News: Soldiers vie for USARAK Combative Team
Story by Staff Sgt. Matthew Winstead
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Sixty warriors of varying skill levels gathered at Buckner Physical Fitness Center, from June 14-15, to accomplish several different objectives.
First, they wanted to see who was the best among them.
Secondly, they wanted an opportunity to test their skills against challengers at their levels.
And lastly, they were competing for a chance to represent U.S. Army Alaska’s team at the All-Army Combative Tournament at Fort Hood, Texas.
Rounds pitted combatants of matching skill levels and weight classes against one another under the watchful eyes of referees from the Modern Army Combatives Program.
Only the advanced skill-level matches at the end of the tournament allowed for mixed-martial-arts style rules, enabling Combatives level-4 trained fighters to execute full contact punches and takedowns.
The rules of contact in the lower-skill-level matches allowed only open palm slaps to the head and closed to the body, but not the spine.
Conducting an advanced-level match properly requires no less than six Army Combative level 4-trained officials.
Among those officials was Spc. Sean M. Boivin, currently assigned to the 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry rear detachment.
“Rankwise, I’m the youngest level 4 instructor here, but I love what I do and I’m excited to be here.” Boivin said.
Boivin refereed most of the final All-Army qualification matches.
When the competition was completed there were winners in eight different weight class categories. The first-, second- and third-place winners were:
Bantamweight: 1, Pfc. Amber Rodriguez, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
Flyweight: 1, Spc. Justin Benavente, 6th Engineer Battalion; 2, Sgt. Terry Ham, 49th Missile Defense Battalion; 3, Sgt. Alena Yoder 4-25th ABCT.
Lightweight: 1, Sgt. Malcom Smith, 4-25th ABCT; 2, Staff Sgt. Chris Sells, 4-25th ABCT; 3, Pfc. Blake M. Campbell 4-25th ABCT.
Welterweight: 1, Sgt. Michael Fuentez, 545th MP Company; 2, Pfc. Cody Mabee, 793rd MP Battalion, 3, Master Sgt. Anthony Garcia, 4-25th ABCT.
Middleweight: 1, Spc. Ernesto Ventura, 49th Missile Defense Battalion; 2, Spc. Michael Jackson, 793rd MP Bn.; 3, Spc. Brett Terry, 793rd MP Bn.
Cruiserweight: 1, Sgt. Ryan McKee, 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion; 2, Pfc. Curtis Parker, 49th Missile Defense Bn.; 3, Pvt. 2 Margarito Contreras, 4-25th ABCT.
Light-Heavyweight: 1, Pvt. 2 Antwon Jones, 4-25th ABCT; 2, Ltc. Vern L. Randall, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment USARAK; 3, Spc. Shawn Aronhalt, 793rd MP Bn.
Heavyweight: 1, Spc. Ryan J. Vail, 4th Quartermaster Detachment; 2, Sgt. Joshua Hanson, 49th Missile Defense Bn., 3rd Place Sgt. Curtis Min, 4-25th ABCT.