Arming Marines With Know-How for Staying Alive

(Los Angeles Times) H.G. Reza - Los Angeles Police Det. Ralph Morten, 55, a member of the LAPD bomb squad, is among the nation's top experts on suicide bombings, a distinction he earned after being trained by Israeli police. Morten estimated that he has trained about 20,000 U.S. troops in how to survive suicide bombers and "improvised explosive devices," or IEDs, in Iraq. Lt. Col. Patrick Malay, director of the Special Operations Training Group for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, credited Morten's training for the low number of deaths from suicide bombers and IEDs suffered by his battalion in the fight for Fallouja. Morten has made four trips to Israel since 2002, gathering information each time that helped him put together a first responders' guide for the LAPD and a training bulletin, and learning new tactics against suicide bombers. Morten said the LAPD training manual calls for officers to look for suspicious characters and the unexpected. He cites the bombing at a Jerusalem pizza place in 2002, where a Palestinian who looked like a European tourist with spiked hair and a guitar blew himself up, killing 15. He was accompanied by a woman who had flowers in her hair and survived the attack. "They only have to be right once. We have to be right every time," Morten said.

2005-12-02 00:00:00

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