FORT CARSON, Colo. - Twenty-four Fort Carson Soldiers are participating in the Modern Army Level III Combatives Course at Garcia Physical Fitness Center Jan. 4-29. Combatives trainers from the United States Army Combatives School at Fort Benning, Ga., traveled to the Mountain Post to instruct Soldiers how to use unarmed combat skills in a tactical environment.The 160-hour course also certifies Soldiers as combatives trainers, who will in turn pass on their knowledge of hand-to-hand combat to their comrades."Combatives Level III is about closing the distance and finishing the fight on the battle field," said Staff Sgt. Troy Cochran, an instructor at the USACS, assigned to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, 197 Infantry Brigade, U.S. Army Infantry School.Cochran said in addition to building on the fundamentals learned in Combatives Levels I and II, Soldiers will learn the practical aspect of combatives in a tactical environment, spending the last week of the course learning to defend themselves in hand-to-hand combat wearing full tactical gear.After completing the training, the newly qualified combatants will be certified to train Soldiers in the Combatives Level I course."My company does not have any Level III certified trainers," said Spc. Ashley Pawlowski, a signal support system specialist assigned to Company B, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. "I am doing this because I want to help the Soldiers in my unit improve."Pawlowski said she hopes that as one of the most junior Soldiers and the only female in the course, she will encourage a younger and more versatile group of Soldiers to take an interest in combatives.Master Sgt. Jeffery Adams, Special Forces operations sergeant, Group Support Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, said he believes that there is more value to combatives training than simply learning unarmed fighting."I believe in the Modern Army Combatives Program," said Adams, a combatives student. "It is a good way for Soldiers to support the warrior ethos without getting hurt. Combatives can also build the confidence our Soldiers need to become better warriors." During the month of January, the Soldiers will hone their skills, learning new and inventive hand-to-hand techniques, finally graduating as certified Level III combatants Feb. 2.This article is the first installment of a 3-part series running in the Mountaineer.