DVIDS – News – Guardians of the Fleet

The young sailors waited impatiently. Nervous discussions and anticipation dominated the conversations scattered through the crowd, obscured by the collective cheering.

“You got that!”


They watched, waiting their turn as the instructor’s hand rose to meet the student’s gaze. In its blue nitrile handle is a can of capsicum oleoresin, known throughout the park as “OC spray” and nationally as pepper spray.

This is just one of the dramatic moments in the training of Master at Arms “A” school conducted at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. One by one, the sailors come face to face with this glove-clad instructor who proceeded to spray the notorious irritant directly into the sailors’ eyes.

To make this part of the training a success, the students were sprayed in the face and asked to open their stinging eyes long enough to see how many fingers the instructor was holding in front of them. Once the potential Weapons Master provided the correct number, they took a course where they demonstrated basic proficiency in non-lethal weapons learned during training to repel simulated attackers.

“We are the keepers of the fleet,” said Lt. Jessica Bentley, seated under the large fencing master’s shield that adorns the wall of their graduation room. “It is our job to protect life, property and property. We must be blameless. We’ve got to live up to our creed, and if we stray from that creed, we’ve got to hold ourselves accountable. “

Bentley, Director of Training at Lackland AFB Naval Technical Training Center, is responsible for training and developing Sailors to become competent and effective fencing masters during their “A” and “C” courses. The shield earned here will be sewn over the breast pocket of their uniform, representing the responsibility that all MAs have the responsibility to embody and enforce Navy rules and regulations. Before that happens, students must complete nine weeks of training before taking their command across the fleet.

“The training we give the sailors here is the foundation,” Bentley said. “It’s like building a house. Once the foundation is solid, you can build it with anything. No matter what platform they travel to, our sailors are prepared with that solid foundation. They can get more site specific information in the fleet.

Weapons Master School “A” is full of very stressful events designed to simulate real-world scenarios. Some of the basic programs, such as the basics of law enforcement, are taught in a consistent manner. However, parts of the curriculum have been updated or moved to Ready, Relevant Learning or RRL – shifting responsibility from the fleet to the school.

RRL is a new fleet-wide initiative designed to give sailors modernized training at the appropriate points in their careers. New training techniques are adopted, and the mantra of ‘the right training at the right time’ sets a new standard for how Sailors are equipped with the necessary tools they need to successfully fulfill their designated roles under the larger mission of the Navy.

“An excellent example [of RRL] sailors get active marksman training earlier, ”said Bentley. “Former active shooter [training] fell on the fleet. We have now integrated this [training] here, which makes them better prepared once they arrive in the fleet to have the ability to undergo additional training.

They have also adopted new technologies, such as the stress vest, to help provide high-end learning capabilities. Instructors can strategically trigger the stress vests to deliver a small shock to students, helping to ensure that proper maneuver tactics are used in active shooting situations.

“It’s a very good training tool,” said Master at Arms 1st Class Victor Castro, an anti-terrorism and force protection instructor at the school. “I’m a big fan of this training tool because we try to give the training as realistic as possible. The goal is to get their adrenaline pumping. There is going to be a lot going on right now, and you have to try to figure out how to make the right decisions under these stress levels. “

Stress is a key part of the curriculum. Even the classrooms themselves, which bear the names of the fallen MAs, are a reminder of the seriousness of the profession. Students familiarize themselves with each of these cases, investigate what went wrong if they were faced with similar situations.

“Knowing the sailors we have lost over the years who have worn these badges carries an extreme responsibility,” said Bentley. “If their mental and combat mindset is prepared, they have a better chance of being successful. We want them to understand the big picture and we are doing everything in our power and the instructors are extremely passionate to ensure that we can give the best training possible to prepare them in the best possible way for the fleet. .

Date taken: 23.04.2021
Date posted: 12.30.2021 12:23
Story ID: 412148
Site: SAN ANTONIO, Texas, United States

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