Soldier teaches Ft. Lewis, Wash., company hand-to-hand combatives

13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)
Story by Sgt. Matthew Cooley

Date: 02.08.2010
Posted: 02.08.2010 06:06
News ID: 45074
Soldier teaches Ft. Lewis, Wash., company hand-to-hand combatives

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Spc. Jeffery Putnam, a Raleigh, N.C., native and ammunition specialist for 63rd Ordnance Company, 80th Ordnance Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) from Ft. Lewis, Wash., and completed what only a small percentage of Soldiers have — the Army Combatives Level 3 course.<br /> <br /> The four-week-long course was intended to teach the Soldiers more advanced hand-to-hand combat than they learned in Levels 2 and 3. <br /> <br /> "Spc. Putnam is a well respected Soldier in his unit for many reasons," 1st Lt. Aaron Kao, a Unit Public Affairs Representative for 80th Ord. Bat., said.<br /> <br /> "[He] is known for his mellow easy-going attitude coupled with a strong sense of professionalism."<br /> <br /> Putnam and his buddy, Spc. Ryan Miklos a native of Tampa, Fla., took nearly two months before enrolling in Level 3 to prepare their bodies and minds. After hours of Cross-Fit training, boxing combination drills, and practicing their grappling fundamentals, the two were ready for Level 3. <br /> <br /> "Level 3 is notorious for its high likelihood of injury due to the graduating requirements mandating that students fight against each other in weekly bouts within a UFC-like, Octagon-style cage," Kao said.<br /> <br /> "The bout regulations progress from boxing, to kickboxing, Greek pankration-style fighting ... culminating in the fourth and final week of the dreaded Filipino stick fights." <br /> <br /> Four weeks later, Putnam and Miklos both graduated successfully as Level 3 certified instructors.<br /> <br /> Before deploying, they put their newly developed skills into teaching and mentoring their fellow Soldiers by conducting internal company Combatives Level 1 courses, Kao said. <br /> <br /> As a Level 3 certified instructor, a Soldier can officially certify Level 1 students under the Modern Army Combatives Program, and it is a rare occurrence that such a task is completed at the company level with Soldiers given the opportunity to certify their peers, Kao explained.<br /> <br /> "I don't consider myself a naturally gifted fighter, but I really enjoy teaching and coaching others to learn the things I have learned," Putnam said.<br /> <br /> "I think that most people can become decent at fighting if they choose to push themselves." <br /> <br /> Putnam emphasized the importance of having others for support in his pursuit.<br /> <br /> "My wife Julia who is always supportive of everything I do and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mantooth, [a Biloxi, Miss., native of 63rd Ord. Company, and 63rd's resident Level 4 certified instructor] who was there from the beginning to help prepare me for Level 3." <br /> <br /> Putnam completed the Level 1 certification of over 40 Soldiers from Joint Base Balad, Victory Base Camp, and Warhorse, Kao said. <br /> <br /> Putnam said he greatly relished the opportunity to take a break from his primary job and take some time off from the Joint Base Balad Corps Storage Area to do something he greatly enjoys — teaching and mentoring fellow Soldiers.<br />