News: 615th ASB 'Hit Squad' trains to win
Story by Sgt. Christopher Calvert
FORT HOOD, Texas – Soldiers often undergo grueling, rigorous training to prepare them for full-spectrum warfare. Troops must be ready to fight at all times and in any environment. For warriors with the 615th Aviation Support Brigade “Hit Squad,” close-combat training is being taken to the next level.
More than 20 soldiers comprise the team from the 615th ASB, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division and have been conducting comprehensive Modern Army Combatives training for more than 30 days in preparation for Fort Hood’s upcoming three-day tournament starting Feb. 20.
The impending MAC tournament features combatants from across post who will test their skills by progressing through three different levels of grappling and striking in order to advance to the nationwide tournament held later this year.
“We’re training twice a day, including drills, moves and techniques in the morning and cardio in the evening,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marshall Goodman, from O’Fallon, Ill., an automotive maintenance technician and officer in charge of the team with Headquarters Support Company, 615th ASB, 1st ACB. “This training is highly important as these soldiers are learning skills here that they can also use on the battlefield. These guys have a lot of passion and drive, as they put themselves through such pain to compete and represent the 1st ACB”
Although more than 20 soldiers are competing to fight in the tournament, the team is only allowed to send two soldiers per weight class to the competition, said Staff Sgt. Sherman McCaskey, from Mobile, Ala., a radio and communications security repairer and coach for the “Hit Squad” from HSC, 615th ASB, 1st ACB.
“These unique individuals are training to compete and represent 1st ACB,” McCaskey said. “A lot of them came out to learn and develop their warrior instincts in learning to fight. This isn’t just about combatives - it’s about warrior ethos as well.”
McCaskey said that he expects the team to go all the way this year, as they have many developed MAC technicians capable of taking the gold.
“Last time we had one individual who made it to the finals,” McCaskey noted. “I think this year we can take first place. This is my third team, and with this one I feel confident we can win it all with the support of the Air Cav.”
Spc. Deandre Jackson, from San Francisco, a power generation equipment repairer with HSC, said he foresees a bright future for him and his fellow “Hit Squad” members during the upcoming tournament.
“Two years ago I finished second in the flyweight division here,” Jackson said. “This year I’m training hard to take first. My teammates and I have been putting in the hard work necessary to ultimately be successful.”