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    Weapons training focuses less on combat, more on control, compliance

    Weapons training focuses less on combat, more on control, compliance

    Photo By Sgt. Rob Cooper | Sgt. Marcos Dejesus, a nonlethal weapons instructor with the 205th Infantry Brigade,...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Rob Cooper 

    Camp Atterbury Public Affairs

    By Sgt. Robert G. Cooper III
    Camp Atterbury Public Affairs

    BUTLERVILLE, Ind. – In the current state of affairs throughout the world, a military presence sometimes is associated with the idea of deadly force. Current battlefields such as Iraq and Afghanistan can conjure up images of Soldiers engaged in combat using the latest in lethal weapons technology.

    But what about U.S. Armed Forces deployed to countries where peacekeeping, instead of war fighting, is the focus? In such instances, the U.S. Army mandates nonlethal weapons instruction as part of deployment training. Rather than full-metal jacketed ammunition and other deadly weaponry, nonlethal weapons training teaches Soldiers how to use equipment akin to civilian law enforcement. Pepper spray, rubber bullets, tear gas grenades, stun guns and batons are at the heart of the instruction.

    At Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, a sub-installation of Camp Atterbury, nonlethal weapons training is being taught to Soldiers of the 40th Infantry Division's Kosovo Forces 11 team. KFOR 11, which includes members of the California National Guard's engineer and military police assets, is scheduled to deploy next month to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. Their mission: to maintain a secure environment for the people of Kosovo through law and order operations.

    Since current conditions in Kosovo call for peacekeeping missions and focus less on combat, nonlethal weapons training is critical, said Sgt. 1st Class Lorenzo Dominguez, a platoon sergeant with the KFOR 11. He said while the possibility of direct combat still exists, most incidents in Kosovo involve riots or detained individuals that become uncooperative.

    "First and foremost, we are ambassadors of good will," Dominguez said. "As such, we have to exert the minimum amount of force required. We want to show the people of Kosovo and Serbia that we are consummate professionals since it's our job to ensure that peace prevails for their nations to grow."

    Despite the fact that the weapons systems used in the training are significantly much less lethal than their combat counterparts, they are nonetheless extremely effective, said Staff Sgt. Ismael Arroya, a nonlethal weapons instructor with the 205th Infantry Brigade at Camp Atterbury. During one phase of the training, Soldiers learn how to control subjects at close range. Normally, Army hand-to-hand close-range combat training, or combatives, focuses on techniques that can injure or even kill. In nonlethal training, techniques are used in situations where the subject does not pose an imminent threat.

    "In combatives, you want to finish the fight," Arroya said. "Here, you want to gain compliance."

    Although Soldiers still receive lethal combat training required for any overseas deployment, the nonlethal weapons instruction impresses upon each individual the importance of maintaining peace, Dominguez said.

    "The Kosovo population is very supportive of our presence," he said. "If we went in there with a battlemind focus, we'd risk turning that support against us. You never lose your edge, but we don't need to go there and show it off."

    Cpl. Steve Faecke, KFOR 11, agrees. "If you go in aggressively, you're making the wrong impression," he said. "It's like walking on ice; you want to step slowly so as not to break through it."

    So far, the training has been met with enthusiasm among the ranks. Spc. Christian Rossall, also of KFOR 11, is preparing for his second deployment to Kosovo and was impressed by not only the level of training, but its relevance to the mission at hand.

    "This is my first time doing this training, and the emphasis on nonlethal weapons is even more significant than before," Rossall said. "The training is important since this is what's more likely to happen."



    Date Taken: 12.19.2008
    Date Posted: 12.19.2008 21:34
    Story ID: 27922
    Location: BUTLERVILLE, IN, US 

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