SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – Beanbags, rubber bullets, paintballs and thousands of hard rubber balls filled the air near Sparta, Ill., Sept. 19, as representatives of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate conducted familiarization sessions for planners at U.S. Transportation Command, its components and the 375th Air Mobility Wing.
The sessions at the Illinois Army National Guard training area began with the sounds of sizzling electricity and groaning volunteers as they “rode the lightning” during demonstrations of non-lethal Tasers.
“Non-lethal weapons assist our operating forces in minimizing civilian casualties and collateral damage,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris White, U.S. Coast Guard liaison officer, Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate. “Non-lethal weapons play a critical role in filling gaps between 'shouting and shooting' options as part of the escalation-of-force.”
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Lance Stratton, deputy chief, USTRANSCOM Force Protection, participated in the event.
“Today we’re doing a non-lethal weapons familiarization fire event involving planners from the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, United States Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command and Military Sealift Command to familiarize them with non-lethal weapons capabilities that are in the Department of Defense inventory,” Stratton said.
“We currently have people on range firing the handheld Taser device,” Stratton continued. “Then they’ll fire the FN303, which is a paintball gun on steroids, it’s a compressed air weapon.”
Shooters fired beanbags and fin-stabilized rounds from 12-gauge shotguns, and non-lethal munitions from M203 40mm grenade launchers before the sessions ended.
“We’ll throw handheld sting-ball grenades, also known as the hornet’s nest, a non-lethal grenade that throws rubber pellets 360 degrees from the point of impact,” Stratton said. “Then we culminate with firing the modular non-lethal munition, a non-lethal claymore mine.”
The weapons and munitions demonstrated should prove valuable for USTRANSCOM and other commands in the future.
"Our warfighters fulfill a variety of complex missions ranging from peacekeeping and humanitarian scenarios to full-scale combat operations," White said. “The types of TRANSCOM missions and environments where non-lethal weapons can play a critical role include: maritime or port security; convoy operations; humanitarian aid distribution; security; crowd control; and facility or infrastructure security.”
The Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons Program stimulates and coordinates non-lethal weapons requirements of the U.S. Armed Services and allocates resources to help meet these requirements. The Commandant of the Marine Corps serves as the Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons Executive Agent.
Located at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate serves as the Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons Program Executive Agent's day-to-day management office.
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