On Tuesday, 29 October 2013, 72 soldiers from across the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) participated in pepper spray training. These soldiers were selected to take on the temporary role of installation gate guards, or "access control point specialists," in order to free up the military police to perform other law enforcement duties at Fort Campbell.
According to CPT J. Stephen Donaldson, Commander of the 551st Military Police Company, 716th Military Police Battalion, the need is the result of continuing piecemeal deployments of his MP platoons in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. With so few trained MP's left at Fort Campbell, the 101st Airborne Division selected soldiers from among all of its non-deployed troops to lend a hand.
Every one of the civilian and military trainers present on Tuesday had been through the pepper-spray training in the course of their careers, and, as Captain Ali Diaz of the Fort Campbell civilian guard force said, "It's much better than being on the receiving end."
Each soldier was blasted full-on in the face and then made to stand in place to let the full effect of the pepper spray take effect. The soldier then was called on to perform call for back-up and launching themselves at their attackers with batons. Most soldiers were able to fight through the intense stinging and near-total blindness to fend off the trainers' attacks until an instructor would call them off.
This article was summarized from the "The Leaf Chronicle", click Related Links to view video, and photos taken during the training event. Theleafchronicle.com article was written by Mr. Philip Grey.