Wackenhut Training Pytrotechnics


Because of my work in special effects for movies, I was approached by Wackenhut Security Corporation to provide special effects pyrotechnic devices for training security personnel. Wackenhut had a contract with the U.S. Government to provide the caliber of training that our secret service received. I was to put together safe but scary realistic explosive devices for close proximity encounters. The devices I developed where; a prosthetic pregnancy unit with built in hidden explosive vest for a female suicide bomber (instructor, portrayer) and three roadside IED’s.

The trainee’s were all foreign nationals elite body guards from mid east and Arab nations. After a week of class room instructions and drills the Wackenhut instructors would spend a week with them in the field conducting exercises and drills. All of these drills took place in and around down town Albuquerque except for the drills involving IED’s, these took place out side Albuquerque on a private car race track which is not an oval but convoluted.

After a refresher on what was going to happen the trainee’s are divided into groups of four or six depending on the number of trainee's and would be loaded into three black government looking SUV’s with the instructor playing the VIP they are to protect in the first SUV. They are instructed to drive safely around the track, along side the track on both sides are piles of tires, abandoned junk cars and general debris, As the cars make their first pass they are ambushed by masked gunman and must return fire (paint ball guns), three quarters of the way around the course I set off a road side IED disabling the first SUV.

The guards need to transfer the VIP safely to the second SUV and proceed to the destination, in this case the finish line for the race track. Upon completing the run they are critiqued and discuss the exercise. Then they run it again and the ambushers have all relocated to new sites and as soon as I set off the IED to disable the lead car I wait till the guards have the VIP out of the first car but not into the second yet, I set off another IED.

De-briefing over they run the exercise for the final time, ambushes are now in different places and this time one IED to disable the lead vehicle, one for the VIP transfer followed immediately by a third IED. When the exercise completed my self and my team are introduced to the trainee's as "movie special effects experts". We always received an enthusiastic applause from the trainee's

One of the outings is to a memorial in a public park. As the VIP is being escorted from his vehicle to the memorial he is approached by a pregnant person played by an off duty police woman. She is one of the people in the park, along with what ever local people are in the park that day. They are not told anything concerning what is about to happen. Her job is to get as close to the VIP as possible without being outed by the VIP’s security staff. As soon as she is “discovered” or gets as close as she can she detonates the pregnant prosthetic, spraying everyone in “range” with water. If you don’t get wet you “lived”. More times then not the security unit would not let her get close to the “VIP” and the “VIP” stayed dry.

I had an ATF (Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) “responsible person” helping me every time we did the car bombing as IED’s had to be loaded each time before each run and there were multiple "runs" for this part of the training. Gregg Stephens was my lead person and when he was not available I used Ron Meir or Geoffery Martin. All ATF approved.