News: 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers step into Oleoresin Capsicum spray lane training
Story by Maj. Deanna Bague
MCGREGOR RANGE, N.M. – In order for Guardsmen from the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team to receive the most realistic training possible and prepare them to perform one of the most challenging missions in theater, it is crucial for them to undergo the Oleoresin Capsicum gas lane training, during which Soldiers are sprayed directly in the face with pepper spray.
"They already know OC is no fun; they already know it's going to sting," said Staff Sgt. Erin Evans, an observer controller/trainer assigned to Task Force Outlaw, 5th Armored Brigade.
After being sprayed with OC, each Guardsman negotiated five scenarios during which they encountered mock aggressors and used unarmed self-defense procedures to mitigate the threats posed by the "attacks."
"What we try to do is to make it as realistic as possible," said Evans. "These are real bad guys – simulated – and this is a real situation. [The Guardsmen] need to control their area using proper-technique takedowns and proper strikes with the batons [while] staying focused."
Staff Sgt. Kevin Penttila of B Company, 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment, 32nd IBCT, said he and other unit members were aware of how tough the OC lanes were going to be. He felt "great relief," he said, after successfully negotiating the lane.
"My eyes were burning," said Penttila. "I was struggling to keep them open."
Family members would probably worry if they saw their Soldiers coughing and with tears running down their faces, Penttila said, but there is no need for concern.
"The training looks more painful than it actually is," said Penttila.
Sgt. Jaimeson Lutz, also of B Co., said there was a lot of excitement before the start of the exercise. He said motivation was high and unit members cheered each other throughout the engagement.
"A lot of guys were curious about it, wondering what it was going to be like," said Lutz. "There was definitely some fear – I had it myself – but you drive on and push through it."
Though the Guardsmen agreed that the OC phase of detainee operations training was demanding, they said it was necessary to experience the effects of the pepper spray while using unarmed self-defense tactics against mock aggressors.
"This [training] is going to help us more than it's going to hurt us," Lutz said.
This work, 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers step into Oleoresin Capsicum spray lane training, by LTC Deanna Bague, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.