U.S., French Crisis Response Forces Quell Riot

By Staff Sgt. Vitaliy Rusavskiy, Marine Corps Forces Europe ─ 14 October 2015.

U.S. Marines stand guard during a simulated civilian evacuation at the National Gendarmerie Tactical Training Center in Saint-Astier, France, Oct. 9. The exercise marks the third rotation of Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa Marines training alongside the Gendarmerie.

Saint-Astier, France ─ A large group of angry protesters throwing rubber bricks, tear gas and Molotov cocktails were disbursed by U.S. Marines, alongside French Gendarmerie, Oct. 9, as part of a training program specializing in restoring order and professional intervention.

 
U.S. Marines stand alongside French Gendarmes during riot control exercise

This training, at the National Gendarmerie Tactical Training Center in Saint-Astier, France, is part of a partnership between the Gendarmerie, a French militarized police unit dedicated to public safety, and the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa, French Gendarmerie Lt. Col. Jean-Luc Renault, Commander of International Affairs and Special Projects at the NGTTC stated. 


U.S. Marines react to unruly crowds during riot control

This training is part of a partnership between the Gendarmerie and the U.S. Marine Corps, said French Gendarmerie Lt. Col. Jean-Luc Renault, commander of international affairs and special projects at the NGTTC. 

  
U.S. Marines and French Gendarmes form a wall of shields as a Molotov cocktail explodes 

Prior to the Marines’ arrival in France, two French officers instructed the American platoon in basic Gendarmerie crowd and riot control tactics at Morón Air Base, Spain.

“Within only three days of training and one day of practical application, the Marines performed really good,” said Renault. “It’s important for us to continue this partnership.”

 
U.S. Marines stand alongside French Gendarmes during riot control exercise

This marks the third rotation of SPMAGTF-CR-AF Marines exchanging skills with the French Gendarmerie. Renault believes this training pays huge dividends noting that Gendarmerie can operate with the other French Armed forces wherever they are deployed, based on the situation and the type of mission. This training is especially important for these crisis response Marines as one of the unit’s key capabilities is embassy reinforcement, a situation when these skills may be used.


U.S. Marines stand guard during a simulated civilian evacuation

“This type of training really translates into our crisis response mission. Depending on the situation and whatever U.S. diplomatic facility needs assistance, wherever they are in the world, we may need to use these techniques to handle the situation,” said U.S. Marine 1st Lt. John B. Porter, a platoon commander with SPMAGTF-CR-AF. “This gives us the ability to execute multiple missions no matter where they may occur.”

Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa, based out of Morón, Spain, is a self-sustaining crisis response force prepared for the protection of American personnel and facilities on the African continent, when directed.

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