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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
SAF Marines hone defensive tactics

By Nathan L. Hanks Jr. | | March 8, 2012

Nine Marines participated in a daylong defensive tactics course here, recently, as part of the security augmentation force training provided by Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Marine Corps Police Department.

The purpose of the two-week SAF training is to instruct augmentees on how to assist MCPD in providing security at the main and back gates, performing perimeter checks with tactical vehicles and checking identification cards of people entering the base, according to David Ward, instructor, Homeland Security Solutions, MCPD.

“Defensive tactics help build a police officer’s confidence and add another technique to defend against an attacker,” Ward said. “Unfortunately, a lot of things the Marines will do as a police officer will be in reaction to someone else, such as an attack. “Defensive tactics are not only used to prevent serious bodily harm, but to control a situation or subject without having to use a firearm,” he said. “They can use their hands, oleoresin capsicum spray or baton for those cases where deadly force is not authorized.”

Oleoresin capsicum spray, commonly known as OC, is a chemical compound used for riot control that irritates the eyes causing tears, pain and even temporary blindness. Six of the nine augmentees are riflemen with Charlie Co., 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, a Marine Corps Reserve unit headquartered in Plainville, Conn. The reservists will be assigned to work with MCPD for four months. These Marines are familiar with defensive tactics and have seen combat in Afghanistan while the other three Marines are from MCLB Albany.

Many of the SAF defensive tactics are very similar to the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, according to Sgt. Brian Fitzgerald, military police officer, MCPD. “The SAF defensive tactics training leans more toward police work but with a hands-on approach,” he said. “The instructors demonstrated, in detail, how to detain and arrest suspects by holding a suspect’s hands correctly to give the police officers more control while handcuffing.

“We were also taught if a suspect was being uncooperative, we need to disengage and move to the next level of the use of force continuum, which may be the use of OC spray or baton before using a firearm,” Fitzgerald added.

For Lance Cpl. Whitney N. Borum, administrative specialist, Adjutant, MCLB Albany, this was not her first time participating in SAF training.

“I went through this training when I was stationed at Okinawa, Japan, so I knew what was going on,” she said. “This was a great refresher course for me.”

The instructors told many stories about when they had to use defensive tactics in the line of duty, making the training more realistic, according to Borum.

“The defensive tactics training may save your life one day,” she said. “The instructors teach you how to protect and defend yourself in certain situations and to be aware of your surroundings.”

Borum recommends Marines sign up for SAF training if they want a challenge, mentally and physically.

“The instructors are great and they have the experience and knowledge to teach you what you need to know,” she said. “They make the class more interesting by providing an environment where questions can be asked and the answers demonstrated by using the proper technique.”

In addition to the defensive tactics training, the Marines completed a schedule filled with classes on security, law enforcement skills, deadly force, rules of engagement, CPR, first aid, vehicle inspections, personnel inspections and weapons-handling classes including Beretta M9 pistols and 12-gauge pump shotguns.