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Personal Narrative: Working With The Military

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The next week was PRT training where we learned about life on the PRT, how to work with the military, how to interact with our Iraqi interlocutors and life in general on a FOB (Forward Operating Base), where I was headed or at the Embassy. There were basic intros into many of the players in Iraq providing assistance, USAID, Department of State efforts, and some of the many projects being undertaken.
My most memorable part of that week was the presentation by Colonel Staats, who gave a true and honest assessment of what it would be like working with the military and trying as civilians to understand their mindset. Since most of the military leadership we were going to be interacting with were on a short term, one year, rotation, their focus was on getting things done in one year. More on why this lead philosophy lead to our failure to accomplish much in
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We had been advised not to drink the night before the training as the driving was going to be fast, a lot of swerving, maneuvering and spinning. Obviously, alcohol would only contribute to any vertigo or disorientation you would experience. Several of the RSO (Regional Security Office) agents in the class asked me to join them in the bar...not something I could refuse and something I think I would regret! We got on the bus the next morning headed to the Bobby Scott Raceway in West "By God" Virginia, where we were met and given an orientation to the events for the next few days. We would split up into groups of three and each group would ride with an instructor in a Crown Vic. There was a trick question asked first regarding if anyone in the group had never driven a car and one arm shot up. I made sure I did not ride with that person. We learned about evasive maneuvers, how to avoid roadblocks, what to look for etc. and then we were given our helmets, our instructor and a very fast Crown
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