Stethem prepares sailors for real world threats

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Electronics Technician 1st Class Jonathan Stone, center, fights off simulated attackers during a navy security force sentry course aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63). (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Rebecca Speer)
Electronics Technician 1st Class Jonathan Stone, center, fights off simulated attackers during a navy security force sentry course aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63). (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Rebecca Speer)

Stethem prepares sailors for real world threats

by: Lt. J.G. Carolyn Sienko, USS Stethem Public Affairs | .
U.S. Navy | .
published: September 27, 2014

PACIFIC OCEAN – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) conducted a navy security force sentry (NSFS) course Sept. 19.

The course covers concepts related to appropriate use of force in protection of U.S. government property and military personnel, weapons familiarization, and basic hand-to-hand combat. These skills provide armed sentries the knowledge and know how to employ weapons and tactics correctly.

NSFS culminates with a multi-station exercise during which the participants are sprayed in their face with oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray. OC spray is a highly concentrated pepper spray used by military and law enforcement agencies which causes the skin, eyes and sinuses to experience a burning sensation.

“I think it is important because if you actually do get contaminated, your body will know what to do and how to react without shutting down,” said Operations Specialist 3rd Class Charles Evans.

After the participants are sprayed, they must complete a five-station course where they must demonstrate self-defense techniques. Immediately after being exposed to the OC spray Sailors, without a training weapon, must subdue a suspect by leveraging natural movement and bodily limitations. After Sailors successfully handcuff the opponent, they are armed with a training baton to use for the remainder of the stations.

At the next three stations, Sailors demonstrate a series of baton strikes and blocks. As the effects of the OC spray take hold, safety observers shadow the Sailors, voicing encouragement and leading them through the stations. At the final station each Sailor has to fight a threat wearing a heavily padded full-body suit for protection. Sailors must properly demonstrate the strikes, kicks, and punches learned throughout the course.

“We need proper sentries to stand a proper watch,” said Cryptologic Technician First Class Matthan Tracy. “NSFS gives them the necessary skills to do that.”

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