The Marine Corps’ flexibility is one of its defining marks as a fighting force. No climate is too austere, and no enemy is too staunch for the Marine Corps to endure – and overcome. This is apparent in more than just conventional warfare. With new enemies fighting wars in new ways, the Marine Corps is tackling these evolving challenges in unique, and often times, nonlethal ways.
At the forefront of the nonlethal fight is 1st Law Enforcement Battalion. They spent the day polishing their nonlethal weapons skills and riot control techniques Feb. 11, 2016, at Maarine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.
The training primarily focused on embassy protection and evacuation techniques, but also stressed the importance of having a solid understanding of escalation of force in riot-like scenarios, all of which is knowledge giving Marines reliable tactics to lean upon when lethal force is not a necessary course of action.
“Today the Marines out here got a chance to train with the M203 grenade launcher, the Mossberg 500 shotgun, and the M32 grenade launcher – all of which are capable of using nonlethal munitions,” said 1st Lt. Henry Vega, the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit Law Enforcement Detachment officer in charge. “Having this capability gives the Marine Corps a huge edge globally and allows us to engage threats and control hostile situations in different ways.”
Bean bags, Oleoresin Capsicum and stun grenades are just a few examples of nonlethal weapons and munitions at the disposal of the Marine Corps. Once fully trained in their uses, Marines are better-rounded, able to react to a diverse array of hostile scenarios.
“At the end of the day, accomplishing the mission is what is important,” said Cpl. Ryan Honeycutt, a military policeman with 1st LE BN. If we can do that by winning hearts and minds and employing nonlethal methods, it makes us even more effective.”
The training evolution was in preparation for the 11th MEU’s upcoming deployment this summer. It will be during this deployment that the skills acquired will be put to the test.
“The real value of this training lies in our ability as a detachment to go out and train any other unit in the Marine Corps riot control techniques and procedures, as well as how to be proficient with these weapons,” said Vega, a native of Monterey, Calif.
Nonlethal weapons have earned their place in the Marine Corps’ arsenal as effective and practical tools. They have proven invaluable in maintaining the Corps’ edge as the world’s premiere fighting force, and given the Marines serving an entirely new gambit of tools and tactics useable anywhere in the world.
By Cpl. Jonathan Boynes