Of lesser known repercussions is, the Story of Colonel Pike and his Raiders, who seized and held the Panama Canal. Immediately after the botched evacuation of all U.S. forces from South and Central America, those who were left behind fell back to the Panama Canal. Army Colonel Jonas Pike was already there. Rather than follow his orders and abandon the special forces teams under his command that were still stuck behind enemy lines in the jungles of Colombia, Pike stayed behind. The Canal, with its heavily fortified defenses, immediately became the first safe haven for anyone left behind in the region who could make it there. Within weeks the number of people at the Canal had reached thousands, mostly civilian construction workers, engineers, drivers, clerical staff, and private security personnel. With the combined forces of the Colombians, the Bolivians and any rebel group or terrorist group in the region with a bone to pick with the U.S. descending on them, about to surround them completely, and with resources stretched thin, the majority of those who had taken refuge at the Canal decided in a desperate move to escape while they could before they were cut off and under siege. While the main host began the exodus from the Canal that would later be called the long walk, Colonel Pike and 300 of his best men, along with a handful of civilian volunteers (most of whom were actually employed at the Canal and knew its operation), dug in at the Canal to hold off the Cartel Forces for as long as possible. No one had any doubts, it was a suicide mission. Things did not go according to plan however. Rather than
Pike and his men, known collectively as "Pikes Raiders," were able to fight off the cartel forces besieging them, but could do little to hinder the main Cartel movement chasing down the "Long Walkers." When the "Walkers" finally reached Atlantico, the main group of Cartel forces that had been chasing them had no choice but to abandon pursuit and head back. Unknown to them, Pike back at the Canal had already planned a surprise for them. When the Cartel Forces reached the Canal, they expected at most a kowtowed American presence, one who would co-operate or be easily destroyed. And that's what they got, or so it seemed. From their gun towers, with most of his men hidden in waiting, Pike played the submitting role, allowing the main portion of Cartel forces to cross the canal in a cargo ship. When the ship was loaded and underway, Pike struck. His hidden men ran to the gun towers, unloading on the ship with everything they had. Navy divers who had stayed behind had placed underwater mines on time release switches at the bottom of the canal. The ship along with 2000 Cartel soldiers on board exploded and sunk. Survivors were gunned down in the water as they floated. With over 2/3rds of the cartel forces lost in a single blow, including much of its leadership, the remaining Cartel forces fled. It would be the last victory for America in the Second South American War.
In the wake of the final Canal Battle, Pike and his people were left with a dilemma. The Panamanian government was eager to assume command of the Canal, but there was no where for Pike and his men to go. No one was coming for them, and their force was far too small to make the trek to home soil. Besides, they had shed their blood, sweat and tears defending the unfinished Canal and they were going to be damned if anyone was going to take it from them now. Besides, most of them had no wish to see the America that had abandoned them ever again. Reluctant at first, the Panamanian government was in no shape to try and dislodge the Americans, who even then were in talks with the EEC and other major nations eager to begin shipping again. After Europe offered to pickup the funding for the expansion (now well over half done) Panama acquiesced, the Canal would be completely controlled and run by Pike and his people. The ICMF was born.
In the 8 years since that final battle, the ICMF has grown in size, hiring from the local Panamanian population for day to day operations, importing specialists and experts at healthy salaries, and expanding their military forces with mercenaries and ex-soldiers from all over the globe. The recruiting policy is simple, "If you are fed up fighting for someone else, come here, join us, fight for yourself and your comrades." The ICMF is supplied heavily in arms and equipment from Europe, Russia, and Asia (mostly Japan and China). They were also, at least till recently, sold weapons and vehicles from American companies, most notably Militech International. Miltech, Arasaka, and Lazarus have all tried to win military contracts with the ICMF to supplant their military forces, but the ICMF has refused them all, staunchly disallowing any corporate influence to breach their inner circle, the mercs they do hire are all highly seasoned private groups.
Bitterness over their abandonment left the core group, comprised of the original member of "Pikes Raiders", with an extreme resentment towards the United States, a country they have now completely disavowed. Still while their was always an air of hostility in their dealings, it wasn't until November of 2019 that any overt action had taken place. The U.S. angry that though they had payed for the vast majority of the expansion project they were being charged twice the fees for its use, threatened an embargo. The ICMF, heavily influenced by the EEC closed the Canal to U.S. traffic completely in response, forcing U.S. inbound and outbound vessels to travel all the way around South America. For the last 6 months the U.S. has tried negotiating, but after their most recent talks ended in failure, the United States Government had finally had enough, War was declared on the ICMF. The other Target of United States agression, the South American Alliance, has tried to form an alliance with the ICMF, to no avail so far, Colonel Pike has not forgotten the atrocities of the "Long Walk" and hates the Cartel forces as much as he hates his former home country. Still with the U.S. invasion looming, he may need all the help he can get. As an alternative, they have been in negotiations with Meta-Key.
The ICMF has grown to such a point that it is now the largest and best equipped military force in Central America, save for Mexico. By contrast the ICMF simply dwarfs Panamanian military forces (which has led to fears in the that the ICMF will simply take over the country, unfounded fears as it were as Pike has no interest in running a country). The vast majority of ICMF troops are ex-American and European veterans, with combat experience in either the last South American War, or from the current war in Africa. Because its soldiers are already well experienced and seasoned troops, there is little need for training, What training does exist is mostly in efforts to get the disparate groups to work cohesively together in defense of the canal. (For skill packages, consider any ICMF soldier to have the same skill sets as the military of their home of origin, at an additional +1 to each of the skills received, this extends to those with Special Forces training).
Also because of their backgrounds, and lack of a single supplier, uniforms, weapons, and equipment are extremely varied among the ICMF soldiers. While the majority of ICMF personnel are issued similar uniforms within their platoons, the platoons themselves often vary wildly. The ICMF also allows private Merc groups to keep their own uniforms, so long as they are in a group of 50 or more. Still the majority of ICMF soldiers wear Second South American War era US style uniforms and armor, as a symbol of their roots.
ARMS AND EQUIPMENT
by Deric "D" Bernier, images from Killzone, FFOW.)