OPERATION MUTUM / THE TROOPS / VACATION START
(Episodes 12 and 13)
When the first helicopter passed over the city, it must have been about nineteen. He went to the Municipal Stadium, where he landed. Soon after, and for most of the night, others arrived. I counted ten. Of these, seven were large, for the transport of troops. Just three little, squirrel-like ones. All with the emblem of Brazil.
In them you could read Brazilian Air Force – FAB, whose armed arm is the Air Operations Command (COMGAR), to which all air units, air bases and similar bodies are subordinate.
The helicopters operating in Mutum belonged to the 2nd Air Force or II FAe, headquartered in the city of Rio de Janeiro, which includes rotary wing units (helicopters) and search and rescue units, maritime patrol and support to the Navy in general. , subordinated to the III Regional Air Command l – COMAR, with headquarters in Rio de Janeiro and jurisdiction over the states of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo.
While things were happening in Mutum, that first day after the bombs were lost by the military aircraft, the strongest thing became true, in my mind, the speech of my Chief Editor, that there were things there.
What was making me uncomfortable the most was the fact that the news about the bombing event had ceased, both on radio and television. Why had they ceased? Only the news given on Sunday had been released. No more. Nothing at all. Wouldn’t it be important to drop the bombs? If not, why move federal troops there? In the conversations that night, in Mutum, these were questions asked all the time without anyone knowing how to answer.
The city did not sleep. The streets that gave access to the Stadium, where the Army camp and Air Force helicopters were located, were forbidden to residents. Physical barriers were placed, reinforced by rolls of barbed wire and armed sentries were posted at their ends. The area was isolated.
The residents’ curiosity increased and many stayed up all night, watching the helicopters pass by. Thus ended June 30, 1975, a Monday, the first day after the bombs dropped in Mutum.
July 1, 1975
The morning of the next day, Tuesday, July 1st, started hectic. For two very specific reasons. That they had nothing to do with each other.
The first, when some people who had spent the night forming small groups, talking about the situation in the square, reported in the morning that during the morning another military convoy had arrived. This time, transporting troops from the Navy that joined those of the Army and Air Force, increasing the number of military personnel in action and definitively transforming the square in front of the Municipal Stadium into a war square.
The Navy troop deployed to Mutum, as I learned later, belonged to the Marine Corps Group of the 1st Naval District, subordinated to the Southeast Naval Patrol Group, based in Rio de Janeiro, whose mission is to carry out maritime rescue and rescue , naval, coastal operations and naval inspection, in order to contribute and ensure the safeguarding of human life and for the security and control of Brazil’s interests at sea.
The Brazilian Marine Corps (CFN) of the Brazilian Navy uses a Latin word – Adsumus – to show their readiness. According to the CFN Command it means: “Here we are”, reflecting the readiness and the permanent state of readiness of this professional troop.
In the specific case of its presence in Mutum, its mission was to give full support to the military actions of the Army and Air Force.
The second reason for the agitation of that morning on the second day after the bombs fell, was the arrival of a noisy group of students on vacation, coming in two on the Viação Melo bus, one who left at night, from Manhumirim and another who left Aimorés early morning. After all, school holidays began and, as always, the city should receive a large number of visitors throughout the month, in addition to the children of the land who studied abroad and returned each year in July to enjoy their families. in Mutum.
As expected, the city was transformed, stirring and losing its main characteristic, which was that it was a quiet city, with empty and calm streets. The presence of the military and the arrival of the students provoked an unheard of unrest in every part of the city.
(To be continued next week)