In the News

News | Nov. 25, 2009

First Marines to test EOF module equipment

By Sgt. Whitney N. Frasier 1st Marine Logistics Group

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Many Marines may not find it difficult to utilize deadly force in serious conditions, but when the circumstances call for something less permanent, Marines will be prepared to employ non-lethal strategies.

Members of 2nd Platoon, Military Police Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, attended a five-day training exercise at the 25 Area Combat Town here that lasted until Nov. 6.

Three days of classes were held to familiarize the group with the different non-lethal gear available for use, said Thomas Ritchie, the project officer for the Escalation of Force Mission Module.

These Marines are the first to formally test the equipment in the different modules, said Ritchie, who is with Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va. This evaluation will ensure the right tools are available for each module, he said.

Each module has a set of non-lethal tools that are intended to complete a mission ranging from vehicle control points to riot control.

"The training gives us the tools and skills to make entry control points more effective and easier to handle," said Cpl. Elliot Lichtenstein from Long Island, N.Y. "Some tweaks need to be worked out, but overall it's good training," said Lichtenstein who is a member of 4th platoon.

"Some of the tools are shields, tear gas, batons, knee pads and flexi cuffs," said Lichtenstein. "One device is a voice translator. We hook it up to speakers and it will translate commands into other languages."

Members were able to practice escalation of force for two days and were able to get sufficient training value from the equipment.

"Since we are military police, we are going to be dealing with this type of stuff," said Lance Cpl. Nick A. Mendel with 4th platoon from Boise, Idaho. "It's good to know."

Role players from 4th Platoon who simulated the enemy were encouraged by instructors to create the worst possible scenarios for the military police during the training. The fake rioters had mock fire capability to include rifles, handguns and grenades.

After the riot members would ignore the commands and rushed at the protective shields of the military police, the law enforcers were able to utilize the training and detain the resisters with non-lethal action.

It is possible for many people to be hurt during a simple disturbance. Learning the effectiveness of non-lethal force could save many lives of innocent people who do not understand what is going on.

"It's good for the Marines," said Gunnery Sgt. Shelby D. Fields, the platoon sergeant for 2nd platoon. "This equipment can be used toward any assignment, from Afghanistan to a humanitarian mission."

Other parts of the training included testing light systems that are used beneath vehicles, said Fields from Bellevue, Ken. They also tested three different generators and enemy prisoner of war kits.

"They did well," said Ritchie from Highland County, Va. "Most of the Marines here are new to the Marine Corps, so they have a lot of experience to gain along the way."