March 7, 2012 at 3:52 PM CST - Updated August 27 at 2:09 AM
FORT POLK, LA
Training American soldiers is something that shouldn't be taken lightly, and Wednesday several Fort Polk soldiers continued a special training regime they'll be able to pass on to others in the future. Twenty-eight soldiers implemented hand-to-hand combat techniques they've been learning for the past three weeks.
They put their new tactics to work as they dealt with combative citizens in a city, in vehicles, and eventually a combination of both.
Fort Polk is currently housing a Combatives training team from Fort Benning, Georgia, a team skilled and certified to administer certification for level three Combatives. The troops are three weeks in to the month long training lead by master trainer Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Farris.
"It's going real good. It's been a real tough course for these guys," said Sgt. Farris. "They've now had basically three weeks of training up to this point where they've fought every Friday."
The training allows troops to defend themselves in combat when firearms can't be used. They can also certify other level one instructors and share what they've learned to prep other soldiers for combat. For Military Police Sgt. Brandon Smith, it adds to his bag of tricks.
"It helps you out in your natural life," said Sgt. Smith. "A lot of people see Combatives as an aggression releaser, if you will, but I see it as a calmer because you learn how to control your anger and control certain emotions that normal people wouldn't actually be able to control."
The course here Fort Polk started with 34 soldiers. They've lost six along the way, including their only female, who quit the first day.
"It makes me feel real good," said Farris. "These guys are a force multiplier. They're going to go back to their units with the knowledge that they've gained here and be able to make a serious impact in wherever they're stationed."
During Wednesday's training, soldiers dealt with non-compliant citizens in a makeshift city and at a vehicle checkpoint.
"Nobody got hurt too bad so that's always a plus," said Sgt. Smith. "It's actually pretty fun, I'm learning a lot out here. I enjoy it."
The class was divided. One group role played as citizens while the others performed tactics. The roles then swapped, giving the troops a chance to see both perspectives. Farris says Combatives follow their motto which defines a warrior as someone willing to close with their enemy.
"Combatives kindles the flame of the warrior ethos," said Sgt. Farris.
The overall goal is to eventually start a ‘fight house' at Fort Polk. The fight house would be training ground for Combatives, but it requires level four certified soldiers.
Fort Polk has plans to host a level four certification later this year.