By Michael Scheck, Chicago Recruiting BattalionSeptember 19, 2011
Recruiters from the Chicago Battalion wage urban warfare every day in the battle to find qualified applicants and make mission. They face and overcome adversity at every turn in the form of teenage obesity, low test scores and parental and peer objection to Army service. The Army recruiter course is designed to train recruiters to fight and win in the urban arena.
Although the recruiting mission is vitally essential in maintain Army readiness, a recruiter is first and foremost a Soldier. And a current requirement of all Soldiers to maintain that readiness is that they receive Level One Combatives training.
To help the Chicago Soldiers maintain their fighting edge and fulfill the Army training requirements, the Battalion trainers coordinated with a local Military Police (MP) Reserve unit to provide the Level One Basic Combatives Course.
"During a visit with a retention NCO at the Arlington Heights Reserve Center, we told him of the Command Sergeant Major's priority to get Battalion Soldiers Combatives Level 1 certified," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Draper from the Battalion training shop. "He introduced us to 1st Sgt. Jason Johnson of the MP unit, who offered to provide the training."
Johnson, an Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) Soldier with the 200th Military Police Command Group, gives the week-long training at a facility the MP unit built on its own. "The local Reserve units use to send Soldiers on temporary duty to receive this training. Now that we can perform it locally they've saved thousands of travel dollar expenses," Johnson said.
Johnson, a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, said he initially sent Soldiers to the training as part of physical fitness regimen.
"The program caught on like wildfire and I decided to get Level 3 certified so I could teach the course locally," Johnson said. "So far we've trained 141 Soldiers to date through the program."
The Combatives Course draws it roots when back in 1995, then commander of the 2nd Ranger Battalion Lt. Col. Stanley McCrystal, sought to update the Army's martial arts training program. Using the Russian Judo and Greco-Roman wrestling system of Sombo as a base, the Rangers added Brazilian Jui-Jitsu because it was an effective method of hand-to-hand combat and it was easy to learn.
The Combatives program is always evolving and constantly upgrading its training methods to ensure the program reflects realistic battlefield fighting techniques since modern warfare shows that there is no distinction between combat and non-combat Soldiers.
Johnson says that the Combatives Course is broken down into four levels, including the Basic Combatives Course, Tactical Combatives Course, Basic Combatives Instructor Course and Tactical Combatives Instructor Course.