News: ‘Cottonbalers’ learn to clinch their way out of an attack
FORT STEWART, Ga. – At the command to fight, the bare-knuckled soldier lunges toward the soldier wearing boxing gloves. His goal: fend off an onslaught of punches by clinching his opponent around the waist to render the attack useless.
It is day three in an accelerated Level I combatives course, and soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, are close to achieving certification in a fight house on Fort Stewart, Ga. Their final day, May 24, will consist of reacting to assailants while wearing full battle rattle.
“The curriculum’s changed a lot recently,” said Staff Sgt. Casey A. Enos, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the 3rd Inf. Div. combatives program. “It’s a little more combat-focused than it used to be.”
Enos said the course, while it is still a 40-hour block of instruction where soldiers learn good ground-fighting techniques in case they encounter an enemy who can overpower them to the ground, now emphasizes teaching soldiers how to better react to assailants in hand-to-hand combat scenarios. He said Soldiers are taught to remain on their feet if at all possible, to maintain control of their assigned weapon and to hold off the opponent’s attack long enough for battle buddies to arrive to assist them.
Enos said all soldiers are required to be Level I certified and that there are more benefits to the course than just teaching Soldiers how to defend themselves.
“Level I builds Warrior Ethos, it teaches guys to go ahead and … close [in] to destroy the enemy [and] it teaches them not to quit,” Enos said.
Pvt. John M. Romano, an infantryman with Company D, 3rd Bn., 7th Inf. Regt., 4th IBCT, agreed.
The Hillsboro, N.J., native learned the importance of aggressiveness in the fight during the contact drills when his opponent used his reach to knock him to the ground. Though he was stunned after the match, Romano was back on the mat when his next turn came.
“[The course teaches you not to] give up and [to] take a few hits and keep going,” he said.
Pvt. Anthony E. Cortez, an infantryman with Company D, said learning how to gain the dominant position when on the ground was the most important thing he learned. He said the Level I combatives course has prepared him for whatever may come in the future.
“If [my weapon every malfunctions] and I have an enemy coming toward me I can use what I learned here so I can stay alive,” the Los Banos, Calif., native said.
Enos said the soldiers in the course performed with the best.
“They’ve been aggressive,” Enos said. “It’s a very exhausting course—it’s very physically demanding, and it’s mentally demanding as well—and I haven’t had any quitters in this group.”
Date Posted:05.25.2012 12:31
Location:FORT STEWART, GA, US
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