Those PSD Teams – August ’06

I’d been in-country only 3 days when I wrote this account of my first contact with the PSD teams …

August 2006

My first trip with a PSD team today. When I show up at the rendezvous site in back of the office, eight men are milling around the trucks. They’re toting M4s, with Glock pistols strapped to a leg or vest. A fifty cal machine gun is mounted in the convoy’s trailing vehicle, the gun truck.

The team lead introduces himself as Daz. His thick Welsh accent is difficult to understand until I quit trying so hard. He explains that the teams drive Chevy Suburbans, Toyota Land Cruisers or Ford Expeditions. Today we’ll be in Land Cruisers kitted with B6 armor, which will stop bullets and protect from improvised explosive device (IED) blasts if they don’t hit a weak spot. (I didn’t ask.) The armor is not effective in stopping attacks by rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) or explosive force penetrators (EFPs).

Each truck is equipped with a radio and GPS unit. Distributed within the three trucks are one or two trauma medical kits (med kits), a satellite telephone (sat phone), jacks for changing tires, tow-ropes, shovels, various wrenches and other mechanic’s tools, extra ammunition, bottles of water, coolers with lunch food, spare tires, and other odd necessitities.

Each PSD team member wears an armored vest littered with pockets, strips of Velcro, and loops to hold ammo and gear. One pocket is dedicated to a hand-held radio trailing a mic/speaker cord to the man’s ear for communication with the rest of the team while outside a vehicle. Other pockets contain extra magazines of ammo and extra batteries for the hand-held radio, perhaps knives, chapstick, cell phones, sunglasses or ballistic goggles, a notebook, pens, and other small items.

Principals or clients travel in the middle vehicle, sandwiched between the lead and the gun truck for that added security. Most principals prefer the Ford Expeditions for the leg room. Daz quips that he prefers Land Cruisers.

If you have to go off-road they handle well in sand, and although there’s quite a bit less space inside, that only means that if something happens, bodies don’t get thrown around quite so much.

He grins.

I laugh – I can’t help it!


We were traveling in a Land Cruiser fifteen months later when we were hit, and none of us were thrown around much, so there you have it … could have been a real mess in an Expedition!  🙂




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