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22nd MEU FET prepares for challenges on deployment

1 Apr 2016 | Sgt. Ryan Young 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit

Members of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Female Engagement Team (FET) steeled themselves before one of the most painful training sessions the Marine Corps holds: receiving a level one exposure of oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray.

The Marines attended non-lethal weapons training March 28 to April 1, 2016 aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, as part of their rigorous training schedule before an upcoming deployment.

“If you are really physically fit and your knowledge base is high they are going to pick you for the team,” said Sgt. Lauren Fiero, a FET member. “They pick the highest qualified to be on the FET.”

FETs originated during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and their mission has been evolving since.

“What the FET does for the 22nd MEU is we are able to go into certain places or do certain things in countries that a lot of the males are not usually allowed to do,” said Fiero. “We’re able to fill that training gap; increase knowledge on both sides.”

This MEU FET consists of two teams of 6 female Marines, two staff non-commissioned officers and two officers that go through extra training in order to support one of the 22 MEU’s missions: training and advising foreign militaries.

“Each country that we go out and train may have different requirements that they want us to train them on,” said Sgt. Diomarys Beck, a FET member. “So non-lethal weapons training is just an extra tool in the toolbox that we bring.”

The non-lethal weapons course is designed to train Marines how to deal with riot/crowd control situations and how to effectively use the X26 Taser and OC spray. The team members intend to teach segments of this and other training to foreign militaries, specifically other female soldiers.

The FET members are some of the most physically fit Marines from across the MEU. Each Marine will be continuing their primary military occupational specialty during deployment but will activate with the FET as necessary.