BUJANOVAC, Serbia -- With oleoresin capsicum steaming through the air, a Marine stands a short distance away squinting his eyes, getting ready for the pain that is going to engulf his senses.
Once it hits his eyes, he is immediately screamed at to open them up and let the chemical sink in. Despite the searing burning sensation that clouds his vision he pushes forward channeling his aggression and training to push past the pain and complete the mission.
The Marines of Company D, 4th Law Enforcement Battalion, Force Headquarters Group, Marine Forces Reserve, completed their OC and Taser courses during exercise Platinum Wolf 2016 at Peacekeeping Operations Training Center South Base, Bujanovac, Serbia, May 10-
13, 2016. Also working with the Marines and completing the courses during the exercise were partner nations from Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Serbia.
Those who needed to qualify or wanted to volunteer, ran a course set up for the OC training. The Taser course was an instructional course on the use and how to put shots on target. Those who wanted to volunteer were shot with the Taser to allow others to see the effects.
“We are teaching non-lethal weapons, techniques and tactics,” said Capt. Zoram Stankoski, company commander and non-lethal weapons instructor with the Macedonian Military Police Battalion. “We taught using of the equipment, the influence of the Taser and influence of OC.”
Though willingly being sprayed with OC and shot with a Taser is a daunting and painful task the Marines and partnering nations took charge and pushed past the pain to make sure they can complete an important job despite having impaired vision. The experience is used to ensure that the mission can be completed no matter the circumstance.
“It is important, especially in this sort of field to be exposed to that, so that they know if they do have to employ their OC spray at some point there’s a good chance they will be affected as well,” said Sgt. Martin Belden, squad leader and a non-lethal weapons instructor with 4th LE
Bn., FHG, MARFORRES. “If the wind is blowing back in their face or if their partner sprays a subject and they get secondary spray from that, they need to fight through that exposure.”
Belden is part of a group of non-lethal weapons instructors from each of the participating nations. They focused on not only OC and Taser training, but also provided training on crowd control, combat life saver courses, virtual battlefield simulators, recognizing improvised
explosive devices and more. The training is part of a larger goal to ensure all of the nations are fluent in peacekeeping operations and can build lasting partnerships to enhance their interoperability.