By Sgt. Joshua LaidackerFebruary 10, 2014
FORT STEWART, Ga. - "It kind of feels like somebody getting gasoline, pouring it on your face and lighting a match," said Spc. Joshua Willison, a military police officer with the military police platoon of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4-3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. "The worst pain in your life ever... and it doesn't stop."
Nineteen members of the military police platoon of HHC, 4-3 BSTB, endured oleoresin capsicum spray contamination and conducted fight-through drills on Fort Stewart, Ga., Jan. 31, 2014.
The military police soldiers completed the OC spray certification, which is the final training event in the three-week law enforcement certification course. The OC spray certification is one full day of training beginning with a class on what OC spray is, its effects and use, and culminated with the contamination and fight-through drills.
The certification consisted of the trainees being contaminated with OC spray and then maneuvering a seemingly short course with specific objectives and executing different options to apprehend combative subjects, and finally to a water hose for some relief from the pain of the OC spray.
"As MPs we have to carry this on the road because OC is one of our levels of force, and in order to be able to carry it, you have to be certified on using it and knowing the effects of being exposed to it," said Staff Sgt. Zachary Haynes, law enforcement certified non-commissioned officer in charge and senior instructor, with the 197th Military Police Detachment, 3rd ID.
"I'd rather get tazed six times in a row than deal with this," said Willison, a native of Hemet, Calif., about OC spray. "This burning pain is not going to stop until tomorrow morning."
The course length becomes subjective once the trainees are dealing with the blinding pain of the spray, with some completing it quickly and others being reset to do the course again, starting with a fresh coat of burning orange spray of course.
"It's an inflammatory. It's meant to inflame all the senses," said Haynes, a native of West Blockton, Ala., who has himself been exposed nine times. "It even affects your hearing."
Through bloodshot eyes and with a bright red face, Willison added the blindness "freaks people out," making the course quite difficult.
Haynes said being the trainer who sprays others with OC spray in this situation can be difficult.
"It is a huge tear of your consciousness," Haynes said. "You know how it feels and the sympathetic side of you doesn't want to hose them down. On the NCO side, as an instructor, as the trainer, you want to give them the best [training] you can."
"At the end of the day, when they all feel proud and they know they can get through it, it feels good," Haynes added.
Willison advises to just drop on the ground if an MP goes to use OC spray.
"Don't try it, don't do it. Don't even mess with this stuff," he concluded.