MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The rioters yell and scream as they hurl bricks, bottles and anything else they can find, including themselves. Despite the crowd's attempts to force through its foe, the shield protected riot-control platoon continues to drive back the mass of hostile role-players.
The riot-control platoon as well as the rioting crowd is made up of Marines and sailors from the ground combat element of Security Cooperation Task Force Africa Partnership Station 2012, undergoing the final exercise of the two-week-long Non-Lethal Weapons and Tactics training course held aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 26. The final exercise simulates the platoon being dropped off in a foreign country and then making its way through a hostile crowd to recapture an embassy.
"The Marines are doing well," said Staff Sgt. Timothy Judd, staff non-commissioned officer in charge for Special Operations Training Group, "today is testing their ability to complete the task they have been trained on for the past two weeks, as well as teach them how to keep their tempers at bay."
During the final exercise the group must display their comprehension and understanding of the non-lethal weapons systems and munitions, as well as their capability to properly apply the techniques and tactics learned throughout the training, during a simulated riot. The riot begins as a peaceful protest that quickly escalates after negotiations fail with the crowd's spokesperson. As the simulated riot continues, it escalates to a boiling point when the platoon reaches the live-fire lane, forcing the platoon to unleash its full spectrum of non-lethal capabilities in order to suppress the riot.
"I think throughout the course we learned how to work together better and use the skills we were taught over the past two weeks," said Lance Cpl. Jacob Silfies, a rifleman with the rifle platoon from the ground combat element of SCTF APS-12. "We really got a lot of new experiences and training we don't normally get as cannoneers."
The platoon’s full range of non-lethal capabilities includes Oleoresin Capsicum spray, batons and Stinger-ball grenades as well as M-203s firing 40mm foam baton rounds and 12-gauge shotguns firing sock and fin stabilizer rounds, all of which they received thorough training on throughout the course.
"They've all done awesome,” said 2nd Lt. Jordan Miller, platoon commander of rifle platoon with the ground combat element of SCTF APS-12, "Most of them haven't ever worked together before so this training has really brought them all together. When they first started they got a little anxious with all of the action going on, but they all bonded together and it was great growing experience for all of them."
With the conclusion of the Non-Lethal Weapons and Tactics training the Marines and sailors with the ground combat element of SCTF APS-12, look forward to their upcoming deployment to Africa, knowing they’re now more capable than ever to deal with whatever situations await them.