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  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default 10 Notes for the Overseas Operator...or OCONUS Pirate

    Following the prior thread. When I left LE in 2001, many opportunities presented themselves outside the borders of the USA. Mostly south. Many were training, and others were................. Funny how some of this also fits into the prior thread, n'cest pas?

    1). Don't look like an American. Americans are the loudest, most slovenly dressed, self entitled people on earth. Go to an international airport and sit and watch and i will bet you can spot every single American...Canadians are a close second. Europeans also have their own look and mannerisms...so who do you want to look like? A local? Dress like they do!!

    2). Travel light...one carryon...non descript...nothing military...nothing questionable. Same for the luggage. Weapons? Procure them on site.

    3). Passports. Lose it...while at home I mean...and get a second one long before your trip. You didn't really lose it...and you won't use the lost one at the airport. But it will be the one you had to the oily hotel clerk when you check in. The real pass port never leaves your possession...even if you need to roll it up for a keister stash.

    4). Why is that...because we aren't talking about a vacay with the fam. We are talking about shitty places that you may need to escape from in a moment's notice. Along those lines always know the location of the embassy, and the airport...and the border.

    5). Holster selection. No holsters. You will carry either mexican or colombian. Mexican is strong side tucked in the belt, Colombian is appendix with no holster...my preference. Reason is that the situation may arise when you need to get rid of any item that would get you rolled up. Dropping a gat out of your belt into a planter is one thing. Dropping trou to divest yourself of the latest USA IDPA speed rig is another. Empty holster means...look around baby national policeman as a pistol is likely nearby. We aren't talking talking about legal carry here either...but you figured that one out.

    6). Language. Most professionals outside the USA speak a couple of languages at least. When I went to Italy to teach the Benelli and Beretta people, I had a year to prepare. So rather than showing up as the ugly arrogant yankee that expects everyone to speak english...I taught myself how to speak and teach in Italian. Not hard if you have the drive and professionalism.

    8). Have a clear and defined mission and mission plan. WTF are you doing there, WTF is the plan, how is success defined, who are your friends, and who are the bad guys...and WTF will everyone do if things go to shit? If you do not get clear answers to that, get back on the plane.

    9). Payment. Get paid up front. If not then at least 50% up front and the rest ASAP. And in dollars. I recall a time when I was paid in the local worthless currency and had to exchange several times in every airport so that I was not raining monopoly money when i landed in the USA.

    10). Once you have the "Command Presence" thing down, use it. I once walked into a bar to pay for fuel for the boat. The scene was something right out of an Indiana Jones movie and were all armed. The bar was the briefing site for the local police. Rather than be alarmed, I offered a nod, a hearty and in control, "Buenos Dias Caballeros", and concluded my business without haste. Act like you own the p;ace and people will tend to go along.
    Last edited by Gabriel Suarez; 04-30-2021 at 09:42 AM.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    South Texas
    Posts
    435
    Great topic indeed. Thanks Gabe. I like the passport suggestion.

    A realization I came to later on in my travels “down south” with regard to acquiring weapons:

    One doesn’t necessarily need to have a weapon on their person, if it can be quickly acquired from the nearby environment (i.e. a small, frail, inattentive, but ARMED security guard). Poorly trained, but ARMED security are very common in 3rd world marketplaces. So stay STRONG. And have a plan to overpower them quickly.

    And don’t discount the use of improvised weapons. That cutting knife at the taco stand... you get the idea...

    Be observant, and use your imagination. What was that saying about having a plan to kill everyone you meet?
    “This is no time for ease and comfort. It is the time to dare and endure.” - Churchill

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    394
    Its insane how far you can get with people if you can speak even a little of their own language. Foreigners (europeans) know that most americans only speak english. Most of the 'bi-lingual' ESL's dont speak spanish nearly as well as they think they do, btw. Learning a little local lingo earns a lot of points.

    I am white AF, but when I go to Mexico and on down, nobody really suspects me as american. My spanish is good, but my accent is better (thats the key, a good accent will make people think youre foreign language skills are mich better than they really may be). I tell people my name is Guillermo Gutierrez, or 'William' with a weirdo spanish accent. If you know what Im talking about, than yeah I purposefully mispronounce William.

    Works every time.

    I literally talked myself into the Mexican consolate in Seattle without even presenting an ID, once. Was there for about an hour before they asked me to leave, lol. They got a giant ass Mexican Eagle thing on the wall, I mean its YYUUUUUGGEE. Pretty cool.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Exiled in Texas
    Posts
    7,441
    This one I can get behind.

    I've never traveled with violent intentions. I'm just a tourist. But even as a tourist, there is an advantage to blending in. And Americans are generally terrible at it. Ditch the baseball caps, tennis shoes, and khaki pants. And stop being so damned loud.

    I've never had a gift with languages. I make sure to learn a few key phrases: Yes, No, Please, Thank you, Excuse me, Toilet, One of those. In addition to the words themselves, though, you have to learn how--or if--they are used. On the busy streets of Moscow, I knew how to say, "Excuse me," but it took me a while to figure out that Russians never do. I was actually highlighting myself, because Russians just bump one another out of the way without a word.

    Silence is a tool that few people ever learn to use. If you are approached by a shady-looking character who begins rattling off a stream of some foreign language that you don't understand, how do you react? The normal American response is to smile, show your hands, and say, "I'm sorry. I don't speak ______." The safer response is to drop a foot back into a bladed position, look around for his friends, then make eye contact again, and not say a damned thing. Chances are that he'll get frustrated and leave. This isn't the response for everyone, though. I'll smile at the abuelita who is trying to sell me her knitted or baked goods.

    Now, when one of you guys figures out how to get forged vaccine passports, please let me know. I don't want that shot, but I do want to travel again.
    Virtute et Armis

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by LawDog View Post
    Now, when one of you guys figures out how to get forged vaccine passports, please let me know. I don't want that shot, but I do want to travel again.
    True on languages. As an example. When I traveled to Italy some years ago with the Fam, we stayed in Luca. One of the Junior staff wanted a toy Templar soldier he saw in the window. So we sat at an outdoor cafe right next door and memorized how to greet the clerk and ask to buy it in Italian. The clerk picked up on all of it. So my ten year old son walked in and said the words.

    The clerk was so taken with that and the fact that I had learned the language and then shown my son how to make a purchase that we became good friends and he showed us some of the cool stuff to see in the area.

    On the Vax Passport. I haven't traveled OCONUS since before the DemPanic...but I know plenty that have. I have no desire to spend $10K to have to wear a stupid mask or play the Rona game on vacation so I have saved my points. Those that have relate varying degrees of fuckery...most of them dealing with entry into the USA or the UK. The vax has been given out in such a haphazard and disorganized way that it would be impossible to determine who has or has not actually gotten it. And there not being any state, much less government or international data base...good luck to anyone wanting to officialize anything.

    What has been happening are some sort of rapid test before you get on a CONUS bound flight. I am told they range from a swab (which is as reliable as Biden's memory), or a temp test. Since the airlines WANT YOUR MONEY rather than deny you boarding, I believe the results are loosely interpreted. Nobody that I have spoken with reports anyone denied boarding. They did need to wear the facial Burkha while at the airport.

    So simple solution is to have some Dayquil and Aspirin so if you do have a temp, pop some dope before leaving for the airport. And I do plan another Mexican trip later this year unless the USA stirs up the Rona soup for some political reason
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    763
    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel Suarez View Post
    So simple solution is to have some Dayquil and Aspirin so if you do have a temp, pop some dope before leaving for the airport. And I do plan another Mexican trip later this year unless the USA stirs up the Rona soup for some political reason
    Going to the Dominican Republic for my honeymoon in just over two weeks—storing this away in my memory for that purpose.

    Also, cool story on teaching your son how to ask to buy the soldier in Italian. That's the way to do it. I confess my Spanish won't be that great, when my lovely lady and I go to DR, but I do want to get my sister, who is fluent, to teach me a few important things.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    AR15ONA
    Posts
    401
    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel Suarez View Post
    Following the prior thread. When I left LE in 2001, many opportunities presented themselves outside the borders of the USA. Mostly south. Many were training, and others were................. Funny how some of this also fits into the prior thread, n'cest pas?

    1). Don't look like an American. Americans are the loudest, most slovenly dressed, self entitled people on earth. Go to an international airport and sit and watch and i will bet you can spot every single American...Canadians are a close second. Europeans also have their own look and mannerisms...so who do you want to look like? A local? Dress like they do!!

    10). Once you have the "Command Presence" thing down, use it. I once walked into a bar to pay for fuel for the boat. The scene was something right out of an Indiana Jones movie and were all armed. The bar was the briefing site for the local police. Rather than be alarmed, I offered a nod, a hearty and in control, "Buenos Dias Caballeros", and concluded my business without haste. Act like you own the p;ace and people will tend to go along.

    Good post, never thought of the passport tip.


    Some additional thoughts on 1 and 10: After learning about how to act like a local, check your demeanor. Most of us probably have a good command presence, but can we tone it down when it suits us?


    As Gabe said, best way to do this is studying body language.


    Funny story, when I traveled to Japan I was stopped multiple times by police.

    I was wasn't doing anything suspicious, ethnically I could pass as a native, same for language and etiquette. My problem was even though I was well-dressed, the dark clothing and my skidrow demeanor pegged me as Yakuza.

    Didn't learn this till much later, since then I've learned to control this.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    In a positive state of mind
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    4,040
    Pay attention to the little things that can give you away. Shoes, watches, etc. Look at what the locals are wearing and wear it if you don't want to stand out like a pair of dog's balls.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    east coast
    Posts
    448
    When traveling, always as a visitor/tourist, sometimes business, my attire matches the locals quite closely. Am fluent in Spanish, can adapt to almost any accent be it Mexican or Argentinian, igual en espana. Demeanor never an issue as always polite and professional. "Weapons" limited to locally procured knives and walking sticks plus other sundry items; though never had occasion to use them. Basically just enjoy the restaurants, museums, walking trails, and culture.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    507
    I always found it useful to have a “throw down” wallet. I’d carry a couple of those grocery store account cards or fake credit cards and about $20 in smaller bills so it would look more full. My real money and cards were split between my room and my front pockets.

    There are places (like Brazil) where It’s super easy to get ventilated by someone, even in nicer areas.

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