News: Soldier downtime leads to impromptu MACP match
By Pfc. Ronald Leydet
MUTHANA, Iraq -- To instill the "Warrior Ethos," the Modern Army Combatives Program is required training for all Army units. In Iraq, banter between Soldiers often leads to combatives matches often just for the fun of it.
Second Platoon, "A" Company, 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment was scheduled to leave for Joint Security Station Soto in the morning, Dec. 8. But, the Iraqi police escort was delayed, so it left them with about an hour of downtime.
While 2nd was staged by the clearing barrels to wait for a new escort, some friendly competition started. It began with some of the platoon members playing soccer before Pvt. Aaron Sahnow, an infantryman from Tucson, Ariz., and Pfc. Jason Haselgard, a combat medic from Rockport, Mass., began to spar.
It quickly turned into a combatives match, and it was "game on." The match between them lasted for roughly 1 minute and 30 seconds and ended when Sahnow got Haselgard into an "arm bar," causing him to tap-out. Although the match didn't last long, Haselgard gave Sahnow a good challenge.
After they completed their match others started calling each other out.
The next to enter the ring was Pfc. Ronald Harvey, an indirect fire infantryman from Harrisburg, Pa., and Sgt. Christopher Robles, an infantryman from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The match between them lasted five minutes, both giving a tough fight, and ended in Harvey achieving a choke hold on Robles.
It really got exciting when Sahnow challenged the platoon leader, Henderson, Tenn., native 1st Lt. Dale Cox.
Both were even on weight, but Sahnow had more knowledge in combative,which gave him the upper-hand in the match. With everything Sahnow threw at Cox, he was still able to overpower him and get out of most holds. Yet, although Cox was stronger than Sahnow, Sahnow came out on top with superior technique.
The match between them lasted for a minute and a half, ending in Sahnow putting Cox in an "arm bar," and Cox tapping out.
The next challenger brought a cheer from gathering group of platoon members and Iraqi Army Soldiers as Iraqi Cpl. Ahid Willy from 10th IA Division, 39th Brigade, 2nd Battalion, challenged Harvey to a match.
Willy's unit trains on boxing and other hand-to-hand combat tactics and he was very confident he could take down this American private.
They were well-matched as each took turns almost taking the other down. The match lasted a minute and a half ending with Harvey getting him in a headlock choke before Willy finally tapped out.
"I'm so happy with my unit and the training we do," said Willy after the match.
His platoon leader, 1st Lt. Saady, when asked what he thought of the friendly fights said, "It is refreshing to see your officer's train, interact and play with the Soldiers. It is not something we are used to. You are an inspiration to us all and we are so glad that you are here."