View Full Version : General drums up support for non-lethal weapons

08-24-04, 07:21 AM
General drums up support for non-lethal weapons
Submitted by: MCB Hawaii
Story Identification #: 200481713351
Story by Pfc. Rich Mattingly

KUKULEGANGA TRAINING CAMP, Sri Lanka (Aug. 6, 2004) -- Flown in for the opening of the 2004 Non-Lethal Weapons Seminar Aug. 3, the Marine Forces Pacific Commanding General, was greeted by the Command Staff of the Sri Lankan Army.

Lt. Gen. Wallace C. Gregson was greeted by tabla drumming and traditional Sinhalese dancing courtesy of the Sri Lankan Army upon arriving at the conference site.
After the lighting of a ceremonial oil lamp, a Sinhalese custom derived from Buddhist tradition, by the command representatives of the 13 countries participating in this year's NOLES, Gregson thanked everyone for their attendance. He also shared his belief the United States had much it can learn from the experience of many of the nations attending the seminar.

"We're only the latest nation to become thoroughly entangled in this war against dedicated separatists and insurgents. We learn much from many of our colleagues among the armed forces of the Pacific nations and especially from Sri Lanka who has been fighting against an insurgent movement for a very long time," said Lt. Gen. Gregson.

Lt. Gen. Gregson briefly touched on the history and development of non-lethal tactics from operations during the UN's withdrawal from Somalia to the present. In the Nineties, the Marine Corps was named executive agent of the Department of Defense for non-lethal weapons, shortly after the DoD became engaged with developing tactics to deal with insurgents during wartime as well as missions other than war. Since then, the Marine Corps' Special Operations Training Group has steadily been developing non-lethal tactics, techniques and procedures, many of which have been taught to Sri Lankan Army and Police Special Task Force units over the past two weeks.

Following the seminar's opening remarks, Lt. Gen. Gregson and the other country representatives were shown an elaborate static display of various improvised explosive devices that had been used against Sri Lankan forces during Sri Lanka's 20-year campaign against the Tamil Separatist movement. The Tamil Tigers have been called the inventors of the suicide vest and martyrdom bombings, and despite the two year old memorandum of understanding currently bringing a ceasefire to Sri Lanka, recent bombings have shaken the stability and peace of the island nation. Speaking to the Marines from III MEF involved in the, Lt. Gen. Gregson touched on this and expressed a hope the training during NOLES 04 would reap great benefits for both the Marine Corps and Sri Lankan Forces.

"The IED's they've discovered here are the same as we're seeing other places. We might be fighting the students, but they're fighting the professors here. The relationship you build while you're teaching will be exceptionally valuable because there is a lot we can learn from the Sri Lankan forces."

Addressing the Sri Lankan forces after thanking the Marines for their participation, the general again stressed the importance of non-lethal tactics in modern warfare.

"What the terrorist is trying to do is portray our side as the ones killing innocent people. A lot of the things we can do with non-lethals involve separating the innocent bystanders and human shields from the people who are causing harm," said Lt. Gen. Gregson.

"We are well aware that you, the Sri Lankan Army and Sri Lankan Police force, have been fighting a very difficult enemy for over 20 years now. We want to have an exchange of views this week, and I ask you to push my Marines hard, make them work!" he continued.

The Non-Lethal Weapons Seminar 04 is set to conclude this weekend and will showcase the III MEF Marines and Sri Lankan forces using non-lethal tactics during a simulated riot. The Marines will then return home to Okinawa.


Lieutenant General Wallace Gregson inspects improvised explosive devices recovered by the Sri Lankan Army during fighting with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam while Major General Sarath Fonseca explains some of the ways the insugents in Sri Lanka use terrorist tactics . General Gregson went on comment that if the insurgents the Marine Corps faces today are the students, then surely the LTTE are the professors in the subjects of terrorism and suicide bombing. Photo by: Pfc. Rich Mattingly



08-24-04, 07:22 AM
Marines from III MEF train at NOLES 04
Submitted by: MCB Hawaii
Story Identification #: 200481713236
Story by Pfc. Rich Mattingly

KUKULEGANGA TRAINING CAMP, Sri Lanka (Aug. 6, 2004) -- “Ok!” yells the sergeant wearing the familiar black shirt of a United States Marine Corps instructor. A hundred war cries issue in response from the group of cammie-clad warriors gathered around him in a semi-circle. “Ok!” Holding his squirming lance corporal training aid in a wrist lock, he continues, “Now, bring your elbows in tight, and pull down!”

The scene, along with grunts of pain and compliance, is pretty standard for the Marine Corps. This particular jungle training site, however, isn’t a clime or place where leathernecks are often found.

Twelve Marines and a Navy Corpsman have traveled from Okinawa to the Kukuleganga Training Camp in central Sri Lanka to assist Special Operations Training Group instructors during the training portion of the Non-Lethal Weapons Seminar 2004. NOLES 04 will primarily be composed of a three-day seminar to be attended by 13 nations’ military leaders. After a week and a half of training, SOTG-style, in non-lethal combat techniques, the Sri Lankans and Marines will demonstrate their non-lethal tactics, techniques and procedures at the conclusion of NOLES 04.

Marine Forces Pacific and the United States Pacific Command hope the Marines’ trip will be beneficial to everyone involved from the top down.

“This seminar and the concurrent training between Marines and Sri Lankans works on multiple levels,” said Major John Mee, South Asia desk officer for Marforpac. “We can use the training to advance peacekeeping roles and help the Sri Lankans use non-lethal means to quell riots, which will improve human rights. We also foster cooperation with the other countries who are participating in the seminar, which can further how well we can function in the area during an operation. Improving our communication with other countries and their forces is key for us.”

Sergeant Mark “Ski” Massalski, senior instructor, military operations other than war section, Marine Corps Special Operations Training Group, said the Sri Lankan jungle setting for this year’s Non Lethal Weapons Seminar adds an entirely new dimension to training.

“Due to the language barrier, it’s hard to appeal to the people who learn by listening. You have to focus more on repetition and visually showing them the different techniques,” said Sgt. Ski. “The Sri Lankans are motivated and ready to train, so as long as we’ve keeping the classes moving and energetic, we’ve been having great results.”

From classroom talks about the force continuum and crowd control techniques, the Marines, Corpsman and Sri Lankans quickly moved to the training field where the SOTG instructors have been putting them through the basics of pressure point control, compliance and baton techniques. Later in the training, riot-control formations will be taught.

The Marines and Sailor training alongside the Sri Lankans were tasked by III MEF through SOTG to attend the training and seminar from Okinawa.

“We brought four Marines from the wing, four from the force service support group and four from division to facilitate this operation as well as a corpsman,” said Capt. Zachary Karem, SOTG III MEF expeditionary warfare branch head. “Involving the Marines in the actual training perpetuates good will and helps the instructors accomplish their mission,” he added. “The Sri Lankans are in an environment where they could really employ this non-lethal training.”

As the long war-plagued country of Sri Lanka sees the dawn of peace, military leaders there know they will need to change with the times.

“We are moving forward toward peace,” said Major Desilva Kapila, Sri Lankan Armored Corps. “Our army is more than 100,000 men strong. If the war here ends, these soldiers cannot just go on, trained only for lethal combat. Our hope is that knowledge of non-lethal techniques will help us to assist the United Nations in peacekeeping missions.”
NOLES 04 will conclude August 5.


Lance Corporal William Yazel gets some hands-on experience with pressure points and compliance techniques with the help of a Sri Lankan Army Regular during this year's Non-Lethal Weapons Seminar at Kukuleganga Training Camp in Sri Lanka. Photo by: Pfc Rich Mattingly