Friday, September 26, 2014

Crash Bang!

Kacey and I spent the last week at Foreign Affairs Counter Threat training, more commonly known to Foreign Service folks as "Crash Bang." It's geared towards (and required for) folks headed to high threat posts, like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan along with several other locations. The first part of this CBS segment gives a quick overview of what we're learning:



Some of the most fun we had was at BSR's track, learning and practicing several driving skills that everyone should learn (but not in your own vehicle). Picture a perfectly beautiful fall day, with white clouds hung in the crisp blue sky, golden leaves falling down onto the sun-drenched grass, with a stillness that's punctuated by wheels screaming around corners while belching acrid white smoke that reeks of awesomeness. So. much. fun. Well, except for those two folks who were sitting it out because they succumbed to motion sickness.

Since American embassies and consulates are frequently targeted, we also practiced our responses to various kinds of attacks. The instructor said that in most cases, more people get hurt running away from a dangerous situation than get hurt from the actual dangerous situation itself. Which turned out to be totally the case, as I ended up getting a knot on my knee the size of an apricot by "going all in" to get to cover. But that's because I was playing the exercise like things were going bad for real. Like any training, you get more out of it when you commit to it because it's better to make the mistakes in training than in the real world.
What you think you'll learn at FACT training. Source: Foreign Service Problems
At various points during the training, stuff went bang and boom. Sometimes it was for our group, sometimes it was for other groups, but the background noise only added to the sense of urgency while we practiced our tactical medical skills in classroom. My proudest moment during training came when a Green Beret medic complimented me on the stump bandage I applied to the severed leg of a mannequin. Obviously, it's a lot easier when the patient isn't screaming in pain and pumping out blood. Hopefully, if I have to do it for real, the training will kick in and I'll be able to focus on the task at hand.

Overall, the training reminded me of various other experiences that I had in the military, from annual Air Force Self-Aid & Buddy Care training to the Air Force Special Operations School's Responsible Officer's Course, mixed in with my operational experiences in the command post in South Korea...plus tactical driving. The bumps, bruises, and general stiffness are also a good reminders that I am not, and never will be, Jason Bourne.

Eh, close enough.

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