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Infantrymen with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, and artillerymen with Echo Battery, 2/6, prepare to begin the live-fire portion of their non-lethal weapons training aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 25, 2015. The Marines participated in a two-week NLW course that teaches various riot-control methods.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Fatmeh Saad

Marines learn riot-control techniques with non-lethal weapons

31 Mar 2015 | Lance Cpl. Fatmeh Saad The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Infantrymen with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, and artillerymen with Echo Battery, 2/6, trained with non-lethal weapons aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on March 25, 2015, in preparation for an upcoming deployment.

The Expeditionary Operations Training Group teaches six courses a year for units deploying with Marine Expeditionary Units, said Staff Sgt. Jimmy Wadkins, a NLW instructor with EOTG and a native of St. Robert, Missouri. Approximately 80 students are enrolled in each course.

“When they get deployed on a MEU, they can go to a variety of places,” Wadkins said. “And if they have to do a [non-combatant evacuation] or an embassy evacuation, they can take non-lethals with them to have an extra tool in their toolbox so that they can get their mission accomplished. They don’t necessarily have to go straight to using lethal weapons.”

During the course, participants learned crowd and riot-control techniques, including restraint and takedowns, and trained on the range with NLW. These techniques are most commonly used with contingency operations.

Wadkins said that lethal force should only be used as a last resort, which is why NLW training is crucial.

“I’ve learned it’s very hard to control a riot,” said 2nd Lt. Miles Snelgrove, a Golf Company platoon commander and a native of Lebanon, Connecticut. “It’s unpredictable.”

The Marines learned how to control crowds and riots using batons, oleoresin capsicum spray, commonly known as OC or pepper spray, and weapons, such as shotguns and M-32 Multi-shot Grenade Launchers, loaded with non-lethal rounds, Snelgrove said.

Snelgrove said his favorite part of the course has been seeing his Marines overcome simulated hostile situations and watching them perform on the firing range.

The Marines will conclude the course with a final training exercise March 27, 2015, encompassing everything the Marines have learned throughout the course. The exercise will mark the end of two long weeks of training, leaving the Marines with new skills they can use to carry out their mission while on deployment.