News: Assassins finish OC spray training
Story by Spc. Allison Churchill
By Spc. Allison Churchill
41st Fires Brigade
FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELTA, Iraq – Seven Soldiers completed an oleoresin capsicum spray -- more commonly known as pepper spray -- class at Camp Bucca, July 28, 2008.
Soldiers have to be certified to use the spray before they can carry it. This is required training for Soldiers working in detainee operations at Camp Bucca.
"I would be more hesitant to use OC against a detainee... now that I have been sprayed myself and know the agony of it," said Minneapolis, Minn., native, Spc. Bryan Carlson, a tower guard for Battery A, 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade.
Soldiers learned to judge how much spray to use when necessary, and how to defend themselves if sprayed, through this experience, said Sgt. 1st Class Farrin Kerr, of Italy, Texas, operations non-commissioned officer for Btry. A.
Soldiers start by spraying each other with water-filled spray containers to learn how to use the system. Then, the Soldiers are sprayed with the OC.
"Confidence to conduct the mission while at a disadvantage is a big part of the training program," said Kerr.
The training is similar to what the military police experience and consists of a four-second stream across the eyes. Soldiers must then perform self-defense tactics, simulating an attack by an aggressor.
"We will be better able to defend ourselves with this training," said Carlson.
The OC spray is a nonlethal means to incapacitate a detainee in the event they become too aggressive.
"Just seeing the OC can is usually enough to de-escalate a situation," said Kerr. "It's a very effective means of deterrence."
Most of 1-21 FA took the class at Fort Bliss in January 2008, shortly after the battalion learned it was shifting fire from multiple-launch rocket system missions to detainee operations. The Soldiers unable to participate in that course took the class at Camp Bucca.
"Every Soldier sent from Fort Hood to Camp Bucca went through this training – even the commander, command sergeant major and chaplain," said Kerr.
The spray comes in two forms: water or oil-based. The water-based spray irritates for about an hour, while the oil-based spray lasts several hours. The detainee guards at Camp Bucca use the water-based spray in their operations.