Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Doing What It Takes

Cameraman working hard to get "the shot", I think :)

I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is still working as a contractor on a PSD. He was recently involved in a major contact that killed one of his team and wounded several others. As the medic on the scene, he worked on the causalities for 90 minutes until a MEDEVAC finally arrived. In the end, he wondered what more he could have done. During the course of the discussion my friend lamented to me that many in this industry are under-trained, over-egoed, and far more concerned about looking like a miniaturized action figure than actually doing what it takes to become one.

The only thing that separates the real cool guys from the Wal-Mart ninjas of this world is.... training. There is nothing special about the SPECAT, "been-there-done-that", real-deal other than the fact that he's trained his ass off and continues to do so. It's like a professional athlete; those are the guys in the gym or on the field, all by themselves after the crowds have gone home and the lights have been extinguished, working over and over on basic skills. Do you think Tiger Woods got to where he is by putting on a Nike cap and and picking up the latest in carbon-fiber, high-tech clubs? Hell, Tiger could wipe the course with most people with just a Wal-Mart putter and a Putt-Putt golf ball. He's not on-line shopping for the latest cool sunglasses, or hanging out in the club house telling "there I was" stories, he's off by himself on the driving range hitting balls by the tens of thousands... boring stuff, but that's what it takes.

I'm sorry if I sound too critical of security contractors, but the fact is that the vast majority of them working around the world are criminally under-trained, if at all. They spend their efforts trying to look and speak the part, and hoping like hell that nothing happens to them. Clients, for the most part can't tell the difference. In the end, it's the clients that pay the price for ignorance, putting their faith and safety in the hands of some kid that looks like a Blackhawk poster boy, but has no idea of the vehicle dynamics of the multi-ton SUV that he's driving.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear of your friend's loss and experience. We hold him in prayer.

Homeless Diver said...

I would have to say the only slackers I ever saw were the DC influx into Baghdad in 2004 and early 05'. They were hiring anyone that had just been deployed with the Marines - one guy was a USMC reservist with a full time job as mall security. Wholly fatbody and did a single stan tour. Got picked up by DC and couldnt chase down a donut. They lost almost all of that contract and now only seem to have a few peeps up north.

BW, on the other hand, always trained. A ton of cocksure types but well trained nonetheless. Continued training thru the weeks. DC only had 2 schedules....mission or beer-thirty.

My favorites were the south africans and the lebanese in 04'. Those guys didnt give a damn. They had to be told repeatedly that they were not hunters...hehe.

USIS was a really professional, yet small, group that I liked. There were a number of smaller ones that had RSO contracts that were solid guys.

By far, I think the Brit outfits were overall the most stable of the large PMC's. Aegis was a nice outfit with qualified peeps that finally got everyone vetted.

CRG was an excellent group I had the privilege to work and live beside. I would work for them in a heartbeat if they would take me.

I only have central and northern Iraq to compare against so I can only say that I saw the slackers back in the early days...seemes to have squared itself away for the most part since then.
But every now and then, yea, I have to admit running into some people who look like 5.11 models.