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News Link • Military

Holding the line

•,by 5th Mobile Public Affairs Det
Soldiers with shields, batons and rifles pushed through and maintained a dominant stance against a mob of about 40 civilians. The riot escalated as the crowd began throwing snowballs, slurred profanity and made offensive gestures at the Soldiers. The more forceful members of the mob charged the Soldiers but were easily pushed back, as many often fell to the icy surface.

The overall goal of riot control group (RCG) is to control the crowd using less than lethal force.

Staff Sergeant Lawerence Jameson, a section sergeant assigned to the squadron’s B Troop, served as the leader of the RCG. He found its challenging to stay focused during the conflict.

“It was chaotic,” said Jameson. “I keep yelling at my group to stay tight and hold their ground. As the crowd grew larger I was anxious to know when the breaking point was.”

The crowd initially approached the Soldiers with about 20 people, but once the RCG pushed them back toward the training area’s town, more people came from out of hiding. The Soldiers had to use whatever stamina they had left to control the mob.

Specialist Kyle Wilhelmi who was a part of Jameson’s RCG, felt the training surpassed his expectations.

“I never thought there were going to be so many people,” said Wilhelmi, a native of Lennon, Mich. “This has been more of a realistic experience.”

The Soldiers learn to maneuver with the shields that protect the entire RCG and restrict the crowd from harming them.

When the Soldiers are moving in their formations, which are decided by Jameson, they hold the shields up to protect their body.

“When used correctly, it protects not only me, but my buddies as well,” said Wilhelmi.

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