Twenty Sailors completed the Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) certification course on the flight deck of the guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) on Jan. 18 to qualify for shipboard watches.
To graduate the course, the Sailors had to complete a five-station fight-through drill involving the employment of the baton to include strikes, blocks and retention, threat assessment, Mechanical Advantage Control Holds involving subject control, takedowns and compliance, and OC contamination and decontamination.
“The OC course itself is no punk, it’s hard,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Nathalie Scott, a Sailor who completed the OC course. “It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced, I’ve never felt pain like that before. As a female, people would say we’re not as strong as men, but you have to dig that strength out of you. By the time you get to the red man, your face is scorching, it feels like a million degrees, and everyone is yelling at you and telling you to open your eyes. And I learned that I’m stronger than I thought I was and that was the part that was so rewarding about completing the course.”
The course is considered a rite of passage by many in the Navy, but Farragut’s command master-at-arms, Master-at-Arms 1st Class Janice Benally, assures it is a practical necessity.
“If a Sailor needs to use OC, they would need to know the effects that it would cause in the event they receive contamination during an incident or situation where OC may be employed,” said Benally.
Sailors conducted the OC certification course after completing Navy Security Force-Sentry (NSF-S) training; a two week-long class that teaches Sailors basic watchstanding, use of force and deadly force, escalation of force continuum, and the employment of non-lethal weapons and small arms taught by Benally and Chief Gunner’s Mate Adam Gleason.
“A lot of the videos and slides during the NSF-S training were really eye opening to learn what it means to stand out there, armed up, with everything you have to know to protect yourself, your shipmates, and your ship,” said Scott. “Sometimes, you have a split second to react to a situation and it’s really scary when you think about it.”
“This course is one way I can ensure the security of our ship, and it’s by making sure I’m training vigilant and professional watchstanders that can recognize threats and know how to deal with them,” said Benally.
Farragut is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce.