Close combat teaches self-discipline, confidence
Kalin M. Reardon
Because of today’s ever evolving operational environment, the Army has changed its focus from a linear battlefield to one without a front line. In modern warfare every Soldier must be ready to perform any task including those that were reserved in the past for combat arms military occupational specialties. These tasks include building clearing, Enemy Prisoner of War search and seizure, and mounted patrols.
In order to prepare Soldiers for combat on today’s battlefield, we must first instill them with Warrior Ethos. This is done by first changing the Army’s mentality of “in the rear with the gear.” The gateway to change this thought process is through the Army’s newest members. During initial entry training Soldiers go through training such as weapons immersion, convoy live fire, urban operation, and combatives training.
The Modern Army Combatives program teaches Soldiers discipline, builds self confidence, and gives them the courage to continue to fight. These are critical elements in training young Warriors for combat operations. Combatives is so integrated into training that during basic combat training Soldiers are given a mouth guard as part of their initial issue. Soldiers are also given a minimum of ten hours of combatives training, broken down into five, two-hour blocks of instruction. This training covers a portion of basic ground grappling.
Once IET Soldiers complete BCT they are familiarized with the combatives program, and are prepared for the natural progression of training, basic ground grappling, advanced ground grappling, takedowns, strikes and kicks, fight strategy, and situational training.
Within the 15th Regimental Signal Brigade, Soldiers continue to go through basic ground grappling training. This is accomplished safely because grappling is done primarily on the ground, reducing impacts from a throw or strike. The Soldiers are given a minimum of a three-hour block of instruction monthly. During this training the instructor trains the Soldiers in dominate body positions, escapes, and submissions in accordance with FM 3-25.150.
Recently the 73rd Ordnance Battalion hosted the brigade’s first Combatives Smoker on Fort Gordon. The turnout was amazing and the competition was strong. Sixteen Soldiers from the 15th RSB, four from each battalion, competed for the championship trophy and the coveted brigade combatives streamer.
After almost being choked out in the final seconds of the first round PVT Eric Cataline regained his composer to win first place in the inaugural smoker. The 73rd Ordnance Battalion’s team coached by SGT Timothy Grega took the brigade streamer with team members placing second, third, and fourth place.
The smoker accomplished two missions at once. According to the organizer, CPT Angel M. Graulau, “The purpose of the Combatives Smoker was to provide Soldiers who were not able to spend the holiday with their families, some entertainment while building esprit de corps.” The second aspect of the smoker is the attention that the combatives program received by performing a high visibility event on post.
The 15th RSB now has one Level III Combatives instructor and seven Level II instructors. The instructors held monthly Level I training courses, as well as, participating in sustainment training. The 15th RSB is in the process of securing more combatives slots with the end state being a minimum of one Level IV for the brigade, one Level III per battalion, one Level II per company, and one Level I per platoon. This allows the brigade to perform a Level I as well as a Level II course at Fort Gordon, which allows them to groom their combatives leadership, as well as integrating combatives into other training scenarios.
Combatives training can be conducted with a fully resistant partner, making combatives a great training multiplier, as well as, giving the Soldier immediate feedback when they execute proper moves or make a mistake. Because of this aspect of combatives is a it a great tool to use during other training operations, resulting in training that is fluid.
One way to integrate combatives training into daily operations is once Soldiers finish their task at hand, cadre members can instruct them in a combatives match. Imagine just completing a 10K road march, dog tired, you barely opened a meals-ready-to-eat, and a cadre member approaches with an order for a combatives match. This same philosophy can be used when doing urban operations or convoy operations training.
Typical training takes place in a round-robin type scenario, with everyone knowing what task they are going to encounter. With combatives, cadre members have more realistic training; a Soldier has no idea of what situation they face. That way the cadre only have to give the Rules of Engagement, ROE, and have the scenarios ready.
This allows for a standard check-point operation to become much more. For example, in an un-complying driver or passenger situation, the Soldier is faced with a search and seizure or possible apprehension of the individual. This type of scenario tests the Soldiers on tactical proficiency and their ability to think on their feet.
Combative training is the way of the future and the 15th RSB is transitioning to meet the training requirements of today’s operational environment. The mentality of “in the rear with the gear” is gone, and the Warrior Ethos philosophy is integral where every combat arms, combat support, and combat service support MOS Soldier is first and foremost a warrior.
1LT Reardon is assigned to C Company
73rd Ordnance Battalion, Fort Gordon Ga. He is currently the company executive officer as well as the 15th Regimental Signal Brigade Combatives Level III instructor. Reardon received his commission in 2003 from Troy State University, with a follow-on assignment to D Company, 702nd Main Support Battalion, Camp Casey, Korea.
BCT–Basic Combat Training
EPW–Enemy Prisoner of War
IET–initial entry training
MOS–military occupational specialty
MRE–meals ready to eat
ROE–Rules of Engagement
RSB–Regimental Signal Brigade
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