Thunderbolt Black is one of, if not the largest, Mercenary Company in the world as of 2014.
The company was founded by General Dylan Thomas after his leaving the USAF at the close of the Third World War in 2008.
Thunderbolt Black's forces and assets are more diverse than many other groups, and can muster a total force of arms that could rival some smaller air forces, and outmatch others due to technical sophistication.
While on the surface they appear as the premier Private Military Contractor in the world, they are in reality fighting in opposition to MultiCorps global domination.
Dylan Thomas left the United States Air Force at the end of World War Three, taking with him a considerable amount of experience, and the knowledge that the world was changing.
Politically, the world was shifting away from large international engagements, and becoming a more dangerous place at the same time - international laws were harder to enforce, the UN was a shadow of its' former self, and national militaries were reduced in size, as well as reach, while mercenary groups were growing in power and notoriety, alongside the rise of global, multi-national corporations that could rival governments in financial power, as well as influence.
Thomas was also aware of one other thing - The biggest corporation, MultiCorp, was not all it appeared to be. Given over to long-reaching plans and goals for the human race and the planet as a whole, he aimed to do something to stop them.
His resulting goal was to create a group that would be powerful, yet follow rules and aims that were more stringent, accountable, and honest than those of comparable Mercenary groups, who were often money-hungry, dishonest and selfish bands of near-criminals
Thomas was assisted by a large personal fortune accumulated from trust funds, clever banking and investment, as well as financial assistance from his partners - Maxwell Hantel, the founder of the HISPAN international company, and retired Royal Navy captain Henry J. Bryant, also inheritor of a large personal fortune.
All three men had had shared experiences in the Third World War, and were also wary of the rising power of global corporations and the departure in society from traditional governments and military organisations - as such, they intended their new organisation to be able to influence events. Especially in opposition to MultiCorp
Airpower was always a key requirement for the group - General Thomas, Hantel, and Bryant all agreed that having a flexible, powerful, and quickly-responding and mobile force would be the key to their group. Land forces would also be a component, allowing them to protect their assets, as well as increase the flexibility of their contracts and personnel. They would also draw on the networks of contacts they had all made during the war, to gather intelligence on their enemies, potential contracts, and to draw potential recruits and like-thinking individuals to their cause - effectively, creating a grand, underlying network of intelligence and support beneath the Thunderbolt Black organisation.
With the decision made, they now had to build their vision into a reality.
Initially, things were not plain sailing. Governments were still in a period of rebuilding and reorganising from the recent devastation, and were not receptive to the idea of hosting a paramilitary organisation. Fortune smiled upon the fledgling group though, as the government of the Bahamas, bereft of military forces of their own of any strength, and now lacking the support of the devastated and still reeling US and UK forces, were quick to accept the company being based on their soil - with the appropriate agreements, of course. Thunderbolt Black would provide military security to the Bahamas, train pilots, provide search-and-rescue and handle air-traffic control, in return for renting the land from the government, and a considerable loan. Also, the base they built would remain the property of the government should it be vacated.
The agreement was eminently reasonable to the group, and construction was begun on a facility on a mostly abandoned island, which was soon christened Thunder Island.
The first missions came soon after they had gathered their first groups of pilots, and their aircraft. The network of friends and allies they had created were a key instrument in this, bringing the unit up to a strength of three squadrons, albeit ones equipped with a hodge-podge assortment of aircraft, and one unit of ground troops, as well as their necessary support personnel. The base itself was nothing special either - a few hangars, alongside a newly-paved extra-long and heavily stressed runway - A mark of things to come.
The squadrons performed their first missions with exceptional skills, thanks to Dylan's policy of hammering training and professionalism into his men and women, something which definitely stuck fast.
Word of mouth followed quickly, and more pilots flocked to the island, increasing numbers, and the number of incoming contracts. Soon, the base expanded along with the unit, and Thunderbolt Black began making a name for themselves.
In 2011, the unit had been active for two years, and had made their initial starting money back, and increased to eight squadrons, including one helicopter squadron and one transport unit. After an injection of money from several benefactors, the decision was made to expand - by purchasing the unfinished prototype aircraft carrier the Stormcloud from the shipyards building it.
With the Stormcloud added to their assets, the base expanded to include a deepwater harbour, and further living accomodations and aircraft servicing and storage areas.
By 2013 the Stormcloud was fully finished and had a full complement of aircraft. The unit had now expanded to have a company-equivalent of infantry/security forces, and the air wing now included two squadrons of heavy bombers, as well as twenty five fighter squadrons. This was the optimal strength reached before the attack on Thunder Island by the terrorist group known as the 'HFH' damaged the islands' infrastructure and also resulted in the loss of aircraft and lives on the island in early 2014.
Thunderbolt Black is renowned for it's diverse assets and it's sleek and well-organised command structure, both things that have contributed to their position as a premier force, and a well-known and highly regarded mercenary group.
General Thomas is ultimate head of the group, with Captain Bryant his de facto second in command. Underneath these two, there are a number of sectional commanders - one for the air wing at Thunder Island, and one aboard the Stormcloud. There is also a ground forces Commander, and one for the Naval Group that accompanies the Stormcloud, and one for Lightning, the Intelligence division of Thunderbolt Black.
These commanders keep control of their various squadrons and report on their status and disposition to General Thomas, as well as relaying his orders back down to their individual squadron commanders (usually ranked at Colonel)
Aside from the military side, there is also the support staff, such as the caterers, accountants, procurement managers, legal staff and all manner of other people who make sure that the unit gets everything they need to keep fighting, and to keep working at their jobs. These personnel are all based on Thunder Island, as well as in smaller domestic offices in a number of cities - including London, Boston and Sydney.
The units aerial squadrons are roughly split at any one time at a third based on the Stormcloud, a third on Thunder Island, and a third on deployment at any one time. The numbers are often slightly different than this - there are some aircraft, such as the heaviest transports and bombers that cannot be carried aboard the Stormcloud, and often there may be units on shorter or longer contracts that will affect the total number of squadrons on 'The Island' at any one time.
An individual air squadron is, more often than not, a group of dissimilar aircraft, often put together into a squadron to give that squadron a range of complimentary abilities and maximum flexibility. The pilots will be chosen to work together in order to play to each others' strengths, and cover each others' weaknesses, as well as being drawn from similar levels of training and experience to compliment each other.
It is not unusual for each squadron to also be assigned its' own transport aircraft, and a helicopter for utility, and search-and-rescue purposes. Sometimes, they may also have supplementary personnel or aircraft attached for individual missions - such as a tanker, heavy transport, AWACS or an infantry unit or similar things.
Within a squadron, the commanding officer is expected to have absolute authority, and be allowed to distribute individual jobs - such as administration, requisition of supplies, and so on - amongst it's members according to their abilities, and alongside their normal duties.
Even with the multi-role specialisation within Thunderbolt Black, given by using multiple types of aircraft within the same squadron, there are still some squadrons that specialise in particular roles, such as heavy attack, close-air support, and similar roles. The majority though are 'tactical' squadrons made up of diverse types of craft.
Thunderbolt Black can call on an impressive array of forces. Currently, there are a total of twenty active squadrons, arranged in wings of varying size. From the 100th to the 110th are the 'tactical fighter' squadrons, (although their composition of craft varies from pure fighter aircraft, and includes ground attack, strike, and reconnaissance aircraft), as well as a two squadrons of transports, one of tankers, one of AWAC and radar-support aircraft, and a single heavy bomber squadron, as well as four helicopter squadrons, one tasked with heavy-lift, two with general 'utility' roles (that include attack) and one dedicated attack helicopter squadron.
In addition to the aerial component, there is also the company-sized infantry group, of approximately five platoons' strength, numbering almost three hundred men. This also includes it's own vehicles and support equipment, and is a fighting force available for hire from the parent mercenary group, for ground strike operations, and securing of objectives after the use of air-power, and for security operations for deployed forces, but it can be considered separately from the normal base security forces that are a part of Thunder Islands' organisation, or the trained personnel of the Stormcloud that provide security aboard ship.
There is also a naval component provided by the mighty Stormcloud aircraft carier, which is heavily armed in itself and can transport ground forces for landing operations. It is supported by two frigates also belonging to the organisation. Approximately twenty or so small boats (such as PT boats and fast-attack boats) are also available to the unit, along with landing craft and similar.
Additionally, there are numerous administrative, engineering, domestic, and other personnel, all of whom are essential for day-to-day operations for Thunderbolt Black, and without whom the organisation would not function, but are not considered combat personnel.
Training and StandardsEdit
Following the standards set by General Thomas and his contemporaries, Thunderbolt Black looks to accept applications, or make offers to, pilots of certains standards, although they do offer training.
Pilots with a background of military training and experience are preferred, but those with little training are given a place in a training program that develops techniques such as formation flying, in flight refuelling, combat tactics and strategies, and the employment of weapon systems and technologies, as well as flying in adverse conditions.
This is also coupled with interviews and profiles to test the applicants character and personality, avoiding the employment of dangerously unstable personnel, or those with inappropriate, unsuitable, or undesirable character traits and motive from joining the company. Obviously, standards are not the same as national militaries and militias, but being a privately funded-and-run organisation, standards can afford to be more exacting and scrupulous in some areas, while more accepting in others - but even so, psychopathic, sociopathic and otherwise unhinged, nihilistic or self-destructive and harmful individuals would be turned away from joining a group where they could potentially prove to be incredibly dangerous to their comrades, or those they are hired to serve and protect - especially when given potentially catastrophically destructive weapons.
Being a mercenary unit, Thunderbolt Black has no official duty uniform for pilots beyond flight suits and G-suits when needed, and a ban on purposefully offensive or provocative, and blatantly unsuitable or just plain idiotic clothing. However, most units unofficially adopt some form of uniform, and all squadrons have their own patches and insignia, as well as numbers.
Ground units have Battle-dress uniforms, but this is as much a case of practicality as it is uniformity, and provides the fighting men and women somewhere to store their equipment, and give them a hard-wearing and practical outfit for their roles.
Likewise, those aboard ship have their own variations of BDU's for working in the environments of a ship or other naval vessel, being a hard-wearing and practical outfit.
All branches have their dress uniforms, however, for occasions when smartness and visual impact are required - such as funerals, dedications, and official reviews, meetings, and hearings with internal personnel, clients, or other such officials.
The dress uniform is a white suit-cut uniform, with a high, standing collar. Shoulder boards show rank, and also show the branch of service with a wings device for flying personnel, braided ropes and anchors for anval personnel, and a pattern of oak leaves for ground based personnel. Any decorations or awards made to the individual are displayed on the right breast of the uniform.
The outfit is worn with with a beret for ground personnel, coloured in black with a yellow gold lightning bolt for Thunderbolt Black insignia. For other branches, a peaked officers' cap is worn. Naval personnel in addition wear a golden-coloured lanyard on their right side.
Females in the services may also opt to wear a skirt instead of the formal trousers.
- 100th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Gold Wing"
- 101st Tactical Fighter Squadron "Black Knights"
- 102nd Tactical Fighter Squadron "Night Stalkers"
- 105th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Thor's Hammer"
- AWACS "SkyEye"
- AWACS "BlueDance"
- 121st Tanker Squadron "Highballers"
Thunderbolt Black PersonnelEdit
- Aiden Brosnan ('Shamrock')
- Henry J. Bryant
- St. Helen Angela Carter ('Razorblade')
- Carol Constable ('Melton')
- Brian Delaney ('Weasel')
- Philippa Fitzsimmons ('Fizz')
- Lars Flink ('Wintermute')
- Max Garnet
- Natalie Goldstein ('Longhorn')
- Garn Hantel ('Maple Leaf')
- Brittany Harker ('Snowbunny')
- Jake Rowan ('Jake')
- Luke Shetland
- Mara Smythe
- Maya Smythe
- Alex Stewart
- Dylan Thomas
- Adam Ward ('Semtex')