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CJTF-HOA troops learn crowd control

By Cpl. Paula M. Fitzgerald | | April 4, 2003

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Marine infantrymen from A Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, here in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, are learning tactics, techniques and procedures for riot control during civil disturbance training.

Over the next few weeks, the Marines will be learning to employ basic riot control formations, how to channelize and redirect a crowd, and how and when to use non-lethal tactics during crowd control.

Sgt. Benjamin M. Fradette, platoon sergeant, Weapons Plt., A Co., 24th Marines, explained that the training has been picked up quickly by the Marines because the information is a culmination of all basic Marine Corps training, i.e. weapons handling and squad tactics.

"What I'm teaching to these guys is nothing new," said Fradette of Grand Rapids, Mich.. "The first step is to get the training mastered on the squad level; then the platoon will learn. After that, the entire company will do it."

Members of the company are also part of specialized teams like the "over watch" team and "snatch" team among others.

The over watch team includes a scout sniper or designated marksman and a spotter who help provide intelligence reports about a disorderly crowd to the commanders.

The snatch team concentrates on subduing unruly rioters.

Once the company is schooled-up on riot control techniques, Fradette will provide classes to the commanders.

He explained, "The commanders have to know how to properly use each element of their team. They need to know where the best place for their overwatch team is or when to use their other teams."

Fradette, who has almost seven years of riot control experience, admitted that chances are slim the Marines will ever need to use this training here. However, if a hostile crowd were to threaten personnel here, the Marines will be ready to respond.

"I've never done crowd control training," said Lance Cpl. Christian Onubogu, a heavy machine gunner. "It's worthwhile for us to get the chance to learn this stuff because if we ever are attacked, we'll know how to handle ourselves."

As with almost every facet of Marine Corps training, "safety was paramount."

"You have to be extremely careful," stated Fradette during training. "Sometimes people get complacent during training, and they don't pay attention."

However, Fradette is pleased by the Marines' performances. "So far, though, the guys I'm teaching out here have been really good. As long as they realize and are aware that something like a riot could happen at any time, even if the chances are slight, then they won't be ill-prepared. They'll be ready."
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