MacDill AFB, Tampa, FL - The servicemembers of Central Command (CENTCOM) were shocked to learn that intiricate plans for a surprise birthday party for General James "Mad Dog" Mattis have been leaked by television journalist Geraldo Rivera.
"I wanna know who let the cat outta the bag," said CENTCOM Command Sergeant Major Frank "Kung Fu" Grippe. "This is bullshit. We had a cake planned. And punch. Now it's ruined."
The leak occurred during a recent episode of "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News Channel. During a heated discussion, host Bill O'Reilly challenged Rivera to explain comments that "he was close to many top defense officials."
"What do you know, Rivera? You know squat. Bupkus. You got nothin'!," O'Reilly said.
Rivera then let slip that "I know that CENTCOM is planning a surprise birthday party for 'Mad Dog' Mattis. How do you like that shit, you pompous ass?" At that point, Rivera produced a laminated situation map indicating when and where the party was to take place, as well as the planned activities, invitees and other critical details.
O'Reilly quickly cut to commercial before Rivera could go to a sand table to discuss the exact party location and how everyone would be getting there.
A Fox News Channel producer, speaking anonymously, stated that O'Reilly, knowing Gen Mattis enjoyed impromptu gatherings, had to go to break before Rivera could divulge any more details. "Once we were clear, Bill just went apeshit," the producer said. "He called Geraldo every name in the book. Let's face it, Bill's temper is legendary, and he loves the troops, especially Mattis. They go alligator hunting together for crying out loud."
The response at MacDill Air Force Base has been guarded. A Security Forces Senior Airman, speaking anonomously, said "If the general knows, he's not letting on. (CSM Frank) Grippe is freaking the fuck out, so is (CENTCOM Chief of Staff Major General Karl) Horst. Last time I saw him at the PX he was muttering about 'fileting the son of a bitch who let it slip.' He said it like it was pre-ordained. Like it had already happened."
Meanwhile, CENTCOM Deputy Commander Vice Admiral Robert Harward is optimistic that the party will go forward without much word getting to Gen Mattis. "Listen, it's not a big deal. It was just going to be some staff types, anyway. The real party's going to be at the Outback Steak ... shit. Forget I said that."
A long-time friend of Mattis', retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Otto Fischbein, said that Mattis is hard to surprise. "Fucker's got a sixth sense about him. He sees plans within plans. You're not gettin' anything past Jim, I'll tell ya that."
MGySgt Fischbein explained Gen Mattis' perceptive powers. "There was this time at Okinawa. I was his Platoon Sergeant. Here's this shave tail looey, just outta Quantico, full of piss and vinegar. Literally. All he drank was vinegar. Anyway, we're heading out for a foot march and we get out about four, five clicks. He stops, dead still. He looks at the squad leaders and whispers 'Time to die.' He reaches down, picks up this old Jap mortar round and hurls it a good 125 meters. He yells, 'Get down unless ya want a window where your guts are!' It blows up, we were well safe with that arm of his. Coulda killed us all. We marched over that very spot thirty, forty times. He spots this round first time out. I can't count the number of snakes he killed that first march, either. We didn't see any snakes for weeks. They knew not to fuck with Mad Dog."
A Duffel Blog investigative reporter was able to speak with Gen Mattis briefly. When asked if he had plans for his 62nd birthday, Gen Mattis merely winked, smiled and then punched the reporter in the throat. Unconfirmed reports have also said he pulled a .45 caliber pistol but was quickly subdued by his staff.
Reports from sources close to the General's inner circle reveal a recently transferred Public Affairs Major may have notified Rivera about the planned event. The unnamed Major was transferred to the newest ISAF Public Affairs office at Khaki Safed, in Farah Province, Afghanistan.
The Major's primary role now is "to faithfully and honestly tell the story of the ISAF mision" to the local goat herders and opium farmers in the remote outpost.