News: ‘Fight or Flight’: AFP and PNP Experience OC Spray
Story by Cpl. Erik Estrada
MARINE BARRACKS RUDIARDO BROWN, Philippines – “Take a deep breath, close your eyes and face me,” was the last phrase heard prior to being sprayed with a fluid designed to stop individuals from their current course of action.
The Philippine National Police and Philippine Armed Forces service members were taught non-lethal tactics using Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray by U.S. Marines from 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force, August 8, during Non-lethal Weapons Executive Seminar (NOLES) 2014.
This year marks the 13th iteration of this event, which is held annually by U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, and consists of a field-training exercise and a leadership seminar with participants from 19 nations. This year the Armed Forces of the Philippines are hosting NOLES, for the first time. The exercise promotes awareness and effective use of non-lethal weapons (NLW) to maintain order in low-intensity conflicts or civil unrest.
“OC assist in keeping peace because it is a non-lethal weapon,” said Brumley. “It’s another tool for commanders and police departments to use instead of deadly force to apprehend an individual.”
Prior to being sprayed the service members were taught the proper methods of employing this non-lethal weapon, along with the history and the ingredients in the cans of OC spray.
“It is important to receive OC training, because in the event they’re with a partner who has to use OC spray, and the wind blows causing cross contamination, they will still be able to fight through the pain and help their partner,” said Sgt. Michael Brumley.
As part of training, there is a course where students run, maneuver through, and have to perform proper form and technique of Mechanical Advantage Control Holds (MACHs) in order to move through to the next station.
“It’s not the same for everyone, people will react differently,” said Brumley. ”We call it the fight or flight reaction, some will want to run away as soon as they get [sprayed] or they will become aggressive and want to go on the offensive immediately.” When pain hits you, knowing whether you naturally move to offensive or defense is important, Brumley noted.
Although the training was uncomfortable, most of the participants thought it was a very beneficial day. “This is the best day of my police career,” said Police Officer 3rd Class Rafael B. Muchuelas, lead instructor for National Capital Region Police Office in the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Heading into the second week of training the service members continue to learn and prepare for the final demonstration, which is scheduled during the leadership seminar portion of NOLES August 14-16.
“The Filipinos are doing an outstanding job with everything we’ve been teaching them,” Brumley said. “I look forward to starting ‘riot control’ training with them next week.”