News: Soldiers learn basics of hand-to-hand combat
Story by Sgt. Mark A Moore II
FORT DRUM, N.Y. - Dozens of hard-charging 10th Mountain Division (LI) soldiers completed the five-day Modern Army Combatives class Friday at Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Combatives Facility.
The class taught soldiers the basics of hand-to-hand combat, equipping them with the necessary skills to neutralize or destroy an enemy threat in the event that long-distance weapon systems should fail.
Combatives instructor Sgt. Justin Hughes said the training is designed to help soldiers gain confidence and rely on themselves, not just a piece of machinery.
“It’s like that old saying,” Hughes said, “‘things will fail when you need it most.’ If that should happen, a soldier needs to be able to close the distance and take out an enemy effectively.”
But for many soldiers, successfully eliminating an enemy threat in close quarters requires using untried skills.
“This is a great opportunity to practice the skills we don’t normally use,” said 2nd Lt. Kenneth Russell, a combatives student assigned to C Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. “I like having the option of engaging an enemy close or far.”
The class broke down each move and drill to a teachable level. The intensity of the training eventually elevated to full-contact grappling drills, ultimately teaching a soldier how to fight and win.
“Getting to know how the moves and drills are broken down so they can be taught helps,” said Staff Sgt. Larry Parker, a combatives student assigned to the Light Fighter School. “When you get down and start rolling (grappling), you can take your time. You know what your next step has to be.”
By day three, soldiers at all levels of leadership were taking the next step and executing what they had learned.
“You leave the rank at the door,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua R. Silva, a combatives student assigned to A Company, 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion. “I have seven (of my) soldiers here with me. This gives my soldiers a chance to give me a run for my money and a little (friendly) ‘payback’ for the things they haven’t liked.”
By week’s end, the soldiers had learned valuable life-saving skills, earning their level-one combatives certification and contributing to a more combat-effective force.
“If these were my soldiers, in my unit, I would feel 100 percent confident that if something did happen, they could close the distance and take out the enemy efficiently,” Hughes said. “It makes me feel great knowing I was able to help teach them these skills.”
Soldiers who choose to continue may earn three more certifications. Levels two and three offer a deeper knowledge of grappling, each level increasing in difficulty and technique, while level four concludes with instruction on administering and facilitating combatives classes.