IRAQ: Hostile Environment Training: Prepping for Kidnap

Donald is a man who makes you feel safe. With his clipped hair and speech, he exudes military training. He’s spent his career in risk management. So when he joined Miles, the journalist from a major newspaper, and me for a post-training drink and warned us about what might happen that night, we listened. Donald overheard 2 of our trainers at the front desk discussing with the hotel clerk how our electronic room keys could be overridden. (Since our instructors are former British Special Forces, this may have been a set-up, it occurred to me later.) Nevertheless, we 3 students conspired how we might thwart our instructors and avoid a potential kidnapping scenario. We toyed with changing rooms in order to throw off our “kidnappers.” (Certainly anyone expecting me would be surprised by Donald!) We discussed code words that we’d use to establish “proof of life.” We each decided to sleep clothed. (Well, I decided to. Apparently, announcing earlier that afternoon that I was traveling sans pajamas didn’t seem to be the deterrent I’d expected! I later learned Donald slept in his socks so he could slide along the carpeted hallway and trip an assailant making off with Miles or me.) Donald checked our door locks to be sure the card-keys wouldn’t open a door that was double-locked. (I was shocked to learn the guys didn’t automatically do that. I always double-lock my hotel door – no matter what country I am

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nonplussed “Scuzzi!” to my full monty, I double-lock every time.) I went a step further and used my local connections. By now, I’d befriended the bartender and hit her up for a bag of empty beer bottles. I lined them up on the sill on the inside of the curtain of my first-floor window to act as an “alarm” and slept with a beer bottle on my nightstand to use as a weapon if I were coherent enough to react. The room smelled like a stale beer hall and I’m sure the housekeeper appreciated my efforts. While the instructors gave me points for ingenuity, they demerited me for standing out; at dinner the next evening, the bartender asked me if I wanted a glass of chardonnay – or (cue proper British accent) “did I prefer all the empties?” The morning after our potential kidnapping scenario, the guys rushed to my room when I was 3 minutes late for our morning session, wondering if

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I’d been kidnapped. I claimed I was just varying my schedule as we’d been taught… [Please note: In order to protect privacy, the names of the other participants have been changed.]

One Response to “IRAQ: Hostile Environment Training: Prepping for Kidnap”

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  1. LOL! That’s my girl!