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Reality Bomb – Authenticity Check

thinking manThis past week we completed a 7 man close-in detail where I incorporated two [2] aspiring specialists to get a taste of what I talk about all the time – “The next level of Executive Protection”. I chose them specifically because of their humility to learn and yet enough room for the REALITY BOMB to hit.

From the onset when I chose the team I blind copied the entire team on every email for two [2] months prior to going HOT to alleviate chatter among them trying to figure out what and who was doing what. For me, this is an essential administrative tactic to alleviate the “Good Idea Fairy” from creeping in. Total knowledge of the team was only afforded to the tactical commander, the shift leader and myself.

Day – 1: The entire team met where I introduced everyone and went over administrative instructions on meal allowances, receipts, other responsibilities and pre-assigned protective advance work for the week. They were then sent out to advance the first 2 days of the detail and return that night for a team meeting. You could see visible nervousness on the faces of the two [2] neophytes but they were reassured that no one would let them fail. Part of the anxiety was that 3 of the team members were former active duty Marines, one of which [call-sign Blue Cheese] was Force Recon who just returned from overseas. Before we broke the meeting I told everyone that by the end of the week they would have worked every position on the detail AND that at a moments notice I would assign them to the body man or detail leader position. “Be ready or be sat down.”One of the Neos stated that he had not been in a meeting like this before. The last thing I went over was chain of command. I emphasized and re-emphasized, “DO NOT CALL ME FIRST”.

Day – 2 and 3 : Full day of continued advance work followed by a team meal and team meeting. At the end of Day 3 we discussed the entire movement schedule of Day 1 with each site briefing.

Day – 4 : All stations posted at 0630 and ready for a 0700 departure, however at 0500 or so I got a text from one of the neophyte specialists that he broke one of the battle flags [To hell with your chain of command Eric]. I sent a group text that he had broken battle flag “Royal” and that we would switch to “Pearl”. Five minutes later I receive an additional text from the other neophyte specialists that he broke battle flag ‘Pearl”. Immediately call-sign Blue Cheese contacted them and chewed some a$$ about breaking chain of command. The day was starting with stress on the newbies.

The day was filled with schedule changes and countless OTR [off the record] movements. By mid-day I could see the “Oh My God” look from time to time on the faces of the Neo’s but I had already instructed the junior and senior team members to mentor them along the way. If you have never worked a close-in detail where the shift lead is quarterbacking the formation, it can be disconcerting even to the most “alleged” experienced specialist. The night ended on Day 4.

Day – 5 : All Stations posted at 0615 for a 0700 departure. Once again the day was chock full of foot and motorcade movements. The neophytes got a front seat look at how you manage drivers – especially non-security trained drivers. At the end of the night we were scheduled for our daily hot-wash. As the junior and senior team put the principal to bed we arrived at our normal team meeting place only to find one of the Neo’s in full REM sleep. I threw my 5.11 MOAB bag at him. His response was sluggish but when he finally opened his eyes he was greeted with three [3] Marines giving him the business. It was a hilarious way to end the evening but one that was NOT forgotten. By this point of the week, the wear and tear of this new experience started to show. By this point both newbies were sniffing and congested. Bodies were starting to break down. Early days and late nights will make you “Go places” within yourself that you have never visited. If you don’t know how to push through that you will break down. High lite of the day was the chance for the newbies to see how we interact and work inside the protective bubble of an Official Protection team. The government official came in a full motorcade package with CAT element.

Day – 6 : Today was critical for BPI Security and all involved. We had to split the team from a request of the Principal to cover highly visible high profile At-Risk individual who was scheduled to speak. That left me with four [4] while placing two [2] on the visitor. A separate call-sign was assigned to that detail and they left to get their principal. I informed the rest of the team the night before so that everyone would know that we would have two [2] calls-signs working. The day ended on a funny note. On a departure one of the specialist had a major equipment failure. He split his pants!!!! Call-sign Ice reacted quickly, “GET OUT….GET OUT” and replaced the ripped suit specialist with the site specialist. The night ended late with a laugh. Force Recon Marine…..call-sign Blue Cheese, with a straight look, gave the ripped suit specialist an alias call-sign “BLOW OUT”!!!! We hit the floor, Prior to departing we went over the last day’s schedule which was to start with a 0700 walk. I assigned the two [2] newbies and Blue Cheese to do the 3.5 mile walk with me.  On a personal note I do not make any specialist perform any duties that I do NOT or have NOT performed myself.  I personally do NOT think that from an operational nor perception perspective that me or any Detail Leader should be paralleling the formation in the victor.

Day – 7 : For the new guys that are afforded to work this specific yearly detail, this is their DEATH MARCH because after the walk there is still at least another 14 hours left in the day. For every new specialist that has worked this detail, the last day is the REALITY BOMB of what we do and the AUTHENTICITY CHECK of how experienced you think you are. The night ended about 2300 hours with one last hot-wash.

Due to my non-disclosure and to alleviate nosey busy bodies in the industry from calling these new specialists [because they know better than to call me] I will leave the real names of “BLOW OUT” and new assigned call-sign “BOJANGLES” out of the conversation. One thing is for sure, they have a new outlook on the CRAFT and if they are honest with themselves, they will tell you, ” I actually did executive protection for a week.”

5 comments

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  1. MJ

    Great story and even better learning for the newbies. Well done as always. Some people talk about mentoring others actually do it!

  2. Rodney Noel

    Wow, thanks for this insight.

  3. Andre Glenn

    Thank you, For sharing this wonderful experience, this happens all the time and it really makes me wonderful 2 things . 1. Who trained you and 2. Where you sleep in class. As i always say the devil is in the details. peace my brother

  4. Leon Adams

    Thanks for the look from the inside Eric. Looking forward to training/working with you in the future. Stay safe!
    Leon

  5. Goldie

    I can honestly say that the experience I received from being around your whole team this year, and last year and then receiving the training from your team puts in perspective that if you surround yourself with a 1st class team, you can become a 1st class professional and provide a first class service.

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