In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Blake speaks with Kelvin Garvanne about his life as an Arabic/Iraqi role player who took training U.S. ground troops to a whole new level — even conducting mock kidnapping scenarios.
During these training drills, Marines are "killed" (taken out of play for a period of time) or held hostage by the role players if they're caught off on their own.
"We kidnapped Marines," Mr. Garvanne explains. "One of the things we wanted to do in real time was capture a Marine."
Kelvin Garvanne teaches these Marines cultural immersion. The Leathernecks learn about Afghan culture and customs from the experts.
Before U.S. forces deploy to a foreign region like Afghanistan, pre-deployment training is conducted in environments similar to the terrain in which they'll be exposed.
Since the landscape and elevation of 29 Palms almost mirrors that of Afghanistan, Marines are sent there to partake in Mohave Viper — an intense, five-week long training course. The Marines live there for the scenarios and receive cultural training from experts — immersing themselves in war games against native speaking role players for an all-out showdown.
A bird's eye view of the largest MOUT town in Marine Corps Base 29 Palms.
These highly supervised training scenarios are considered the best exercises troops can receive as they live in enormous MOUT (military operation urban terrain) areas built to reflect life in Afghanistan.
Guest: Kelvin Garvanne, Consultant Human Factor Analysis
Kelvin Garvanne attended the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He is an Emmy award-winning creative artist who is fascinated by the world and enjoys investigating the context of national and world events.
Garvanne is a native New Yorker who has lived in Washington, D.C., Bogota, Colombia, Madrid, Spain, and Los Angeles, California. He has traveled through several countries including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Panama, Mexico, and Haiti.
For the last nine years, he provided Islamic culture and Iraqi and Pashto language training to military and civilian personnel deploying overseas.
Garvanne continues to develop opportunities to advise and train military and civilians positioned in careers involving global service. He also develops creative projects to expose the human condition.
For more about Kelvin Garvanne:
- Global Education & Training: Investigating the context of global issues
- Diety Alphabets: A collection of poems for the homeless
- Kelvin Garvanne's IMDb profile