By Pfc. Andrew Ingram, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs OfficeJanuary 21, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo. - In 1995, an Army Ranger Col. Stanley A. McChrystal set out to reinvigorate the hand-to-hand combat program in his unit. He assigned Staff Sgt. Matt Larson to research the best way to make a hand-to-hand combatives program that is important and appealing to the average Soldier.
This endeavor eventually led to what is now known as the Modern Army Combatives Program, a progressive and competitive blend of martial arts taken from numerous cultures and disciplines with one objective: make American Soldiers effective war fighters in close-combat situations.
During the month of January, instructors from the United States Combatives School at Fort Benning, Ga., are visiting the Mountain Post to train Soldiers in the third level of this deadly program.
Staff Sgt. Chase Lester, combatives instructor, USCS, Company D, 2nd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, 197th Infantry Brigade, U.S. Army Infantry School, said that combatives is an important skill set for Soldiers in a combat environment.
"If you are clearing a room and somebody jumps on top of you, combatives training will help you take positive control of the situation until your buddy can take care of the enemy," said Lester.
Lester said in Level III of the program, Soldiers take pieces of wrestling, judo, boxing, kick-boxing, muay-thai and jujitsu to become well-rounded combatants.
The hand-to-hand combat skills learned in the MACP instill confidence in Soldiers.
"In Iraq, there is a lot of clearing rooms and a lot of close quarters," said Lester. "This training gives Soldiers the confidence to take care of situations where they are unable to reach their weapon or that require non-lethal force."
Combatives accomplishes a greater mission than simply teaching Soldiers how to defeat an opponent with their hands, said Sgt. 1st Class Vincent Miller, chief instructor, Fort Carson Modern Army Combatives Program.
"If we want our Soldiers to be warriors, to always place the mission first, to never accept defeat, to never quit or leave a fallen comrade, we have to have a vehicle that trains our Soldiers in the Warrior Ethos," said Miller, who arranged for the Fort Benning instructors to teach at the Mountain Post. "Combatives is that link between what we say we are and what we truly are as warriors."
Capt. Ashton Elmore, operations officer, 4th Space Company, 1st Space Battalion, 1st Space Brigade, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, said he believes that it is important for officers to lead from the front.
"If given the opportunity I have no doubt I could use what I've learned in this class in the field," said Elmore. "This is a great opportunity for me to take what I'm learning back to my unit."
When the Mountain Post combatants graduate from the course Jan. 28, they will pass on the attitude, skills and confidence gained during the Level III training to their Soldiers, units and comrades.