Story and photo by Spc. Eugene H. Cushing
4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
How do you fight an enemy that blends into the civilian population? How do you incapacitate enemies without killing the civilians they hide among?
Warriors from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, and 759th Military Police Battalion took a class on nonlethal munitions that answered these questions.
Troy A. McVay, a non-lethal systems subject matter expert from Concurrent Technologies Corporation, said that Soldiers now have choices when it comes to disabling a potential threat.
“Instead of saying ‘halt’ and going straight to lethal force, they now have options,” he said. “They may be able to use the nonlethal aspect.”
2nd Lt. Donald I.J. Stewart, a maneuver platoon leader for Company B, 2nd Battalion, 77th Field Artillery, 4th BCT, 4th ID, and a student in the class, said that nonlethal weapons can be used to incapacitate a potential enemy or threat instead of inflicting lethal injuries.
In the past, Stewart said Soldiers would shoot at a vehicle that seemed to be a threat and would sometimes harm innocent civilians.
“We want to work with the civilian populations we’re going into,” he said.
McVay said that the 4th BCT, 4th ID, received 10 containers, which contained a brigade nonlethal capabilities set. He said the set contained equipment that could be used for conducting checkpoint operations, detainee operations, crowd control, dismounted operations and convoy operations.
McVay said the class included an overview of the equipment making up the NLCS; a nonlethal capabilities overview; classes on equipment Soldiers will use; and classes on nonlethal munitions such as the 40-mm sponge grenade, 40-mm crowd dispersal round, 12-gauge fin-stabilized round, 12-gauge crowd dispersal round and tasers.
Capt. Rais O. Sanchez, provost marshal for 4th BCT, 4th ID, and class organizer, said the class was a “train-the-trainer” course.
“The intent for this course was to train these people, so they could turn around and train others,” she said.
Sanchez said the equipment is a force multiplier. When Soldiers go into a foreign country and kill civilians, even by accident, it makes the unit look bad, she said. When Soldiers use nonlethal equipment on a potential enemy, they effectively stop the threat without killing them, she said, and it makes the unit look better.