CDP, Day 1.

"Well, good morning, everyone."

The question, usually answered with first-day mumbles, was instantly blasted out of the air by a resounding "Good morning, sir!"

Yes, our recruit class is here, and we've made our presence known. I think we've scared the remaining nineteen in our class of 60, perhaps by sheer numbers alone. However, it is beneficial (you'd agree if you knew us) that everything at the CDP is planned down to the minute. For example, breakfast is at 0530. From 0755 to 0800, the bus is loaded. It arrives at 0805, and we're to be seated in the classroom at 0815. 

The facility itself is rather large, with lecture halls and scenario rooms lining the hallways of the two story structure. We spent the entirety of today in one room, engaging in 2-hour classes until our dismissal at 1700 hrs.

The cadre of instructors we had today had some pretty impressive credentials: a helicopter pilot shot down several times in Vietnam; the recipient of a Doctorate degree with a thesis on The Terrorist Mind; a military consultant who hunted terrorists throughout Germany in the 1970's. 

That was all the same guy.

The rest were no less impressive, with a few ex-Army chaps with decades-long NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) operative and instruction records. 

I would additionally like to add to the record that hearing a man with a thick Alabama drawl rattle off phrases like "portable isotopic neutron spectrology" and "the criticality of the radioisotope" is extremely entertaining (he was the chief physicist of the protection engineer of the Army's Radiological Facility that used to be housed right around Anniston before it closed). So: imagine if your grandfather was 1) Ron White's twin brother, 2) a great storyteller, and 3) a fucking rocket scientist.

With every new topic (from chemical hazards to terrorist mindset), we found our recruit class discussing D.C.'s weaknesses and how terrorists might infiltrate our fine city. What tools could they use to do it? How could they do they most harm to the most amount of people, using the fewest materials? It was kind of creepy initially; but we realized that in order to combat their efforts, you have to think like they do in order to mount a decent response.

It's some pretty serious stuff—but while some of us have had classes before in WMD/Terrorism Response topics, I doubt that any prior class can hold a candle to the depth and breadth of instruction we'll be receiving this week.

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Alex Capece

Washington, D.C. Firefighter and Paramedic

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