News: 'Wizard, chicken wings,' aid in SERE, Army self-defense training
Story by Karen Abeyasekere
By Karen Abeyasekere
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
RAF MILDENHALL, England - A four-day Army training course teaching self-defense-style moves to Air Force personnel took place May 15 to 18 at RAF Feltwell.
The Modern Army Combative Program, level one, was taught by Staff Sgt. Matt Carlino, 100th Operations Support Squadron survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist, who along with other SERE specialists from around the Air Force, attended the MACP school at Fort Benning, Ga.
The course was initially put together here for a SERE specialist from RAF Lakenheath, who needed the qualification, but had yet to attend the course.
"I figured this was something that would be useful to other Air Force members," Carlino said. "It's useful for any situation which may arise where some form of self-defense is required, but it's especially useful in deployment situations."
The level one course teaches students basic ground fighting techniques and shows how to get out of particular positions if attacked. From those positions, students were taught moves they could use to gain dominance. Moves such as the arm trap and roll, pass the guard, cross collar choke, straight arm bar from guard, and front guillotine choke - along with other intriguing-sounding moves such as "chicken wings" and "wizard" - were also taught.
"We want to make people think, 'How do I get out of that position?' Carlino said. "To an untrained airman, that can be difficult. "The moves [we teach] are effective, and the course is designed to build confidence."
Students are shown the basic moves, and grapple on the floor in pairs to try and take the dominant position. As the week goes on, the students review previous moves and strategies each day, before incorporating new moves. The students are then given a simulated weapon - either a knife or gun - and have to learn how to deal with the situation when a weapon is involved.
One participant, Airman 1st Class Bradley Boyd, 100th OSS, said he found out about the training when he was assisting the SERE specialists with aircrew training recently.
"Everyone should know how to defend themselves, especially if they're going to be in a deployed environment," Boyd said, adding that he feels this type of training also helps with situational awareness and being able to understand what to do in different scenarios.
"I felt great after the course - it was difficult, physically, at times, but I felt it was necessary to acquire the full experience of the training," he said. "I would definitely recommend this course to others, as it's a good opportunity to learn and practice the moves that were taught."
On the last day of the course, the students reviewed all the moves they learned during the week, practiced and were then tested on the 18 moves covered. The instructor chose 10 moves and the students had to be 100 percent correct in eight of them; they had to be able to show physically and verbally what they were doing and prove they understood why they were doing it.
The SERE specialist who taught the course agreed that it's very beneficial.
"I think this course is an awesome way to work out," Carlino said. "It creates great camaraderie between shops, and makes people more physically fit. And if they are ever in a situation to use these skills, they will have the confidence to do so."
Carlino aims to hold the class two to four times a year, and said the next one is currently scheduled for Oct. 15.
Military members are encouraged to sign up, and the class is open to both men and women from RAF Mildenhall, RAF Lakenheath and RAF Feltwell.