I run a private security firm where we charge $30,000 a day for hostage rescue missions — here's what my job is like

Adam Gonzales, a private security specialist, is the CEO of Hyperion Services.
His company is made up of ex-military personnel who serve as hostage rescuers and personal security guards.

According to Jenny Powers, a freelance writer, this is how his job looks.

This essay was based on an audio recording of a conversation with Adam Gonzales (a private hostage negotiator, security specialist). This essay has been edited to improve clarity and length.

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Growing up in Miller Beach (Indiana), I felt proud to be an American every time the national anthem was played at sporting events. At the age of 20 I was enlisted in Army and deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.

I was part of a six-man long-range surveillance team that parachuted onto enemy lines for surveillance and reconnaissance purposes. This took me four years to complete.

2004 was the year I switched to the private military sector. Former military personnel refer to me as a silent professional or corporate warrior, and that I outsource myself to the government for support and enhancement of US war efforts.

My first job as an Independent Contractor was at a relatively unknown military defense contracting company.

It was at the height of the Iraq War and I was sent to Baghdad to provide security for Ambassador Paul Bremer, US Presidential Envoy to Iraq.

The team consisted of 50 contractors and provided close support to helicopters with close air support.

Adam Gonzales, Iraq 2009 Adam Gonzales

I worked the night shift from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. After my shift ended, I fell asleep whenever I could. I also served as a door gunner for the Little Bird helicopters, which provided close air support to the ambassador.

2013 was the year I realized it was time for a normal life and a civil job.

Since I had spent most of my adult life abroad, I didn't have any American connections so I moved to Chicago as an apprentice electrician.

Every morning, I hated going to work. I would sit in my truck at work, stare out the window and think, "I don't belong here" and then cry.

After a year, I decided to use my military experience to make the shift to UHNW protection. I was no longer a security operative. Instead, I became the one-man show the driver, advance team, logistics manager and protector.

Nine out of ten kidnapping transactions are business transactions.

It's an easy way to make quick money for some. However, a small number of cases are not about money but rather honor or revenge. These cases are the most difficult because they involve the possibility of death.

I was assigned to a case in 2015 involving a woman in her 20s who had voluntarily joined a Central American cult but wanted to get out. She was being held against my will and I was hired by her to rescue her.

I was familiar with the country and had one person on the ground to collect information before I set out alone. To get into the compound, I made a cover story pretending to be interested in joining the cult and had an aircraft waiting on the ground.

My story was bought by a cult leader who invited me to his home and gave me the map of the country. He also gave me access to a computer lab and a swimming pool.

I downloaded information from the computer to share with my team outside. This included the floor plans for the compound. I also shared details from her childhood that I had learned from her family to discreetly identify myself to the kidnapped girl.

I claimed that the woman was ill and arranged for an outside source to come as an ambulance driver and take her out of the compound. She boarded her private plane and made it safely to home. From the moment I arrived to the rescue, it lasted for three days.

However, I had to stay in the compound for a few days more to avoid raising any red flags. I created another story about being forced to leave because of an emergency and promised to return. Instead, I went straight to a hotel where I spent the week relaxing in a hammock on a beach.

After leaving the military, it can be difficult to find meaning in your work. So I decided to help other vets.

Silent Professionals was launched in 2017 by me. It is a job board that allows military and law enforcement veterans to search for work in the private security and military industries. The site has assisted 10,000 veterans to transition into civilian life using their skills and background.

As our reputation grew, many wealthy people began to reach out to us with security concerns. In 2019, Hyperion Services was established, which is a global solutions security company powered by military-trained personnel.

Turnkey executive security is our main business. It costs $2,000 per day and includes lodging and meals as well as labor and weapons. Clients often sign a one-year contract and pay in full upfront.

We also offer hostage rescue starting from $30,000 per day with a one-month commitment as well as kidnapping prevention services and disaster response services.

Today, I reside south of DC in the Quantico area. My wife, who is also a veteran, has helped me to cope with PTSD for five years. It is difficult to trust people, and I often question everything. My spidey senses are activated when a new mailman arrives at our front door, or if the car behind me takes too many turns like me,

After witnessing atrocities and dealing with some of the most violent people on earth, I have a completely different perspective.

Sometimes I think about how my life would be if I had stayed as an electrical apprentice. But before I know it, my alarm clock rings and I'm back at work.

Editor's Note: This story contains some details that were anonymized in order to protect the identities and privacy of the individuals and companies.