MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C --
Riots are always a possible occupational risk for Marines like Gunnery Sgt. Jason Church, the operations officer for Brig Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
It’s just part of the job, but the key is being able to react quickly and with non-lethal force, he said.
“That’s why we are out here today doing this training, so when we really have to use it, we know we will crush a resistance force,” said Church, who led a platoon of Brig Company Marines through riot training aboard Camp Lejeune, June 24.
The Marines, wielding batons and shields, practiced using various formations and lines depending on the situation presented to them. The basic configurations are similar to combat formations. A line is used to push prisoners straight back up against a wall, a wedge formation is used to split a large group in two. It’s a pretty straight forward concept for the Marines to understand, said Church. So, he added a couple of twists.
“I’m a role player today,” said Sgt. Timothy P. Hanson, a watch supervisor with the company, who stood over six feet tall and wore body pads and a motorcycle helmet. “I give them a feel for a real life situation, where I would be an out of control prisoner. I try to break their lines, pull them apart and distract them, so they can learn how to react and fill the gaps during a real riot situation.”
This is annual required training and isn’t only for corrections specialists, it is for every single person who works within the brig – administration, motor transportation, everyone. Both Church and Hanson said even if it is mandatory, they still have a good time.
“It’s a lot of fun for me because I get to teach the Marines and also smack them around a little bit,” said Hanson.
It’s fun for the Marines because they get out of their daily grind and get rough and aggressive, which is what Marines love, said Lance Cpl. William D. Palmer, also a corrections specialist with the company.
“The weather is really hot, especially with all of this gear on, but it’s a rockin’ good time,” said Palmer. “It’s intense. That’s what I like the most, that and the role players make it feel like I’m in ‘300’.”
As the training continued, the role players became more aggressive, throwing everything from sandbags to basketballs into the formations. It was nearly full force and appeared exactly like Palmer described it – intense. But, at the end of the day, tired and beat up, the Marines of Brig Company were trained, motivated and maybe just a little bit more tightly knit.