Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) participated in a non-lethal weapons course at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Aug. 5-16, 2013.
Marines from the MEU’s ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, stepped out of their normal occupational specialties to learn new skills needed for the unit’s upcoming deployment.
“Our mission on the MEU is not just shooting our mortars and howitzers,” said 1st Lt. Lawrence Seiler, a platoon commander participating in the training. “It’s also about contingency operations like non-lethal weapons and embassy security.”
The course focused on controlling and restraining an individual, takedowns, using non-lethal munitions and the use of oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray.
A key point in the training was judging when to use different munitions and escalate force in a stressful environment.
Seiler said noncommissioned officers are pivotal to deciding when different weapons or OC spray should be employed. “Whenever the rioters hit the shield, they’re the guys who have to make the decision.”
Before completing the course the Marines of the platoon had to battle a simulated riot with the help of their fellow Marines and role players.
Marines within the platoon formed a line tightly together, carrying riot shields, batons, M203 grenade launchers and M500 shotguns.
“Keeping everyone on line can be difficult,” said Lance Cpl. Jacob Thompson, an M203 gunner for the exercise. “A hostile can attack the line and you have to make that split second decision on whether you’re going to let them through or bounce them off your shield.”
A snatch team waited behind the line to obtain a downed civilian or anyone who may need medical attention. They must be prepared to move out in front of the platoon to bring the individual back.
According to Thompson, he never would have imagined himself training for riot control, but understands how these skills could be critical for the MEU in a contingency operation.
The MEU is scheduled to deploy in early 2014 to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions across the full range of military operations.