PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan — The U.S. Army is re-emphasizing the use of nonlethal weapons and other countries are taking notice.
The Czech Republic army took part in training on the implementation and proper use of nonlethal weapons, provided by members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, for the first time Dec. 14, at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.
It is useful to take part in this training, said 1st Lt. Marek Krajcik, liaison officer for the Czech Republic army. Unfortunately, we have never had this type of training, he said.
“This is our first training mission with an international security force,” said Miles Sonn, a law enforcement professional contracted to 2nd Brigade. “This is the first time they are using this weapon system.”
Sonn said even though this was the first time the Czech army used this weapon system, troops are very positive, professional and believe in the weapon.
“From my point of view, it’s the best solution to solve the crucial issue of how to handle crowds and things of that nature,” Krajcik said.
“They were trained on the Fabrique Nacional 303 compressed air launcher,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Stephens. This weapon provides the capability to save lives and get people to comply, making it safer for everyone.
“They (Czech army) caught on quickly, learned the weapon system and are accurate with their shots,” Stephens said.
Stephens, the brigade provost marshal officer, said, even though they are classed as nonlethal, the weapon still has the capability to be lethal if used incorrectly.
“Proper training on the minimum-safe distance for engagement will significantly reduce the risk of fatality when employing the weapon,” Stephens said. “Training on how and when to utilize the weapon will give the commander another tool to use.”
“We are going the extra mile to train soldiers to ensure that we do not cause any collateral damage,” Sonn said. “I think this is going to have a great effect and minimize casualties.”
Krajcik said the Czech army plans to use nonlethal weapons in future operations.
Stephens and Sonn said they have received other requests from various units to train them on nonlethal weapons.