Specialist Brian L. Wilson (left), Company G, 203rd Forward Support Company, Third Infantry Division, yells in excitement as he wins a match in the All-Army Combatives Tournament semi-final rounds, advancing him to the finals, July 22, at Fort Hood, Texas.

FORT STEWART, GA. - Third Infantry Division Soldiers from Fort Stewart and Fort Benning traveled to Fort Hood, Texas, July 19, for the All-Army Combatives Tournament.

The III Corps combatives team defended its 2010 title there, landing as the top team of the 2011 U.S. Army Combatives Championship by nearly 100 points while playing host to the tournament finale July 23.

The Marne Soldiers went through weigh-ins and final medical screening July 20 and began the first rounds of the tournament July 21.

The Marne competitors were not an easy target for their competition with 11 of its 26 members advancing to the semi-finals after the first day of competition.

According to Derrick Noble, one of the Marne team’s coaches, the Soldiers were fairing well in the tournament and definitely holding their ground.

“It was excellent to have 11 members of the team advance to the semi-finals today. Of those 11, only three will be competing in the finals tomorrow but that is still excellent,” said Noble. “Yesterday, the matches consisted of only grappling; today, pancrase fighting, or open-hand striking, was added to today’s fights. Tomorrow, close-fist fighting will be added.”

Colonel Robert Cloutier, chief of staff, Third ID, who has been in attendance with the team since the first day matches began, said he was proud of the team’s accomplishments.

“A lot of these Soldiers are really young and this is their first time competing in a tournament this big. They are definitely doing an amazing job, and they advanced a lot further than may have been expected. Their heart, determination, and courage are phenomenal,” Col. Cloutier said. “All the hard work and training they did to get here is definitely showing on the mat.”
Colonel Cloutier said he wants everyone to know these Soldiers have represented 3rd ID tremendously well. “We had two Soldiers competing for first place, Private First Class Hanlin Liu and Specialist Brian Wilson.

"All these Soldiers have done extremely well; they are all champions in my eyes," Col. Cloutier said. "They have performed outstandingly and left everything on the mat. They are all winners.”
Among those from the home crowd to congratulate the III Corps team on its consecutive team title was Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr., III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general.

“I know how hard they’ve been working,” said Lt. Gen. Campbell . “They’ve really put a lot of effort into it, and they showed the Warrior Ethos, the values and the creed; they really lived it. They practiced hard. They trained hard. They won it as a team. I’m exceptionally proud of the III Corps combatives team.

“Last year, we won it at (Fort) Benning,” Lt. Gen. Campbell added. “This year, we won it on our turf, and next year, we’ll get an opportunity to defend (the title) again. We don’t know where, but we’ll do it.”

The bloodiest bout of the night came in the lightweight championship bout between two newcomers to combatives in 1st Infantry Division’s Pvt. Joseph Sandstrom from Fort Riley, Kan., and 3rd Infantry Division’s Pfc. Hanlin Liu from Fort Stewart, Ga.

Sandstrom, the clear aggressor in the fight, repeatedly landed heavy punches throughout the three five-minute rounds.

“His hands were down, and I was beating him to the punch right off the bat,” Sandstrom said. “My coaches were telling me to stick with the jab and to keep (the fight) standing up, so I kept utilizing the jab and trying to the throw the one-twos.”

Page last updated Wed July 27th, 2011 at 18:42