News: Warrior skills put to the test
Story by Staff Sgt. Craig Cantrell
FORT CARSON, Colo. – Blood, sweat and dedication covered the faces of eleven 4th Infantry Division soldiers battling to become proficient in the art of Army hand-to-hand combat at the Fort Carson Modern Army Combatives Program Fight House, Jan. 19.
Senior soldiers and leaders trained as part of a three-week course instructed by Maj. Luis Fregoso, assistant fires support coordinator, Fires and Effects Coordination Center, 4th Infantry Division.
Fregoso, an MACP certified instructor, willingly assumed the task of ensuring the Soldiers attending his class received the proper training, learning basic techniques of combatives to become certified in level 1 combatives.
“We tailor it so everyone learns in a safe environment, and understands the basic requirements that the Army wants every soldier to know when it comes to ground fighting,” said Fregoso.
The students paired off and practiced the techniques step-by-step with each other as part of their learning process.
Fregoso tailored the level 1 training plan to provide a basic understanding of Army Combatives and allow senior leaders who, due to mission requirements, may not have the time to complete the course.
“Basically, what I am trying to do is afford the senior leaders who can’t take a week off to do this training, to be able to complete this very useful training and effective training for combat,” said Fregoso.
It is surprising how many soldiers today do not know anything about modern Army Combatives, said Sgt. Maj. James Atchison, senior enlisted leader, FECC, 4th Infantry Division.
“Regardless of our time in service, we must continue to hone our warrior skills,” said Atchison.
The instructor covered a variety of basic techniques throughout the course, including warrior stance, three different sets of drills, controlling the opponent’s movement, and submission holds.
“The purpose of this training is to get these guys to understand basic grappling techniques, some take down techniques, and dealing with a striking confrontation,” explained Fregoso.
The students also trained on proper techniques to create space between themselves and the enemy while wearing their combat gear using tools that may be available to soldiers on the battlefield, such as rifles and Army combat helmets.
“Now we do a lot more with gear...weapons transition and retention, and now it’s turning the focus at an earlier stage to building soldiers as tactical athletes,” said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Westrich, senior instructor, Fort Carson Modern Army Combatives School.
“Bottom line up front-the person who comes to the fight with more people and weapons is going to win the fight, and that’s basically what combatives is gearing you around,” said Atchison.
The course gives soldiers the knowledge they will need in combat to bring the fight to the enemy, and also shows them size is not always a factor, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Sherwin Macalibo, targeting officer, 4th Infantry Division FECC.
Applying the proper technique means you can possibly take down a 300-pound guy, said Macalibo.
“I believe when I look to my left and my right and I know the guy knows combatives ... it gives me confidence in my comrades,” said the 165-pound Macalibo.