By Staff Sgt. B. Wesley LewisJuly 25, 2014
"MACP is specifically for if you're outside the wire and you're attacked where you can't use your weapon. You have to use hand-to-hand combat," said Pfc. Austin Reed, a level-one graduate of the TF Warhawk combatives program. "It's designed to work in a real environment, in a real situation."
The resources at Shindand Airfield provided instructors with a gym, protective equipment and time to develop the training.
"Once we (TF Warhawk) got settled down out here, I briefed the commander on my intensions on coming up with a program. He gave me the green light and I went for it," said Sgt. Maria Acuna, a level-three MACP instructor.
The course was set up by Acuna, a native of Phoenix, as a longer variation of the course that is held in the U.S. in order to meet all criteria while also taking on deployment operations.
"Level-one combatives is a 40-hour block of instruction that is usually ran for eight hours a day for five days," Acuna explained. "But because we're here and because the Soldiers need to carry on with the mission, we decided to divide the 40 hours up into two and a half hour blocks."
Acuna, who certified more than 40 Warhawks in level-one prior to their deployment, certified six volunteers in her first class.
"They're motivated. They're there because they want to be there," Acuna emphasized. "They're doing their best to learn the techniques and to understand the concepts, and they put a lot of effort into passing the course."
"Sgt. Acuna always stresses basics … technique … and that the main goal is to keep your distance to use your weapon, but if you have to get close, you'll be more prepared," said Reed, a native of Abilene, Kan.
Some Soldiers look at the opportunity as a way to improve their hand-to-hand combat capabilities while others look for a way to pass the time.
"It's an outlet being out here. It gives the Soldier an opportunity to focus on something they like as a stress release," Acuna said. "At the end of the day, it gives them something else to talk about other than their usual routine."
"I love martial arts. My stepdad was a mixed martial artist and he taught me," Reed said. "The Modern Army Combatives Program is the only structured training I've ever had for learning techniques.
Acuna plans to continue the training by providing future courses to allow additional members of TF Warhawk the chance to become level-one certified in MACP and become a more well-rounded Soldier while in Afghanistan.