News: Team Minnesota places sixth at All-Army Combatives Tournament
By Capt. Joachim Eitenmiller
FORT HOOD, Texas -Sixteen members of the Minnesota Army National Guard shined at the All-Army Combatives Tournament at Fort Hood, Texas from July 26-28.
“Once again the competitors from Team Minnesota set themselves apart from not only the rest of the National Guard, but the vast majority of the Active Army as well,” said 1st Lt. Chad Malmberg, Deputy Officer in Charge and Minnesota Combatives Team coach. “We fought a total of 70 bouts, earning 320 team points, and finishing in 6th place among the likes of 5th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, Fort Benning, and Fort Hood.”
The Minnesota National Guard team placed sixth out of twenty-eight teams and over 320 competitors from around the globe. Army combatives is the Army’s training method for teaching Soldiers hand-to-hand combat along with instilling confidence, motivation, discipline, and dedication.
Earlier this year forty Minnesota soldiers tried out for the team that only had sixteen slots available, allotting only two Soldiers per weight class. The competition was fierce, but in the end the top sixteen soldiers were picked to represent Team Minnesota at Fort Hood, Texas. For fans following Minnesota combatives, it’s a known fact that Team Minnesota always proves it’s pedigree by performing well at the combatives competitions.
In the previous two years, Team Minnesota took fourth and seventh at the All-Army tournament and has won the All-National Guard tournament two years in a row. This year, taking sixth was a step up from last year, but soldiers on Team Minnesota know it’s still not the goal they want to reach – winning the All-Army tournament.
Much of Team Minnesota’s success can be credited to their high submission rate. Teams earned double points for an early stoppage, versus a victory on points. Of their 63 total preliminary bouts, Team Minnesota had 30 of their 37 wins by submission. The competitors who advanced to the semifinals accumulated an additional three wins, all three by submission. This remarkably high submission rate is another testament to the technical superiority and toughness of the Minnesota National Guard competitors.
“The Active Duty teams we faced at the All-Army prepare for these tournaments as their full time job,” said Malmberg. “In many cases they have world class trainers, coaches, and dietitians to ensure they have every reason to succeed. Our team relies on Soldiers who train on their own, without the luxuries of our competitors.”
Individually, Team Minnesota’s Spc. Sean Stebbins, 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery, placed the highest on the team with a second place finish. This was second time Stebbins has received the 2nd place trophy at the All- Army tournament. He was also second in 2010; he was unable to attend the 2011 tournament due to 1/34th Brigade Combat Team deployment to Kuwait.
“For me the most memorable part of this tournament was Spc. Sean Stebbins earning a 2nd place trophy,” said Malmberg. “This was the second time he had placed second at the All-Army. The dedication to training and courage under pressure is inspiring to me.”
“As a soldier, I can tell you that there may be nothing more frightening than engaging in armed combat with the enemy, but nothing comes closer to that than stepping into the cage at the All-Army,” stated Malmberg. “The competitor on Team Minnesota embodies everything you want and need in the men and women alongside you in combat and elsewhere in life.”
Other individual recognitions go out to Capt. Joachim Eitenmiller, 1/34th Infantry Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion; Capt. Matthew Jukkala, 849th Mobility Augmentation Company; Spc. Timothy Johnson, 1/34th Brigade Special Troops Battalion; and Staff Sgt. Braden Simonet, 2nd Battalion, 175th Regional Training Site-Maintenance. All of these soldiers made the semifinals during the competition.
The next tryout tournament for Team Minnesota is tentatively scheduled for February 2013 at Camp Ripley, Minn. The state tournaments are known for being great training for soldiers, creating camaraderie and pride among units. It also ensures the top Soldiers from the state representing Minnesota at the All-Guard, All-Army, and All-Services tournaments. Follow the Minnesota Combatives Team on Facebook at “Minnesota Army National Guard Combatives” for more information, photos and stories about the team.
Team Results – Total Points
1st place - Fort Hood - 441
2nd place - Fort Stewart - 407
3rd place - Fort Carson - 365
4th place - 5th Special Forces Group - 347
5th place - Fort Bragg - 344
6th place - Minnesota National Guard – 320
Bantamweight (110 lbs and under): Spc. Sean Stebbins (1-125 FA)
Bantamweight (110 lbs and under): Spc. Benjamin Johansen (134 BSB)
Flyweight (110.1-125 lbs): Spc. Eric Cabral Garibay (2-135 IN)
Flyweight (110.1-125 lbs): Pfc. Ronald Kettle (2-136 CAB)
Lightweight (125.1-140 lbs): Spc. Allen Kemper (1-125 FA)
Lightweight (125.1-140 lbs): Sgt. Benjamin Keen (2-136 CAB)
Welterweight (140.1-155 lbs): Sgt. Adam Minette (849 ENG)
Welterweight (140.1-155 lbs): Staff Sgt. Nicholas Dubois (2-135 IN)
Middleweight (155.1-170 lbs): Capt. Joachim Eitenmiller (34ID DHHB)
Middleweight (155.1-170 lbs): Sgt. Cody Lincoln (134 BSB)
Cruiserweight (170.1-185 lbs): Sgt. Gerald Brekke (434 CHEM)
Cruiserweight (170.1-185 lbs): Capt. Matt Jukkala (849 ENG)
Light Heavyweight (185.1-205 lbs): Staff Sgt. Seth Martell (2-136 CAB)
Light Heavyweight (185.1-205 lbs): Pfc. Joseph Holdvogt (849 ENG)
Heavyweight (205.1 lbs and over): Spc. Tim Johnson (1-34 BSTB)
Heavyweight (205.1 lbs and over): Sgt. 1st Class Braden Simonet (175 RTI)
Team Minnesota Coach: 1st Lt. Chad Malmberg (2-136 CAB)