BAMBERG, Germany (Army News Service, March 2, 2007) - The enemy is close, but your magazine's empty. You have two choices: kill or be killed. Are you ready to use your body as a weapon'

The Modern Army Combatives Program is preparing Soldiers to answer this question with a resounding "Hooah!"

In Europe, a mobile training team is teaching MACP techniques to any Soldier willing to learn.

"I've seen evidence of how vital hand-to-hand combat knowledge is to Soldiers downrange," said 2nd Lt. Joseph Proctor, lead trainer of the 7th Army Reserve Command's MACP MTT. "I do this because I believe every Soldier in the Army needs to be proficient in at least basic hand-to-hand techniques."

Proctor and his assistant, Pfc. Jeff Landa, travel throughout Europe certifying Soldiers as level-one MACP proficient using a four-day training program. From Feb. 5 to 8, they taught active-duty and reserve-component Soldiers here.

During level-one training, Soldiers learn holds, chokes, arm sweeps and other threat-neutralizing techniques, as well as how to gain a dominant body position over an adversary or escape a dangerous position, he said.

"They are learning to overcome their fear of closing with the enemy," said Proctor. "This knowledge builds confidence, and confidence itself can often mean the difference between winning and losing a fight."

Confidence in hand-to-hand combat is especially useful in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Proctor, where Soldiers often need to use less than lethal force to subdue a threat.

"You don't always want to kill the enemy. Sometimes you want to simply restrain him so he can be brought in for questioning," he said. "That's where this training becomes extremely useful."

"Lt. Proctor has extensive experience competing in various types of martial arts. He is very dedicated to training Soldiers," said Maj. Erik Verhoef, commander of the 1st ID (Infantry Division) Reserve Detachment. "He is currently in the last formal MACP training, phase four, held at Ft. Benning, Ga. Upon his return, he will be the subject matter expert for the 7th ARCOM."

In 2006, Proctor represented USAREUR as a one-man team in the Army MACP tournament at Fort Benning. Though he competed against teams that often had more than a dozen members, USAREUR took 11th place out of 30.

"I made it all the way to the semi-finals," said Proctor, who was defeated by a trained cage-fighter. "It was a brutal competition."

Proctor said he would like to plan a USAREUR tournament where his pupils from all over the continent could compete.

"If we make that (tournament) happen, we can draw from the top competitors to represent USAREUR at Benning in the fall," he said.

Adam Picket, a first lieutenant with the 54th Engineer Battalion and a Bamberg class participant, said he'd welcome a chance to test his new skills.

"I would absolutely want to participate," he said. "This is very motivating exercise, and it teaches you what all you're capable of. You can't fake it when someone's trying to choke you."

Proctor said any USAREUR unit representatives interested in the training for their Soldiers should e-mail him at joseph.proctor@us.army.mil.

"It's my vision to have all Soldiers certified to at least level one," he said. "I'm willing to go as far as I can to make that happen."

(Matthis Chiroux writes for the U.S. Army, Europe, Public Affairs Office.)

Page last updated Fri March 2nd, 2007 at 09:27