Marines and sailors with Special Operations Training Group and Military Police Support Company, both from III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF, and nearly 150 personnel with the Thai military and police forces, began training May 30 as part of the Non-Lethal Weapons Executive Seminar 2011.
NOLES ‘11, which is scheduled to take place from May 30 through June 10, is U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific’s premiere multilateral theater security cooperation event for non-lethal weapons and is designed to promote awareness of non-lethal weapons use to maintain order in low-intensity scenarios. Due to the significant variance of non-lethal weapons capabilities from country to country, the seminar seeks to improve interoperability between partner nations.
Over the past week, instructors from SOTG and MP Support Company have given classes and practical application sessions on communications skills, crowd control dynamics, pressure-point control techniques, mechanical-advantage control holds, baton techniques, non-lethal munitions, the human electro-muscular incapacitation device, also known as an X-26 Taser, and oleoresin capsicum spray, more commonly called OC spray.
Although the training was extensive and sometimes uncomfortable, partner-nation service members took full advantage of the opportunity to train alongside one another.
“Being shot with the taser made me stop doing anything – breathing, moving; I couldn’t do any of those things,” said Thai Police Officer Sgt. Komtit Sila. “I know now that these weapons will be able to stop anyone committing a crime without having to use violence.”
In addition to learning how to use these weapons, Marines and Thai personnel were also exposed to them to impart an understanding of just how efficient these weapons can be.
“Having first-hand experiences with these weapons stops the fear of the unknown and lets the trainees know they will be able to get up afterward,” said Staff Sgt. Frederick Gladle, training chief for MP Support Company. “It gives them confidence that the weapon works, while tempering that confidence with the knowledge of what their opponent feels when they use the weapon on someone.”
Being trained in non-lethal weapons use gives those using them options while operating in situations that may not call for the use of deadly force.
“It is our mission to protect the people of our country and keep them safe while using the least violence,” said Sila. “Participating in this training with the Marines will help us accomplish this mission by integrating our skills and theirs. When we work together in the future, we will have the same knowledge.”
In addition to strengthening military-to-military ties between the U.S. and Thailand, NOLES ‘11 is an avenue for instructor sustainment.
“These exercises are exceptional opportunities to develop myself and others into better instructors,” said Gunnery Sgt. Joshua Turner, an instructor with SOTG. “Any time I get the chance to impart the knowledge I have gained during my time in the Marine Corps with our partner nations, it helps me become better at my job.”