MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Nine Marines with the Cherry Point Provost Marshal’s Office qualified with pistols, shotguns and oleoresin capsicum spray aboard the air station April 11 and 12.
The Marines conducted advanced pistol and shotgun training regimens, maneuvering from cover to cover and taking out targets in a specific order.
“This training helps them learn not only correct use of cover, but also gives them confidence while using two primary weapons we have in our arsenal as officers,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. John P. Wade, the provost sergeant with PMO.
The shooters started with the M9 Berretta, firing 18 rounds during the evaluation while maneuvering from a standing position to prone and seeking cover. They then fired more than 25 rounds each from Benelli M4 Super 90 shotguns while conducting a similar course of fire.
“Everything we have learned throughout this training will help us better protect the air station,” said Lance Cpl. Vincent M. Shaw, a military policeman. “The things we did up until the OC spray were great, but the spray – the spray was intense and hurts like crazy.”
OC, or pepper spray, is commonly used in policing, crowd control and self-defense and causes intense pain and liberal watering of the eyes.
The trainers spray Marines in the eyes to give them firsthand experience of how it feels and to bolster their confidence in their ability to continue with the task at hand should they be exposed to the spray while handling any law enforcement scenario. After being sprayed, the Marines had to maneuver through a course which included weapon retention, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program maneuvers and proper handcuffing techniques. Military policemen must qualify with the spray to be eligible to carry it on duty, said Croom.
“This was the most intense pain I have ever felt,” said Shaw moments after completing the course. As mucus dripped from his crimson face, he said the pain was like a burning log had been placed on his face and held there.
“This training hurts but it is necessary to ensure they can function in case they themselves get sprayed,” said Croom. “If an officer gets sprayed, they have the confidence to push through and know the fight isn’t over.”