U.S. Marines and sailors aboard Marine Corps Base-Camp Smedley D. Butler took part in the Security Augmentation Force Training from Dec. 2 to Dec. 12 on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan.
Camps Foster, Plaza and Lester requires a SAF in order to adequately protect the installation, personnel and interests during periods of increased Force Protection Conditions (FPCON). The Provost Marshal’s Office conducts SAF training in order to maintain a force with the ability to increase Camp Foster, Plaza and Lester’s security posture as the mission requires.
“The Marines get trained in the use of force, interpersonal communication skills, how to conduct a vehicle search, as well as the use of a M1014 shotgun, flexy cuffs and oleoresin capsicum spray,” said Sgt. Clarix Garcia, the Camp Foster PMO training noncommissioned officer in charge and a native of Union, New Jersey.
The first week of training takes place in the classroom. SAF trainees will then practically apply their training to help validate the knowledge learned in the classes.
To carry OC spray, Marines must first be sprayed themselves then complete a course designed for them to operate under the effects of OC.
“The purpose of this training is to qualify us to use OC spray on a subject that is non-compliant,” said Cpl. Abdul Zhaiya, a water support technician with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 and a native of Mosul, Iraq. “The course’s purpose is so if we do encounter OC while trying to subdue that subject, we know the effects of it and the way it works.”
The effects from OC spray are temporary, but it should not be taken lightly.
“It feels like someone poured hot sauce all over your face, and then rubbed it in,” said Pfc. Alexis Chavez, an administrative specialist with the Installation Personnel Administration Center on Camp Foster and a native of Wheeler, Texas. “When a subject is approaching you, it is so easy to just grab your OC and spray them. You won’t think that much about it until you have actually gone through what it is like and experience how bad it burns.”
Upon completion of the OC course, the one-week SAF training course concludes.
However, the Marines must prove they can handle and effectively employ the M1014 shotgun to earn their certificates.
“They will shoot from the kneeling, standing positions while executing combat loads and patrol loads,” said Garcia. “SAF Marines carry the M1014 shotgun when activated, and they have to be proficient with it in order to carry it.”
The new SAF Marines will return to their units and remain ready to be activated in a moment’s notice.