MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.-- -- James Slay wasn’t your typical new recruit, as one of only five percent of Marines who earned the globe and anchor without getting a high school diploma. Most enlisted Marines share the common background of having finished high school and joined the Corps. However, this squad automatic weapon gunner from Deville, La., with the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Anti-Terrorism Battalion, graduated from the Youth Challenge Program sponsored by his local National Guard.
Slay demonstrates that many roads can lead to the same destination, when he and his classmates graduated from the Non-Lethal Weapons course, which is hosted by the Special Operations Training Group Aug. 19.
The AT BN stopped by the Military Operations Other than War branch for one week to learn the fundamentals in employing non-lethal weapons. The course is designed to train Marines to deal with situations without always first resorting to lethal force, said Staff Sgt. Nathan W. Thompson, chief instructor of the course.
“The non-lethal training course, we learn to take control of riots, crowds, and about the continuum of force,” said Slay, who additionally mentioned he learned how to employ pepper spray and police batons if the situation dictates.
This kind of training is one step up from the regular duties of a rifleman in the Marine Corps, but is necessary for Marines preparing to deploy when they have an anti-terrorism theme in mind.
“The responsibility of the 4th MEB is readiness to deal with all situations”, said Lance Cpl. Seneca J. Pickett, a rifleman also with Bravo Company who also participated in the training.
“We have to be able to control people without hurting them,” he said.
“We still employ lethal force when necessary,” added Slay.
Slay, who has also trained in Israel, noticed the non-lethal weapons training he gained here could be useful in the civilian world, much like his Army training was useful in the Marine Corps. “If I wanted to get out of the Marine Corps, I could use this training to be a cop or work security somewhere,” he said.
Slay indicated he is looking forward to deploying with his unit wherever their skill is needed, and mentioned he’s highly motivated for the tasks ahead.
“This is that I joined the Marine Corps to do,” he said, reflecting on approximately a year and a half of service, “I joined to fight.”