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Wednesday, March 17

7 March 04

Today we completed Base Operations training. In this training we learned how to secure a small base for operations. This included things like running an Entry Control Point, defending the perimeter, use of a quick reaction force, and how to call for medical evacuation. They threw many scenarios at us while we ran the base. Several times we came under sniper fire. In this situation we'd take cover, treat casualties, attempt to locate the sniper, and send the quick reaction force after the sniper if we did spot him.

At other times local civilians would approach our perimeter or gates with weapons-- which is not uncommon in Afghanistan. The learning point here is not to over-react and escalate the situation. Just because they have an AK-47 doesn't make them bad people, just about every man over there carries one around. We do have to pay close attention to them, though. If they are acting suspiciously, like they're studying our defenses for vulnerabilities, we can either detain them ourselves or have the local police detain them for questioning.

At the Entry Control Point we'd check occupants of the vehicles for they're identification and the nature of business and turn them away if anything didn't jive. If it looked OK, we'd wave them on to the next station where they would get out of the vehicle. The passengers would be escorted to a personnel search area. The driver would open anything we wanted to search in or on the vehicle, after he was searched. We'd confiscate any weapons and arrange an escort for any non-US nationals that had business on base. We did a pretty thorough job overall, but they did sneak a pipe bomb through and blew the Command Post up... with me in it!

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