News: Soldiers push through the burn to complete mission
Story by Sgt. Ryan Hohman
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Soldiers with the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division conducted non-lethal weapons training to become level 1 certified to carry Mark IV Oleoresin Capsicum, commonly known as pepper spray, March 9.
To become level one certified to carry OC soldiers must learn about the technical aspects of how the spray works, as well as how and when the spray should be administered.
The most infamous part of the instruction is completing different takedown techniques after getting peppered sprayed in the face.
“It’s important so they know how it feels so they can better take care of an aggressor after they spray them,” said Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Bormine, who served as the non-lethal instructor.
Knowing what to do in dangerous situations can save both the Soldier and the aggressor’s lives.
“It’s all about levels of force,” said Sgt. Travon Johnson, who serves as a squad leader with the Military Police Platoon, Headquarters and Headquarters, Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd SBCT, 2nd ID. “You don’t want to just go in and start striking people with punches or kicks. You have to know how to use the least amount of force as necessary to take someone down.”
To prepare for their final test the soldiers preformed a walk through on how to properly takedown an aggressor while both unarmed and using their batons.
“Going through the dry run was definitely a lot better than going straight into it, because it allowed us to mentally prepare for what was going to happen,” said Sgt. Rebecca Rivera who serves as a squad leader with the MP Plt.
No matter how ready they were, nothing could have prepared them for the pain they would experience once the OC spray hit their face.
“When you get sprayed you completely lose sight of what you were doing and your memory goes away,” said Rivera. “The pain is excruciating.”
To overcome this pain leaders made sure their Soldiers were fully prepared for the challenges they would face.
“For a lot of my soldiers it was their first time,” said Johnson. “I told them to not give up. It is going to hurt and burn but as Soldiers we must [complete the mission].”
At the end of the day as the final soldier rushed to wash his eyes out with soap and water, leaders were able to look at their soldiers with a new sense of pride.
“Overall the training was great,” said Johnson. “The training gave us a sense of resiliency and acted as a metaphor for soldiers to continue moving forward and get the job done no matter what.”