News: Czech army trains nonlethal
Story by Staff Sgt. Johnathan Hoover
PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The U.S. Army is re-emphasizing the use of nonlethal weapons and the other countries are taking notice.
The Czech Republic army took part in training on the implementation and proper use of nonlethal weapons, provided by members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, for the first time Dec. 14, 2013, at Bagram Air Field, Afghansitan.
It is useful to take part in this training, said Czech Republic army 1st Lt. Marek Krajcik, liaison officer for the Czech Republic army. Unfortunately, we have never had this type of training, he said.
“This is our first training mission with an international security force,” said Miles Sonn, a law enforcement professional contracted to 2nd BCT. “This is the first time they are using this weapon system.”
Sonn, of Brooklyn, N.Y., added that even though this was the first time the Czech army has used this weapon system, they are very positive, professional and believe in the weapon.
Their leader believes this training is very beneficial for them to have as additional option other than lethal alternatives, said Sonn.
“From my point of view, it’s the best solution to solve the crucial issue of how to handle crowds and things of that nature,” Krajcik said.
“They were trained on the Fabrique Nacional 303 compressed air launcher,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Stephens, a native of Nitro, W.Va. This weapon provides the capability to save lives and get people to comply, making it safer for everyone.
“They [Czech army] caught on quickly, learned the weapon system and are accurate with their shots,” said Stephens.
Stephens, the brigade provost marshal officer for 2nd BCT, expressed, even though they are classed as nonlethal, the weapon still has the capability to be lethal if used incorrectly.
“Proper training on the minimum-safe distance for engagement will significantly reduce the risk of fatality when employing the weapon,” said Stephens. “Training on how and when to utilize the weapon will give the commander another tool to use.”
“We are going the extra mile to train soldiers to ensure that we do not cause any collateral damage,” Sonn said.
Sonn added, “I think this is going to have a great effect and minimize casualties.”
“This training is important to soldiers so they are capable of engaging the enemy and minimizing fatal effects,” said Stephens. “When used effectively by a well-trained and disciplined unit, it can be a combat multiplier.”
Sonn said the soldiers are professional enough and mature enough to understand the difference when a situation may arise in crowd control of how to implement the weapon.
Krajcik said they are planning on using the nonlethal weapons in future operations.
Stephens and Sonn said they have received other requests from various units to train them on nonlethal weapons.