In the News

News | Jan. 11, 2009

Raiders conduct non-lethal munitions training at Forward Operating Base Falcon

By Sgt. David Hodge 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers conducted familiarization training with non-lethal munitions, Jan. 9 – 10, at Forward Operating Base Falcon in southern Baghdad's Rashid District.

Approximately 492 Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, MND-B, visited the Falcon Range to increase their awareness and determine appropriate actions when faced with enemy threats and Escalation of Force incidents.

"The Soldiers can use the training to understand that a non-lethal round does not feel like a lethal round when fired," said Capt. Andrea Leaman, provost marshal for the 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B.

Leaman, who hails from Casper, Wyo., said she issued certificates to Soldiers as proof they received training on a variety of non-lethal munitions currently used by the U.S. Army in Iraq.

The two-day training event focused on seven different munitions, which are fired from the M203 grenade launcher and M1014 12-guage combat shotgun, said Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Quinn, provost marshal non-commissioned officer-in-charge assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B, adding that he assembled all materials and training aids for the class on short notice.

"The training went great," stated Quinn, who hails from Montpelier, Idaho. "We had enough ammunition and training aids for both days of training."

Quinn briefed Soldiers prior to entering the range and demonstrated the minimum safe distance for the munitions by facing two groups of Soldiers 10 meters apart.

The non-lethal rounds are effective because of blunt-force trauma; it is not supposed to penetrate, said Leaman.

"That is why we teach the minimum safe distance," she added.

On the range, Leaman instructed the Soldiers to properly practice EOF and use the graduated measures authorized in their Rules of Engagement.

"It was interesting training," said Spc. Nandor Bank about his first experience with non-lethal munitions. "I would have liked to spend more time with the munitions."

Earlier in the deployment, a terrorist attack on innocent Iraqi civilians sparked a protest, recalled Bank, a cavalry scout assigned to HHD, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B.

A car bomb exploded near our convoy while on mission one day, and a crowd of Iraqi citizens massed in the hundreds, explained Bank, who was the lead gunner in the convoy.

"The crowd was coming straight at us," explained Bank, a Los Angeles native. "The non-lethal munitions would have come in handy that day to disperse the crowd."

Bank and another fellow gunner quickly reacted with other non-lethal methods and neither Soldier fired a single shot from their weapon.

Serving a combat tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 1st "Raider" Brigade, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B, supports Iraqi security forces and the Government of Iraq to provide a secure and stable environment for the approximately 1.6 million Iraqi citizens in Baghdad's Rashid District.