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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Marines of 6th PSC Train Djiboutian Navy in Less Lethal Force

27 Jun 07
by US Navy MC1 (SW/AW) John Osborne

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti - In an effort to fine-tune port security procedures at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, the Marines of 6th Provisional Security Company (PSC) trained members of the Djiboutian navy in less lethal force tactics during a three-phase training exercise June 10-17. The Djiboutians, who share port security responsibilities with 6th PSC, observed and participated in exercises involving military working dogs, the Long Range Acoustical Device (LRAD), proper search of vehicles and personnel, communications with incoming ships and small arms procedures.

The Marines of 6th PSC arrived at Camp Lemonier in February, and since that time their operations chief, Master Sgt. Harry McBrien, has seen a marked improvement in their working relationship with the Djiboutian navy and the quality of their joint performance.

“We needed to understand each other’s role,” McBrien said, explaining the need for the less lethal force training. “We have a slight communications barrier and we had never worked with each other before. Since we started working together, the feedback from the ships is that this is the best service they’ve received throughout the world. That is a direct result of the Djiboutian navy taking the time and genuinely caring about port security and the safety of our ships.”

The training began with two days of work controlling boats and practicing communications that included emergency procedures, engagement, and understanding shipboard security detachment standard operating procedures. The second phase, focusing on less lethal force in port security procedures for incoming ships, was three-fold beginning with a demonstration of canine tactics for subduing uncooperative and potentially dangerous individuals. Under the command of Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Jeff Meyer and Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Jason Dutcher, canines Rex and Brit demonstrated to the Djiboutian navy that they are an effective alternative to drawing a gun on a suspicious person and very efficient at finding planted explosives.

The Marines and Djiboutian sailors were then instructed on and given a demonstration of the LRAD. Widely used on board ships to warn incoming vessels approaching without permission, the LRAD has also proven to be an effective crowd-control and combatant-deterrent sonic weapon on land. The 45-pound device is mounted onto a vehicle and is capable of emitting a warning tone that has a decibel sound pressure level of 150 (a gun shot is only 140). At less than 50 meters, this can cause immediate hearing damage. The LRAD can also be used as a loudspeaker that is fully capable of translating the speaker’s words into 14 different languages.

“This training is a step in our joint efforts with the Djiboutian navy,” said LRAD Instructor Staff Sgt. Rudy Diaz, who also teaches a driver’s course involving evasion techniques useful when driving high-profile personnel. “This training will allow the Djiboutian navy to become familiar with one of our Non-Lethal options before they are employed. We hope that, should the situation ever present itself, we will have numerous tools to help diffuse the situation without using deadly force.”

The final training of the day covered the search of vehicles and personnel who traverse the pier, which involved learning the correct commands for individuals being searched and the proper technique to employ during the actual physical inspection of the person.

“The instruction we received will help us and the Marines work together better,” said Djiboutian sailor Lt. Ahmed Djama. “Doing a good job depends on each of us knowing how to work with each other in every situation. It’s very important that we all know how to deal effectively with each situation using the least amount of force possible.”

McBrien said he was extremely proud of his Marines for realizing the importance of this training and stepping up to the role of being instructors. “I’ve been so impressed with our Marines because none of us are infantrymen. We are all air wing Marines from different parts of the United States coming together for the first time. They show a lot of dedication and character by understanding their roles and realizing the important contribution they each make to accomplish our mission.”

Photo - Lance Cpl. Andre Bautista of 6th Provisional Security Company (PSC) gives a friendly smile to Brit as she is told to relinquish her hold on his arm. Bautista was playing the role of a person who refused to get out of his vehicle when ordered, so Brit was sent into the car to chase him out. This was one of several exercises 6th PSC used to demonstrate methods of less lethal force to their Djiboutian navy counterparts, who share their port security responsibilities. Photo by US Navy SW/AW John Osborne.

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