Role players are an essential element for troops preparing to travel overseas and face-off with the enemy. They provide a cultural boost by immersing troops in the violent world they're about to deploy to.
They submerge themselves into training scenarios like mock firefights, ambushes, and suicide bombings — all for the benefit of troops heading to combat.
Some role players themselves are refugees turned Hollywood actors.
A Marine subdues a role player while practicing search procedures.
In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Blake talks with Kelvin Garvanne about his life as an Arabic/Iraqi role player for U.S. ground troops heading into combat.
For the last nine years, Garvanne has provided Islamic culture and language training to military and civilian personnel deploying overseas.
"A role player is basically there to interact with the battalion's training," Garvanne explains. "There are different levels on how you can interact. We were all characterized as 'meat puppets' which were basically folks who were just there to do whatever was told of us to do. "
These role players have a friendly interaction with a U.S. Marine.
These mock firefights consist of loud gunfire (blanks), firework explosions and a Hollywood makeup team to create realistic blood and guts.
Cpl. Adam N. Meier, a role player, beaten and taken hostage during anti-terrorism training exercise. (Source II MEF)
Guest: Kelvin Garvanne, Consultant Human Factor Analysis
Kelvin Garvanne attended the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He is an Emmy award creative artist who is fascinated by the world and enjoys investigating the context of national and world events.
Mr. Garvanne is a native New Yorker who has lived in Washington D.C., Bogota, Colombia, Madrid, Spain, and Los Angeles, CA. 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.
Mr. 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
- Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran and Managing Editor
- Tim Kirkpatrick: Navy veteran and Editorial Coordinator
- Orvelin Valle (AKA O.V.): Navy veteran and Podcast Producer