It isn’t everyday that the FBI visits AWHS. But now and then, the visit is a good one for students and anyone who can drop by Ms. Kennedy’s Forensic class. FBI Special Agent Brian LeBlanc came prepared to share with Ms. Kennedy’s classes the experience of working in counter espionage, the experience of being a Bomb Technician and the value of setting goals and achieving them through tenacity and passion.
Brian achieved his career dream through careful considerations. How does one after touring the FBI Headquarters as a teenager and having a dream ignited, as Brian did, become an agent? The path Agent LeBlanc took was varied and demanding. He was a Marine for six years, a police officer for seven years, a college undergrad and graduate student and now an FBI agent in his twelfth year of service. It was after 9/11 that Agent LeBlanc knew that he wanted to work in counter-terrorism. Time spent in Afghanistan and Iraq, working with the military to collect evidence and to identify possible terrorists was an eye opener for Brian. Terrorists should be feared but the average Afghani “just wants to live their lives and most want Americans to be there.” Additionally, his counter-terrorism work involves determining which calls that the FBI receives – there are hundreds a day – that are “real threats, who the call should be directed to and how the call’s threat will be handled.”
If Brian’s FBI resume was not full enough, over time, he became interested in working with an explosives unit. After six weeks of explosive training, Brian shared the knowledge that “a bomb is a weapon that requires a technician to examine crime scenes gathering evidence that leads to knowing “motive, opportunity and means ….in other words, who placed the bomb, who made the bomb and who were the intended victims.” With students, Agent LeBlanc reviewed, in the classroom, explosive material from low explosive to high explosives. Students were then directed to the parking lot. LeBlanc’s truck was waiting. The truck was not the truck sitting in your driveway. It was a vehicle packed to gather evidence and to meet an explosive head on. Students were given the opportunity to suit up as an explosive technician and literally walk in the shoes of a bomb expert. It wasn’t easy. It was, however, a time of appreciation for the work of the brave men and women who do this perilous work; who put the well-being of their fellow citizens as the paramount call. Teacher Olivia Kennedy was delighted that the presentation achieved its purpose to “give students an up close view of the life and work of a bomb technician.”
Agent LeBlanc did not just talk the science of explosives but gave students that model of having a dream and pursuing it. Brian LeBlanc does dangerous work, selfless work and wakes up everyday “doing exactly what I wanted to do.”