JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Many 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldiers are learning modern Army combatives and other combative techniques as part of their training in Iraq today.

Modern Army combatives is a skill level one task Soldiers must train on annually. Soldiers can complete this level one task safely by using the proper techniques and ensuring there is always at least one level-one instructor present during training, said Staff Sgt. Benjamin D. Zucker, a level-three combatives instructor with the 602nd Maintenance Company from Fort Hood, Texas.

"We always stay in the crawl, walk phase while deployed, we never go 100 percent," said Master Sgt. Jonathan F. Napier, the G-6 communications chief and a Modern Army Combatives Program level-four instructor for 3d ESC.

The Army field manual 3-25.150, describes Army combatives as an engagement between two or more persons in an empty-handed struggle or with hand-held weapons such as knives, sticks, or projectile weapons that cannot be fired.

Regulations state a unit should develop as many skilled combatives instructors as possible. The instructor-to-Soldier ratios should not exceed one instructor for 20 Soldiers. A secure training environment is important to instructing combatives safely, Napier said.

"Getting leadership involved is key, it provides a sanitary environment where Soldiers can train," Napier said.

Napier said combatives should be integrated with physical training as a way to build their combatives skills. He said Soldiers need to constantly train because combatives is a perishable skill.

"Soldiers who do physical training and stay in shape do better in combatives," Napier said. "Soldiers who can't do the minimum push-ups, sit-ups, and the run, won't last in a fight."

Zucker said that during combatives class, stretching and a good warm-up is imperative to training safely. He said ground techniques are taught first because it is the safest and easiest to learn.
"We usually do 10 to 20 minutes of stretching and warming-up, then we do sit-ups and push-ups to build core strength," said Spc. Jonathan R. Hargrove, a mechanic for the 51st Expeditionary Signal Battalion from Fort Lewis, Wash. Hargrove instructs Jiu-Jitsu at the east fitness center on Joint Base Balad.

Zucker said Soldiers are briefed to use "gradual pressure," which means using technique rather than brute strength to eliminate the chances of injury. He said another safety measure Soldiers can use is the "tap out" method, which is a physical or verbal signal to end a drill.

"Using these techniques keeps Soldiers safe," Hargrove said. "When Soldiers get injured, it hurts the mission and the units are not at a 100 percent."

The defining characteristic of a warrior is the willingness to close with the enemy, also known as the modern Army combatives motto.




STORY BY SPC MARIO AGUIRRE, 123 MPAD, 3D SUSTAINMENT COMMAND (EXPEDITIONARY) PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
FOR QUERIES, CONTACT 3D SUSTAINMENT COMMAND PUBLIC AFFAIRS AT: ESCPAO@IRAQ.CENTCOM.MIL .
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Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16