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Crash Bang!

It has been an eventful week… I’m loving this class so far! For those of you not familiar with the class I’m taking, here’s the description from the State Department website:

FACT, Foreign Affairs Counter Threat: This course provides participants with the knowledge and skills to better prepare them for living and working in critical and high threat environments overseas. The course instructs participants in the practical skills necessary to recognize, avoid, and respond to potential terrorist threat situations. Participants will demonstrate the practical application of techniques taught in the course. Participants will learn how to conduct surveillance detection, aspects of Personnel Recovery, provide emergency medical care, demonstrate improvised explosive device (IED) awareness, participate in firearms familiarization, and perform defensive/counterterrorist driving maneuvers.

This class is affectionately known as the Crash Bang course. At the end of day three, we have done most of the things mentioned above, except for the driving, which will take place over the next two days. We’ve learned about personnel recovery and what to do if you are taken hostage. We also did some surveillance detection – working together really helps! Our time learning about emergency medical care was exciting and informative, as we administered basic trauma care on each other – in body armor and helmets, no less!

Today we were schooled on weapons, and as part of the familiarization, we shot a number of them. (This would be the Bang part of the course.) Some people looked very uncomfortable handling them. Some you could tell had a lot of experience with guns in the past. Someone told me I looked natural behind the gun – a combination of my stance, hat, sunglasses and fearlessness. 🙂 After the initial shot, I felt calm and focused, and was ready for more! I think everyone was most excited to shoot the AK-47; alas, not in the fully automatic mode – but fun nonetheless. All in all, a great afternoon, and now back at our hotel to get up at an ungodly hour tomorrow morning to learn and perform defensive/counterterrorist driving maneuvers. I imagine this will be just as exciting as the rest of the course, if not more so. (This of course would be the Crash part of the course.) Some people will be taking Dramamine – I expect I’ll be fine, since I don’t usually get motion sickness. Wish me luck!

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