7/26/2010 By Cpl. Rebekka S. Heite , Marine Corps Bases Japan
FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, Mongolia
Guards in full riot gear behind the fence of Five Hills Training Area watched intently as their brethren, also in full riot gear and full body shields, formed a wall between the front gate and the menacing crowd that was starting to get more daring.
One man from the crowd darted forward. Others followed him. The crowd crashed into the shields separating them from the control force in formation behind the shield bearers.
As the crowd started charging, the guards began to bang the shields with their batons. The formation wielded their batons and readied their simulated non-lethal, crowd-dispersing grenades and canisters of Oleoresin Capsicum spray.
A few members of the crowd broke through the line, only to be detained by those waiting behind the line. They were rapidly searched and then placed against a wall where they were guarded, until the next scenario.
Moments after the clash, the crowd was pushed back and the scenario was called to an end.
Approximately 120 Mongolian Armed Forces and Internal Force members recently participated in this training evolution designed to familiarize the participants with effective crowd control techniques. The participants were divided into two parts; a control force and a crowd, to practice crowd control at an entry control point, skills that they learned as part of Non-Lethal Weapons Executive Training Seminar 2010.
The Special Operations Training Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, instructors who had taught the classes on crowd control formations, non-lethal munitions, entry control points and crowd dynamics watched and critiqued the scenarios.
Each scenario built on the last by forcing the groups to work on their weak points from the previous scenario.
The entry control point skills used during the scenarios were taught to the Mongolians on Training Day 6, July 1, after their Crowd Dynamics class.
“There are four different types of crowds,” said Sgt. Ricardo Narvaez II, an instructor with SOTG during NOLES-10. “You have a casual crowd, a sighting crowd, an aggressive crowd, and then you have a mob.”
A casual crowd is any group of people in the same location, like at the mall or a festival.
A sighting crowd is the group of people who surround a fight that randomly starts in the middle of the casual crowd.
An aggressive crowd is a group that refuses to leave, even when the concert or the party is over and they start making demands for more alcohol or food or entertainment, said Narvaez.
“Now a mob is like, after (the aggressive crowd) doesn’t get what they want, they decide to start throwing things, start trashing that area,” said Narvaez.
After the class on crowd dynamics the Mongolians were given an Entry Control Point class.
The class taught the Mongolians how to set up an entry control point for a secure area within a camp or to the camp itself.
“You can use man-made barriers or you can use nature’s barriers,” said Narvaez, who instructed the class. “Whether it be trees or big holes in the ground, you can use that. A vehicle can’t go through big holes.”
While two Mongolian platoons were in the classroom getting taught crowd dynamics and ECP techniques, the other two were going through three stations on different tools that can be used for crowd control and stopping a vehicle.
The first station was on acoustic devices used for crowd control, said Staff Sgt. Scott Hill, an instructor with SOTG during NOLES-10.
During this station the Mongolians were introduced first hand to the effects of a Long Range Acoustic Device, a bigger version of the device currently used to deter pirates, said Staff Sgt. Frederick Gladle, an instructor with SOTG during NOLES-10.
The LRAD can be used as a deterrent because it has a loud, irritating tone it can put out. If someone stood in front of it while it was activated for too long it can cause nausea to the point of vomiting, said Hill.
It can also be used to give commands to a crowd, said Hill. It is generally effective out to 700 meters, but under ideal conditions it can be heard further.
“The second station was vehicle arresting devices generally used at vehicle check points to stop drivers who decide they don’t want to stop when we tell them to stop,” said Hill.
The last station was a firing station where the Mongolians got a chance to fire the FN-303 that they had first been introduced to on Training Day 3, the day they were introduced to non-lethal munitions.
The FN-303 is a non-lethal paintball gun. There are four different rounds for it.
For training purposes, the Marine Corps generally uses the washable, pink paint projectile, said Hill. There is also a permanent, yellow paint round that is used to mark key people in a crowd. Other rounds available for the FN-303 are a blunt impact round that won’t leave any marks on the individual and a round that has O.C., or pepper spray, inside of it, said Hill.
The Mongolians helped demonstrate the uses of the LRAD, VLAD and FN-303 as well as everything else they were shown during the more than two weeks leading up to the demonstration July 7 for the largest number of participants from more than 20 countries in the Pacific-region, including, for the first time, a representative from the United Nations.
NOLES-10 was divided into two events, the hands-on demonstration on the first day and the seminar completed the event. During the seminar the group was presented with multiple scenarios, and then they were broken into smaller groups to discuss how they would handle it. After some time discussing it, the groups would come back together and present their non-lethal weapons solutions.
NOLES-10 wrapped-up with a subject matter expert discussing the actual events from the scenarios.