by Max Barry

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The Banner Revolution

Banner Revolution

Anti-government soldiers preparing for combat

  • April 23, 2176 - May 21, 2176 (28 days)


  • Most Serene Republic, centered in the Sovereign's District of Arlington


  • 36 year reign of President Elliott Kabul

  • Removal of the Secretary of War

  • Human rights abuses

  • Veto of flag change proposal


  • Removal of Elliott Kabul as President

  • Re-installation of the democratic Constitution of the Second Republic

  • Dissolution of the Most Serene Republic

  • Editing the flag to a less controversial design


  • Removal and death of Elliott Kabul
    End of Most Serene Republic (2142-2176)

  • Installation of anti-government leader Jordan Ferrell as President

  • Start of the Provisional War Government/Third Republic

  • Beginning of North American War

  • Flag replaced in 2215

  • Most Serene Republic

  • Armed Forces of the Most Serene Republic

  • Guardians of Christ

  • Conservatives United

  • Unified Democratic Council

  • Free Republican Army

  • Secular Front

  • Liberal Democratic Alliance

  • Guardians of Christ (Day 16-27)

    Lead Figures
  • Jordan Ferrell, Chairman of the Council

  • Patrick Marcos, General of the Armies

  • Nicholas Roark, Head of the Front

  • Mary Yantis, Senator of Florida

  • Elliott Kabul, President

  • Samuel Oppenheimer, Secretary of Defense

  • Andrew Kiel, Father-General of the Guardians

  • Carter Dempsey, Senator of Texas

  • Andrew Kiel, Chayot-ha-Kodesh of the Guardians (Day 16-27)

  • 2,000,000 protesters

  • 987,000 Republican soldiers

  • 200,000 Front soldiers
    Total: 3,187,000 Opposition members

  • 1,350,000 Active personnel

  • 850,000 Reserve personnel

  • 125,000 Guardians

  • 100,000 Mercenaries
    Total: 2,425,000 Government forces

    Casualties and losses
    128,500 protesters killed
    25,150 Republican soldiers killed
    11,340 Front soldiers killed
    211,990 Opposition members wounded
    Total Opposition casualties: 376,980
    650,000 Active personnel killed
    106,250 Reserve personnel killed
    30,000 Guardians killed
    56,000 Mercenaries killed
    336,562 Government forces wounded
    Total Government casualties: 1,178,812

  • Banner Revolution

    The Banner Revolution of 2176 occurred after several key pieces of legislation were rejected by the President of the Most Serene Republic of the United Confederacy of Texas, Elliott Kabul. Said legislation also included indicting Kabul on charges of corruption, primarily after his removal of the Secretary of War, Alexander Lake. The Revolution received its name due to the protests following the revelation that Kabul vetoed a legislation to replace the flag of the Republic, which had a Confederate Battle Flag occupying 2:3 of the flag. The resulting protests grew much larger as Kabul attempted to silence opposition groups, ordering open fire on protesters gathering in the Sovereign's Square.

    In response, a coalition of opposition groups, called the Unified Democratic Council was formed, declaring itself the sole government for the Republic. The Most Serene Republic quickly banned the Council, only to be faced with the UDC's military wing, the Free Republican Army, as well as the underground rebel group known as the Secular Front. The UDC soon began a campaign of armed resistance against the MSR, along with the MSR Armed Forces, Guardians of Christ, and paid mercenaries. After 10 days of high tensions between the two groups, street fighting occurred on May 8 near the Tower of the Lord Protector, igniting 13 days of open conflict, resulting in mass casualties. During this, the Most Serene Republic began to collapse from within, as top generals and politicians either betrayed Kabul or were killed by the Opposition, as well as GOC Father-General Andrew Kiel declaring the independence of the GOC as a government body, coming into conflict with both sides. Ultimately, by day 19 most of the Government forces were quick to surrender, as UDC leader Jordan Ferrell assassinated President Kabul, with the day ending with the fall of the Tower of the Lord Protector. Day 20 led to the collapse of the GOC, with Kiel forced to surrender after an attempted coup against his leadership occurred. Day 21 ended with the Government of the Most Serene Republic forced to accept Ferrell as President, as well as the beginning of Liberal control of the Congress.

    The collapse of Kabul's regime, however, also caused the fragile peace Kabul maintained over North America to dissolve. The hostile relations the various nations of North America held repressed were let out by the North American War. The War also strained the fragility the Most Serene Republic had to hold over the various abuses and crimes committed by Kabul, as well as a GOC insurgency. Ferrell, however, maintained control long enough to finish the war, as well as ordering the creation of the Transitional Government, helping to create the Third Republic, the current government of the UCT.

    Background and History
    Elliott Kabul (né Frederickson) was elected President in 2140, defeating incumbent Emilio Gonzales by a slim margin. From 2122 to 2142, the Republic operated under the Second Republic system, a semi-parliamentary republican government, with a First Minister elected every 4 years, and a President elected every 2 years. The office of President, unlike other parliamentary republics, still wielded de facto power and was still seen as a position of power. The system was designed to counteract the First Republic, a semi-presidential system that fell under the 20 year dictatorship of Alec Kjellberg. At the time of the election, Kabul was active in public works and tax collections. The recently-elect Kabul government ordered the creation of new public infrastructure and schools. In spite of allegations of power abuse, Kabul was re-elected as President under the Serenity Party ballot.

    The second term, however, was marred with increased hostilities towards the First Minister, Jacob Lanning, and widespread claims of corruption. As wealth gaps grew, the Liberal Democratic Alliance, consisting of the Liberal Democratic, New Republican, and Socialist Parties, called for Kabul to increase support of welfare programs. This, along with continued aggression near the American Exclusion Zone, led to an impeachment trial against Kabul. In response, Kabul issued a proclamation dissolving the current Congress and declared martial law. The resulting coup gave Kabul full control of the armed forces, allowing him to silence opposition. The ‘Black Thursday’ coup led to Lanning’s death, and allowed Kabul to create a new government.

    With Congress dissolved, Kabul ordered for a new election. The 2142 election was contested between the Liberal Democratic Alliance and Conservatives United, a bloc between the New Democratic, True Republican, and the Serenity Parties. The result was a Conservative landslide victory, amidst allegations of voter fraud. The election coincided with the replacement of the 2122 Constitution. The 2142 Constitution revoked many civil and political rights, as well as installing a theocratic system. The Most Serene Republic, as was termed, was a theocracy with technocratic elements, with the posts of First Minister and President blended into a Presidency wielding nigh-absolute power. Kabul, a devout Catholic, declared that Abrahamic religions be the only legal religions. Other religions were illegal, and citizenship could only be obtained by converting to an Abrahamic religion, preferably Christian.

    With Kabul as President, he moved to create a militaristic society, with a cult of personality developed over time. Orders were placed to ‘update’ most public institutions to hold respect to Kabul; businesses were required to be under the control of Kabul’s inner circle and persecution of citizens sympathetic or part of the left-wing bloc, non-Abrahamic followers, and atheist teachings. Concentration camps were constructed over time to place members of society unsupportive of Kabul, but many chose to not reveal their positions. Kabul also ordered for the creation of the Guardians of Christ, a paramilitary/religious order allied with Kabul. The GOC were an autonomous sect of the military, with orders received directly by Kabul, instead of the Secretary of Defense, Samuel Oppenheimer, and rankings based on the Jewish angelic hierarchy; Ishim being Private to Chayot-ha-Kodesh being the Father-General. The GOC also became well known for their brutality, as well as a militaristic point of view towards the Bible.
    Support for Kabul, however, waned over time, with Senators and low-ranking junior officers silently opposing Kabul’s reign. Underground movements sprang up, raiding concentration camps and prisons, freeing those imprisoned.

    Flag Act of 2176
    By 2176, public support of Kabul was at an all-time low, partially due to Kabul’s continued usage of martial law. In response, Kabul ordered the lifting of martial law, and allowed for a public referendum of choice. The public, in response, sent a letter to change the flag; the decision was influenced by the opposition groups to demonstrate the large amount of corruption within the government.

    Flag of the Republic, 2102-2215

    The public, out of a common support to remove the Army of Northern Virginia battle flag from the main flag, chose a less controversial design, despite its initial purpose as a secessionist flag, was deemed the most supportive.

    Flag of the Republic, 2215-Present/Flag of the Liberal Democratic Alliance

    With the decision made, the public delegates submitted the design to Congress. The initial vote by the House of Representatives, 296-224, quickly passed to the Senate, 54-46. With the approval of Congress, Kabul would decide whether or not to veto the Flag Act. In a stunning twist, Kabul declared the proposal null, and then declared that the referendum would not be change, nor would the citizens be allowed to hold another. The decision to not allow a second referendum sparked outrage, also dealing a blow to the collapsing government.

    Protests begin
    With Kabul’s declaration, protests began to occur in the capital of Arlington, primarily outside of the Congressional Palace, on April 22. The protesters, initially non-partisan, began to unite under the Opposition banner, called the Resistance Flag, to further spread word.

    Resistance Flag

    The protests, however, grew much more as rumor about Kabul’s recent decision. Word quickly spread of Kabul removing the Secretary of War, Alexander Lake, from power. Lake, whose powers included the arrest of protesters, refused to allow the Armed Forces to intervene. Kabul’s response was to remove Lake, then arrest him on charges of treason. The Opposition quickly asked Kabul to release Lake, only to be met with refusal. In response, protesters gathered near the Tower of the Lord Protector. The Tower, designed as Kabul’s personal residence, was designed as a cross to express the religious connections between Arlington and the Republic. The protests began to evolve against Kabul. In response to the growing protesters, Kabul, on April 24, ordered soldiers stationed in the Sovereign’s Square, the area in front of the Congressional Palace, to open fire on protesters. Over 900 protesters were killed in the Sovereign’s Square, while 1,300 were killed near the Tower of the Lord Protector. The casualties also included over 1,600 protesters injured, adding up to 3,800. The responses to the casualties internationally were of condemnation. The British Prime Minister, with whom Kabul had cold relations towards, stated that “the grievous massacres committed today in Texas are beyond horrendous, as the war criminal [Kabul] in charge has ordered the most unspeakable crimes against his own citizens.” The French and German Prime Ministers, along with the European Union and the United Nations, ordered Kabul to stand down. Also in response, the Opposition declared that “in light of the actions committed by the President today, it is clear that the Republic cannot simply be salvaged. We must remove all aspects of government in order to move on. The people murdered today shall be remembered for their sacrifice. We must unite against Kabul, and remove him from power, by any means necessary.”

    The Council
    With support for Kabul rapidly dissolving, the Opposition quickly declared that a new political coalition be formed. The Unified Democratic Council was declared on April 25, alongside a new military wing, the Free Republican Army. The Council, formed of 30 members, was led by Jordan Ferrell, a young politician from California. Ferrell was joined by Patrick Marcos, a Cuban-American revolutionary who was arrested by the GOC on charges of apostasy. Marcos was named the General of the Armies, while Ferrell was named as Chairman of the Council. The two quickly settled in Flower Mound, Texas, while convening with the Secular Front. The Secular Front was an underground organization dedicated to separate church and state from the Republic, led by Nicholas Roark, a native Texan from Austin. Roark met with Marcos and Ferrell to discuss on a course of action. Roark had been wanted by Kabul for raiding Camp Swift in Bastrop, Texas, along with Fort Polk in Vernon Parish, Louisiana. The raids gave the FRA munitions for combat against the MSR Armed Forces. The Council convened on April 26, with the decision to ally with the Secular Front and the Liberal Democratic Alliance. The Council soon received word from Mary Yantis, a Florida Senator, and a member of the Socialist Party. Yantis informed the Council that Kabul has banned the organization, but announced her support for them. The Council quickly voted on a decision to prepare for conflict in Arlington, as well as invading the Carswell Field, an Air Force base of the Most Serene Republic in Fort Worth. The Free Republican Army quickly invaded the unsuspecting base, overwhelming and claiming territory for the Council. The area around the Field became the ‘Free Territory,’ with soldiers and civilians to switch allegiances.

    The Occupation Begins
    With Carswell claimed, Arlington was left without air support in the Western/Military district, preventing Kabul from receiving a military evacuation. The capture of Carswell also allowed for Fort Worth to be taken by the Council, as well as opening a window to sneak into Arlington. On April 27, the 17th Division of the Free Republican Army mobilized into Arlington around 4 A.M. The 17th Division quickly moved north, claiming the town of Pantego, along with the city of Dalworthington Gardens. The 17th were able to reach the Police Department of Arlington, along with the City Hall, before being stopped by the MSR 4th Infantry Regiment. The two groups quickly squared off, only to be confronted by two FRA Armed Personnel Carriers (APCs) confiscated in Carswell. The 4th Infantry quickly backed down long enough for an ambush by the FRA 2nd Brigade, wiping out most of the 4th stationed nearby. The two divisions were able to reach the Tower of the Lord Protector before being confronted once more by the 4th, along with the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, mobilized on orders from the Secretary of Defense, Samuel Oppenheimer. The 1st Cavalry proceeded to wipe out the 17th Division, as well as the APCs (call-sign Lobo 4-1 and Rapina 2) before ordering the 2nd Brigade to surrender. The 2nd responded with an ambush from the Police Department, using white phosphorus mortars to wipe out the 1st Cavalry.

    A Captain of the 2nd Brigade surveys over white phosphorus usage on the 1st Cavalry, Arlington.

    As the 2nd Brigade captured the Square, reports soon revealed that Kabul authorized the mobilization of the Guardians of Christ, as well as the reserve personnel of the MSR Armed Forces. By 9 a.m., the Square had become a disputed zone between the FRA and MSRAR, along with the GOC and reserves facing off against the incoming FRA divisions and battalions. By 1 p.m., the FRA had constructed a barricade against the MSR, armed with cannons to deter any attacks. The Occupation had turned the Revolution into an armed conflict.

    The barricade constructed by the Free Republican Army on April 27

    The Chayot-ha-Kodesh arrives
    With the Sovereign's Square, along with Fort Worth and half of Arlington under control of the UDC, Kabul ordered the mobilization of the Guardians of Christ, led by Father Andrew Kiel. Kiel, the father of St. Matthews Catholic Church, was the Father-General of the Guardians and was known for his strict interpretation of all texts. Kiel was referred to by his subordinates as the "Chayot-ha-Kodesh," or "Holy Living One," a reference to the Jewish angelic hierarchical system. The term was also used to refer to the Guardians as a whole. The GOC hierarchy held 10 ranks, listed here by order of increasing influence: Ishim, Cherubim, Bene Elohim, Elohim, Malakim, Seraphim, Hashmallim, Erelim, Ophanim, and Chayot-ha-Kodesh. The Chayot was considered to be limited to only Kiel, with lower ranking officers termed Ophanim. The confusion between the naming system led to the Guardians using military ranks in combination to the title. Kiel would be referred to as 'Chayot-ha-Kodesh Andrew Kiel, Father-General.'

    Regardless of the titles, the Guardians were often compared to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, albeit more aggressive and fundamentalist. Their ferocity and skill made them a sought-after force, and were physically capable, often called the "American Gurkhas." The Guardians quickly mobilized at the Square, while Kiel ordered the other contingents to secure Arlington from FRA control. The standoff nearly collapsed as the Guardians arrived, only to be kept under control with the white phosphorus mortars at the Police Station.

    With the GOC stationed at the Tower, Kabul ordered the eradication of the 2nd Brigade, as well as destroying the mortars at the Police Station. The attack was delivered by the 4th Infantry, with the survivors setting off explosives. The destruction of the Police Station left 150 FRA soldiers dead, but eliminated the remaining 100 4th Infantry soldiers.

    As the Police Station burned, several soldiers described the scene as ‘though Hell had opened up and was reaping the damned.’ The fall of the Police Station, however, allowed the occupying FRA soldiers to move the remaining mortars to the Sovereign’s Square, as well as near the Tower of the Lord Protector. With the FRA surrounding the Congressional Palace, the government was forced to take recess until further notice. This action allowed for the UDC to take control, establishing elections between the politicians who had defected, including Senator Yantis. Yantis was quickly elected as the Speaker of the Senate, while Ferrell chose Tim Veasey, a Representative and descendant of U.S. Representative Mike Veasey, as Speaker of the House. The response, however, was rejected by Conservatives United, led by Texas Senator Carter Dempsey, who accused Yantis of treason.

    The Standoff
    As the tensions subsided, both sides silently agreed to a truce. For 10 days, both sides were quickly taking the opportunity to take control of parts of the Sovereign’s District. As the two militaries retrieved supplies and placed weaponry near the Barricade, the protesters began to construct a micro-community near the Square. As the days passed, occasional brawls would occur between divisions. Eventually, the Cinco de Mayo Incident escalated tensions as several Guardians fought against several FRA Catholics over their decision, in the words of the Guardians, ‘to violate the 5th Commandment by murdering your fellow Christians.’ The claim implied the FRA soldiers were apostates, which enraged the soldiers to the point of armed assault. 3 Guardians were killed, while 10 more were wounded.

    The act greatly enraged the Guardians, as well as the MSR Armed Forces stationed near the barricade. Kabul declared that the scuffle was a declaration of war, and ordered the Guardians to prepare for combat. The morning of May 8th would lead to the climax of the Banner Revolution.

    Under the Blood, the Pavement
    On the morning of May 8th, the fragile peace maintained between the belligerent groups finally snapped, with both sides mobilizing for battle. The FRA were equipped with IEDs, Molotov Cocktails, and 21st century rifles, while the Guardians and MSRAF were equipped with late 21st century assault rifles, tanks, and several APCs. The weather during the day was rain, severely limiting line of sight for the FRA.

    At 9:37 a.m., the first shot was fired, killing a patrolling FRA soldier near the barricade. The FRA responded with a Molotov thrown near a MSRAF tank, setting fire to nearby soldiers. Within 3 minutes, shots were exchanged, with the FRA setting fire to several tanks, while the Guardians ordered the APCs to disable the mortars near the front. The Sovereign’s Square, however, devolved into a massacre, as the Guardians fired on the protesters, who had congregated in defiance to the earlier massacre. Several FRA contingents opened fire, having obtained equipment from the remains of the Police Station, and then proceeded to use a white phosphorus mortar near the Congressional Palace.

    FRA soldiers near a MSRAF tank at the Congressional Palace.

    The usage of white phosphorus, however, was negated by the rain, yet still managed to kill several Guardians via smoke inhalation. The fighting quickly drew several Secular Front soldiers, who were sent to the Palace to protect the UDC members from the Guardians. The resulting conflict led to vicious fighting between the two groups, mostly fueled by the ideological views both groups had. The casualties by the end of the fighting at 1 p.m. was over 700 protesters, 900 FRA soldiers, 400 Secular Front soldiers, and 600 Guardians.

    Meanwhile, the conflict near the Tower became a conflict of mortar fire. By 2 p.m., the rain had subsided, allowing for the FRA to use mortars upon the MSRAF troops. The usage of mortars within the small range that was the Tower’s square meant that the mortars also subjected the FRA to smoke inhalation. In response, soldiers were given heavy clothing and gas masks, as well as weapons looted from the RAF soldiers killed near the barricade.

    Top: Civilians flee from white phosphorus mortars fired upon the MSRAF and Guardian stronghold near the Tower.
    Bottom: Spec Ops FRA soldiers moving towards the aforementioned stronghold.

    The FRA soldiers proceeded to fire upon the survivors, several bombarding the buildings using the tanks as suppress sniper fire, while the ground troops quickly moved into the buildings, eliminating most of the MSRAF troops in the area. The casualties for the MSRAF quickly grew to over 5,000 deaths, most of them due to the large amount of troops moved into the square and nearby buildings, as well as a second square connecting to the Treasury Department and the St. Finnegan’s Church. The large gathering of soldiers was also meant to suppress UDC attacks into the other towns of the District. As the FRA finished off the remaining MSRAF troops, several Guardians proceeded to ambush the returning soldiers, setting off a massive firefight. The ambush also served to confuse several barricade checkpoints, mostly due to communication failures over the Spec Ops soldiers, as well as said soldiers taking several tanks. The result led to large usage of IEDs and other explosives, as the FRA soldiers were killed via a mix of Guardian attacks and friendly fire. As the barrage of fire continued, several FRA soldiers managed to reach the checkpoints, informing the checkpoints of their mistake. By the time the suppressive fire was stopped, over 2,000 Republican soldiers were killed by the mistake. By the end of the day, over 16,600 people on both sides died, along with 5,000 Opposition protesters and soldiers injured, along with 8,000 Government troops, adding the total casualties to 28,600. The result led to protesters placing the tag “Under the Blood, the Pavement,” as a reference to the death and destruction committed.

    The aftermath of the May 8th Massacre reverberated across the world. The European community was stated to be on high alert, as recordings and photos began to stream, many seeing the large scale of death. The Tower Square was nicknamed the ‘Square of Blood’ due to the mass casualties that occurred, while the Sovereign’s Square was termed the ‘Killing Square,’ in reference to Cambodia’s “killing fields.”

    Meanwhile, both sides of the conflict were reeling from the losses. The FRA ordered an arrest warrant for the checkpoint officers responsible for the friendly fire incident, while efforts were made to repair the barricade and defend against APC attacks. The Carswell base received orders to send aircraft to suppress MSR troops in Dallas and Grand Prairie, while a contingent of bombers would be sent to weed out MSRAF soldiers. In Fort Worth, however, the FRA was under fire from unknown paratroopers, who seemed to help out Government forces. Later evidence revealed that Kabul had hired mercenaries, mostly from Acedemi, while others were hired by the SOL Corporation, a private military firm founded in 2122.

    As for the Government forces, however, the losses were much worse as many of the soldiers killed at the Tower Square were intended to be both the remaining active and the reserve personnel should the protests turned violent; the massacre was enough to demoralize the Government soldiers. The loss of the soldiers in both Squares also served to underline the growing tensions between Kabul and Kiel. Kiel, despite being the leader of the Guardians, was seen by Kabul as “a vicious man with little to no regard over the Bible and its contents.” Kiel, in return, saw Kabul as “a spineless coward who hides behind a tower of decadence to reach the Lord. He has created a Tower of Babel, built by avarice and a desire to make a name of oneself.”

    The events of May 8th, however, served as justification for Kiel that the Government was now too weakened by conflict to suppress the growing resistance. On May 9th, at 9:45 A.M., CST, Kiel declared the Guardians of Christ would no longer support and would oppose the Government forces, while still maintaining a hostile stance towards the Opposition forces. The decision was televised, as Kiel displayed a new banner to replace the original Christian flag that had been used as a symbol of representation.

    Top: The Christian Flag/Flag of the Guardians of Christ (2143 – May 8, 2176)
    Bottom: Secession Flag/Flag of the Guardians of Christ (May 9 – May 20, 2176)

    Almost immediately, the Guardians stationed throughout the city began to open fire on both the Opposition and the Government forces, killing mostly MSRAF soldiers who were unprepared for the ambush. The surviving soldiers quickly opened fire, cutting down several Guardians, but were suppressed by the better training and weapons the Guardians had over the soldiers. At the Tower Square, Kabul made an announcement from the balcony of the Tower that the secession of the GOC would be met with Government attacks, but many commented that his threat had seemed empty due to shock. By 3:30 P.M., the Guardians had taken the Dallas City Hall and established the “Zone of the Faithful,” a quasi-religious state that would be more theocratic than the Most Serene Republic. The Zone also became a citadel, making it one of the most protected areas in the District and also the most powerful anti-Government party in the area.

    Arrival of the General of the Armies
    As the GOC began their control of the Zone of the Faithful, the FRA and SC quickly sent word of the issue to Patrick Marcos, the General of the Armies. Marcos, who moved to Grand Prairie to deal with Acedemi and SOL mercenaries sent from Fort Worth, quickly handed control of the troops in Grand Prairie to Nicholas Roark. As Marcos arrived in Arlington, FRA soldiers quickly moved to defend Marcos from Government attacks, mainly due to a bounty placed on his head by Samuel Oppenheimer. Although some MSRAF attacks were made, Marcos remained safe and proceeded to begin rallying a defense against the MSRAF and GOC forces at Interstate 20. The arrival of Marcos, however, served to accelerate a new offensive against the FRA. The new attack, termed the Downtown Offensive, quickly decimated the 17th, along with Marcos’s private squadron, the Republican Guard.

    Top: General Marcos examines the remnants of the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway after the May 8th attack.
    Bottom: General Marcos, after surviving the Downtown Offensive.

    General Marcos, however, manage to escape with the few remaining soldiers that survived the ambush. As they traveled along the Highway, Government snipers and several APCs launched an attack on the survivors, the total survivors barely able to constitute a platoon. The ambush failed, however, due to the sudden arrival of the FRA 3rd Battalion led by Lt. Col. Francis Tyler, equipped with a 120mm cannon. The 3rd would assist in bringing Marcos to Flower Mound, where the FRA High Command established a temporary camp for the General.