MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The sun bears down on the group, all donned in their protective gear, as they wait. Unmoving, unwavering and unyielding they wait. Suddenly the command rings out, “Ten steps forward!” and as a whole, they sound off repeating the call, “Ten steps forward!”, but still they wait. Finally the command is called, “MOVE!” and the unit begins its mission to quell the rioting crowd.
Platoon sized riot control requires unit cohesion, familiarity with non-lethal weapons’ systems and an understanding of the proper procedures used to safely administer non-lethal munitions and techniques in a hostile environment. In order to gain these, the ground combat element of the Security Cooperation Task Force, Africa Partnership Station 2012 is continuing on its second week of training during the two-week-long non-lethal weapons and tactics training course aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 24.
The second week of the Non Lethal Weapons and Tactics training kicked off with a live fire range, during which the group familiarized themselves with the various non-lethal weapons they would be using throughout the rest of their training.
“The live fire exercises were great,” said 2nd Lt. Jordan Miller, platoon commander of the rifle platoon, APS-12. “The Marines had a lot of fun with it. They enjoyed getting away from walking around in formations and getting OC sprayed.”
The second week of training builds on the techniques and fundamentals the group learned during its first week of training, which consisted of earning their OC certification as well as gaining a basic knowledge of the munitions, weapon systems, tactics, procedures, and hand-to-hand compliance techniques.
“The training so far has been very good,” said Cpl. Brandon Noel, assistant section leader with the assault amphibious vehicle platoon, APS-12. “The OC spray was a challenge for me, but the take downs and moves we learned for the course have been useful during the training we’re doing now.”
At the conclusion of the two weeks of training, the group will be evaluated during a final exercise, where they must demonstrate their comprehension and ability to properly use their new non-lethal capabilities.
“Their deployment will essentially be a mentorship for other nations’ militaries in Africa,” said Staff Sgt. Travis Sheldon, non-lethal weapons instructor with Special Operations Training Group, “during which they are expected to teach these very techniques, procedures and tactics to their host country.”
Having the non-lethal capabilities during their deployment also ensures APS will be able to handle any hostile situation, should one arise. With this in mind the group continues its training and prepares for the upcoming final exercise.
“They’re doing good,” said Sheldon. “They’re still learning with the crawl, walk and then run method, so they’re still getting used to everything, but they’re progressing quite nicely.”