Talking about the armored vehicles… I forgot to mention an interesting experience with one of those.  Our vehicles have diplomatic license plates to make us look and feel special.  They are either CD plates (Corps Diplomatic) or CM plates (Corps Maintenance).  All the Embassy vehicles have the CD plates, whereas those of us lower in the chain have CM.

So, the armored vehicles are CD plates.  But when these vehicles enter an area where the bad guys are thought to be, they do not want to advertise with the CD plates.  So, the Embassy or Consulate will exchange the plates with a regular automobile license plate to hide the fact it is a diplomatic vehicle.

One of the drivers told me a story about being stopped by the Trafic Policia.  The trooper approached the vehicle and the driver opened the 300 lb door and presented his drivers license and the vehicle’s registration.  The officer walked around to the back side of the vehicle and noticed the license plate did not match.  He radioed in and then told the driver, this license plate says it is a 1987 Lada (cheap Russian car).  The driver says, “Yeah.  We swapped it out.”  Then he reached in the back of the vehicle and handed the officer the original CD plates.

The Officer looked a little stunned, then asked, “Are you allowed to do that?”

The driver said, “Yeah!”

“Well ….  okay then.”  He handed the CD plates back, shook his head, got back in his car and drove off.  That was it.

Gotta love countries like this!      D.