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Parris Island ASF Marines feel the burn at Fightertown

By Cpl. Brendan Roethel | | June 12, 2014

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In the blink of an eye, a blast of oleoresin capsicum spray lands on a Marines face. when the spray ran down their foreheads and settled in their skin and eyes, Marines exhibited uncontrollable tearing, coughing, choking plus an extreme burning sensation on any exposed skin from the OC spray.
This is how Marines from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island’s Auxiliary Security Force began their OC contamination training at the Provost Marshal’s Office aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, June 3.
The purpose of the OC Contamination training was to instruct Marines how to augment the military police in providing
an overall security of the installation.
Trained ASF Marines are used to augment military police officers during potential force protection condition escalations, and to execute other security-related operations for the installation.
“The usage of OC spray in training is important for the ASF Marines to understand the effectiveness of the compliance technique,” said Howard Schappee, an instructor for the Provost Marshal’s Office.
“OC spray can be utilized as a distraction or alternate means of force. By experiencing the spray firsthand, it reinforces the need for ASF Marines to use restraint when applying incapacitation devices. It also lets the Marines understand that if they are contaminated by the spray while providing security or engaging a threat they can still continue to function and provide security.”
After receiving instructions on how to navigate the OC course, and endure the non-lethal weapons burning sensation, it was time for the Marines to put what they learned to the test. Schappee lined up the Marines, stood three paces away and sprayed the OC in their faces. After being sprayed, the Marines had to navigate through an obstacle course of Marines holding pads, representing potential attackers. The ASF Marines had to fight through the course by throwing punches, knee strikes and baton strikes.
For Cpl. Michael Joseph, a musician with the Parris Island Marine Band, this was his first time being exposed to OC spray.
“It’s not bad at first because you don’t feel it right away since your eyes are closed, but when it hit me, it felt like my face was on fire,” Joseph said. “I couldn't open my eyes at all. Being in the sun made it worse and running around engaging the targets made me sweat, which opened my pours and made the effects of the spray much stronger.”
“Throughout the course, we witnessed exactly what we were looking for,” Schappee said. “The objective was for the Marines to assess the situation, push through the effects of the spray and de-escalate the situation by using verbal commands, physical force and compliance techniques. They all did a great job and now know first-hand just how much they can accomplish even after being affected by the spray.”
The Provost Marshal’s Office aboard the Air Station provides law enforcement, investigative, and security services to MCAS Beaufort, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and Naval Hospital Beaufort, S.C.
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