he can handle it and I trust him enough to let him handle it, trust him so much that I won't even be there.... and I do. Mike is an extraordinary leader and operator.
But it's still hard. Very, very hard.
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