MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Marines with the Fleet Assistance Program participated in the Oleoresin Capsicum training at Penny Lake Field aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, March 20, 2014, as part of their preparation to augment the Provost Marshal’s Office as military policemen.
The FAPs consisting of Marines from several units aboard station, received a level one contamination of OC spray, better known as pepper spray.
A level one contamination is a direct shot of OC spray across the participants face, followed by several training scenarios to test the response time and reactions of the candidates.
“It’s a lot of pain and it hits you very quickly,” said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Hewitt, an aircraft communication navigation technician and FAP from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122, currently under the Unit Deployment Program at MCAS Iwakuni. “But, you have to get in the right state of mind to complete the course. Your face is burning and you have to fight off potential suspects who, in real life, would not hesitate to harm you.”
As part of their training, all military policemen must receive a level one OC contamination to be authorized to carry OC spray on duty. Along with the contamination, MPs take classes which teach them the makeup, effects, and reasons behind using OC spray.
“The entirety of course is very helpful,” said Lance Cpl. John Lynch, a military policeman with PMO. “It helps future MPs build that confidence needed, so if they are ever in an incident involving OC spray, they will be able to react appropriately.”
Lynch, already being an MP, took the pre-service class with the FAPs and, despite already having his OC certification, volunteered to be sprayed again, with the motto “one team, one fight,” in mind.
Military policemen only need to receive a level one contamination once in their career, however the Provost Marshal by discretion, may require the PMO personnel to receive level two, an OC cross contamination; or level three, aerial contamination training.
For FAPs like Hewitt, being a military policeman is temporary as long as his UDP orders last. However, the skills he and others learn will help them in future endeavors.