I have been pounded recently by requests from Facebook, and a couple of other sources, by requests from various people wanting to know how they can become involved in the world of protection/security. Most are looking for that “silver bullet” that will rocket them to the top of the EP world in one fell swoop. I try constantly to educate them that this short cut is very, very hard to accomplish. A few have done it, based off of their connections in certain industries, but most do not. There really is no shortcut; there is no silver bullet, only hard work, long hours and a LOT of money invested in training and equipment. It takes YEARS to develop the skill and mindset to qualify you to properly perform this work. Think long and hard before you decide that this is what you want to do for a living. It can be a very stressful way to make a living.
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On to the point. I just recently performed a 2 day assignment for a friend of a friend. For those aspiring people that would like to get involved in the industry, I will share “a day in the life” with you. This is a no holds barred description and timeline of a typical 2 day assignment. No glitz, no glam…just a rock hard description of the type of work you are getting yourself into. I myself, I love it…always have. However I warn you, this work is not for the weak of heart, mind, body or spirit. What follows is a 40 hour plus, non-stop roller coaster ride, with zero sleep. To those of you that may think this would be easy…I challenge you to try it, staying awake that long. And remember, you will be performing it sans any stress at all.
This is a long read. Think so? You should try DOING it…
BTW, all information shared here is open source material. No OPSEC information with-in the assignment has been compromised.
Client: The Cleopatra Exhibit, along with 2 principles.
Objective: Guarantee safe transport of two Egyptian Nationals and approximately 300 million dollars worth of Egyptian artifacts (3 tractor and trailers) from current venue in Philadelphia, PA to new venue in Cincinnati, OH.
My Position: ATL, team medic.
Special Equipment: Motorola radios, personal handguns, 1 x long gun-Bushmaster M-4, 1 x shotgun-Mossberg 500, medical gear, GPS.
Timeline: Trucks and PAX MUST arrive at new venue by 0800 of day 2. A press conference is scheduled for 0900 and the one 5,000 pound statue must be uncrated by then so as to be used as a center piece for the cameras. Contractual clause states payment will not be rendered to security company should failure of timeline occur. At no time is any one truck to be separated, either all arrive or all do not. No truck is to be opened at any time by anyone other than the two Egyptians. To do so would cause the curse of 1,000 years and so on… (Rolls eyes.)
My Earnings: $1,000 US dollars, pre tax.
Day 1 (This is all day one as you have to sleep in order for it to count as two days)
0800: Meet with the team to discuss overall plan of operation, routes, comms, etc.
0845: Team splits to accomplish pickup of rental vehicles and inspect loaded trucks at storage location. Sub-Team 1 will pick up clients; Sub-Team 2 will take possession of trucks, check seals, secure and stage trucks for movement. Sub-Team 3 accompanies Team 1.
1000: Sub-Teams meet at storage facility, enter order of march, confirm discussion from earlier meeting. One of the Egyptian Nationals is sick, vomiting and diarrhea. Neither speaks much English and no interpreter has been assigned by the client. This information was never discussed prior to jump-off time. Egyptian National insists on making the trip anyway. Being the team medic, I dispense over the counter meds and some Flagyl to help control the sickness.
1045: Convoy departs Philadelphia for Cincinnati, timeline allows for transit time, including stops and fueling of 14-16 hours, which should put us into Cincinnati well ahead of schedule.
1200: The sick Egyptian needs to stop for a bathroom break. I administer 2 more Imodium to try to stop the diarrhea. Team 2 vehicle (client team) smells like a bad sewer. All chase vehicles refuel since the opportunity presents itself.
1600: Proximity Pittsburg, PA fuel/bathroom stop in major route truck stop. Light snow has begun to fall. One of the drivers of the trucks now decides to pull his truck onto the “free” scale at the truck stop. Up to this point we had not hit a weigh station. Driver informs TL that his vehicle is +- 2,000 pounds above the maximum allowed for his wheelbase. This is a major issue as there are a number of state weigh stations between us and the destination, where the trucks are required to stop, enforced by State Police. This truck will not be allowed to continue if found to be over weight. Security is informed that we will be delayed until a resolution comes from the trucking company about how to proceed. I inquire about length of delay and am told we can not proceed until the green light is given by someone from the trucking company to accept liability. We move trucks and escort vehicles into a defensive posture. TL and truckers hold up with comms in one of the trucks, making numerous phone calls. I extricate my long gun from its case, brought for this very reason, and several jaws hit the street. (Fuck ‘em, it’s my ass.) After 2 hours of chatter and delays while the snow has continued to fall and accumulate, I go over to the “meeting truck” and pound on the door, climb up into the cab. More conversation and I finally convince the driver to continue. If we see an open weigh station, we will pull over, stop and deal with it then. Until then, we roll.
1830: Depart the truck stop.
2000: Approaching Wheeling, WV. The snow has increased from light to something else. Visibility is lowering, as is our speed. We are now traveling at an average of 40 MPH. The chase vehicles are 4WD but the TT trucks are carrying precious cargo, so the speed drop is critical and necessary. We are losing precious time, but still have plenty of time to complete the trip with a few hours to spare.
2130: Approaching the Ohio border, truck 3 calls out over the radio that he has a mechanical problem. Snow has continued and speed has dropped to 25 MPH. His alternator light has come on and his truck computer has dropped his power output to half to save the batteries. Truck 1 informs the convoy that there is a truck stop not far from where we are, and since truck 3 has a small internal generator, he should be able to make it.
2150: At the truck stop we lift the engine cover to find that the serpentine belt on the engine of truck 3 has broken. The broken belt whipped around and also took out the tension pulley. Not good. The truck can not go far without proper repair. Several phone calls are made and a repair shop is open within 4 miles of our current position. They however do not have the parts. The parts will be have to be brought in from another location. This truck is the climatically controlled truck of the 3 and the seals of this truck can not be broken in an uncontrolled environment, so calling another truck to transfer the cargo is not possible. We load up and drive to the repair shop. Good news is the sick Egyptian principle is feeling much better. She wants to know where the “doctor” studied medicine. 🙂
2230: After arriving at the repair shop, truck 3 is pulled into the repair bay. The owner wanted to disconnect the tractor from the trailer so that the climate control generator fumes would not make the air in the shop foul. I was tasked with staying with the truck in the repair bay while the rest of the team set security outside. (Remember the long gun?) I told him to open a window. The repair guys were not happy with the fact that I was carrying a rifle in their shop. I told them to get over it and I guess they did.
2300: Parts arrive along with a mechanic that is a specialist with this kind of work. He can not give me a timeline for the repair. I ask him to please hurry.
2345: The mechanic informs me that the shop will be closing at midnight and he does not know if the repair will be completed by then. I tell the mechanic’s helper to go and find the shop owner, and call the TL on the radio and ask her to come inside. With all players there, I inform the TL of the problem. She asks me what I think and I state that I think the shop will be extending hours for the evening. The shop owner agrees. (I sincerely believe this had everything to do with the fact that I had an M-4 slung over my shoulder.)
0030: Repair complete. Per the TL’s orders I flip the owner of the shop a hundred bucks and the mechanic fifty for being good sports. The next obstacle will be the weigh stations.
0045: Order of march is resumed. Snow continues to fall heavily and roads are becoming covered and slick. Average speed is 35 to 40 MPH and we are still some 200 miles from the destination. Luckily for us the weigh station that caused the earlier concern is closed due to the crappy weather. We roll by without incident.
0245: Approximately 100 miles from destination we stop at yet another truck stop for fuel and coffee. Snow continues to dog us and everyone is a bit irritable and tired. We have been switching off drivers, but the contract calls for 100% alert, so no one has slept.
0315: Back on the road. Visibility and road conditions have continued to deteriorate. Lead truck driver is considering calling the roads to hazardous to continue. The TL calls him on the radio and tells him this is unacceptable and we need to continue even if at 25 MPH.
0415: Like magic, the snow suddenly stops. 5 miles further up the road, there is not even any sign of the snow. Ohio is a weird place. We push to 70 MPH and start to make some time. I am driving and tired and beginning to see ninjas with poison dart blowguns peering out from the bushes on the side of the road.
0630: Arrive at the venue with 1 and a half hours to spare. That’s right, we bad. Despite the need to overcome a number of obstacles…success.
0730: Trucks are staged at the loading docks. Local union workers begin unloading the first of the 3 trucks.
0800: Press and television crews begin to arrive. They are filming the unloading and set up process for the statue. Our team is asked to help with securing the area and checking entry credentials, since this is a private event.
0900: The press conference begins.
1100: Press conference runs overtime. Unloading of the trucks begin. This process is incredibly slow as the Egyptians insist on touching every crate as it comes out of the trucks, then mumbling a few words. This is compounded by the fact that every piece of the display is considered “priceless” and must be handled with utmost care. We are contractually bound to supervise the unloading process.
1500: Unloading is complete. We say our goodbyes and head to Daton airport to catch a 1700 flight back to Philly. Downtown traffic is bad and we are delayed enough to miss our flight. After an hour at the airline counter, we are finally put on a flight to Philly via Newark. We have very little time between flights, and we are all traveling with weapons in Pelican cases. If we miss the connector in Newark, out weapons will be on the baggage carousel unattended in Philly.
1935: Depart Daton.
2050: Arrive Newark.
2150: Depart Newark.
2230: Arrive Philadelphia.
2245: Wife and son arrive at the airport to pick me up.
0000: After a shower and a stiff Jack Daniel’s (hey I fucking earned it), off to bed. I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. Seriously.
Thank you Tony for promoting articles and conversations that cover subjects that don’t only discuss killing giraffes with ones bare hands. Once the gimmick seekers realize the realities of working in this industry, the herd may be thinned and the true practitioners will likely survive. Great job Dave!!
Proving once again what can go wrong will, and thats why ‘you’ make the big money!
But seriosu;y over weight vehicles are indeed a legitimate security consideration especially in inclement weather like snow and icing conditions, and bouncing out of a vehicle brandishing a long gun does not add to the discreetness of the movement to say nothing of pontential criminal charges for transportaion of firearms?
Which gets back to whether not the security proffessionals are fully licnesed and compliant as well as coversant in these regards?
Agree with Stewart above. This article seems to be a better example of what NOT to do, than what a ‘typical’ day should be for an EP professional. It’s a great example of what appears to be purely reactive thinking, rather than being proactive and planning for contingencies before they occur. I seem to recall some saying with a bunch of P’s in it.. Something about prior planning prevents something or other.