MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Not even the tear-filled eyes, burning faces and gagging seemed to slow down the hard charging Marines from Battery B, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, as they were doused in Oleoresin Capsicum spray during the Non-Lethal Weapons Training class held at the Special Operations Training Group compound on March 8, 2007.
“The Marines need to know what it feels like when Oleoresin Capsicum is sprayed on them before they actually go out and deploy it on someone else,” said Sgt. Owen Wood, the lead instructor for the course.
OC, a chile extract used to make extremely hot sauces, is the key ingredient used in the spray.
“Its effects once deployed, could last an hour or more depending on the individual,” explained Wood, who is developing a tolerance of the spray due to repeated use during his periods of instruction.
In the OC portion of the course, the Marines are required to go through five stations after getting sprayed with a considerable amount of OC. The stations included push-ups, side-straddle hops, and modified arm-bar take-downs on a stationary opponent. The Marines also had to ward off two attackers while under the influence of the spray.
“They are called fight-through drills, but we like to refer to them as confidence drills,” explained Wood. “They are designed to build confidence in the Marines and let them know that they can still perform their duty even after getting sprayed.”
In addition to the OC training, the Marines attending the course were also schooled in advanced hand-to-hand combat and weapons of opportunity.
The Marines of Btty. B are attached to Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. They will join the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Command Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced), and Combat Logistics Battalion 22 in a deployment scheduled for later this year. For more information about the 22nd MEU, visit the unit website at: http://www.22meu.usmc.mil.