Thursday, February 19, 2009

Adventures with Bodyguards

I got to participate in something today that was, for me, highly out of the ordinary.  And, as it turned out, highly fun.  I took part in some exercises with our personal security teams.  They were running some drills and needed somebody to be the high-value VIP.  Somebody who didn't know squat about how these drills are supposed to be conducted, who therefore wouldn't anticipate things, and who might do something completely unexpected.  Somebody like me.  Fortunately, I happened to be in the right place at the right time and volunteered for the job.

They ran the drills at one of the bases here in the IZ.  We'd drive up to the building for a meeting with the "minister".  The security detail would do all their security stuff, then we'd go in the building and start our "meeting".  Then all hell would break loose.  Their job was to get me and two other "VIPs" safely out of the building and loaded into the cars and outa there.  

Without going into the details, I can say these men and women are pros.  They know their stuff and I'd go anywhere with them.  I'd be talking away with the "minister" when the action would start, and those guys would have me under a protective umbrella in nothing flat.  Then we'd begin the movement to the car - lots of team members rotating back and forth very quickly, everyone covering everyone and everything else.  They weren't gentle with us VIPs, either: they'd physically steer us wherever it was they wanted us to go.  And when a big burly guy with arms as big as your legs has you by the belt and shoulder, you damn well go where he says to go!

We ran several drills, each a bit more complex than the last.  Our little group of VIPs each got to play different roles, too.  Once I was the Ambassador and another time I was a kidnap victim.  Besides having a lot of fun, I gained a new appreciation for our security guys.  You'd expect to find only the best of the best in a place like Baghdad, and you'd be right.  They're professional, highly skilled, highly trained, and extremely disciplined.  And completely irreverent cutups when the action is over.

Your tax dollars at work.  Well spent.

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