Q-West Soldiers learn the art of fighting

Story and Photos by Spc. Michael V. Camacho
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Q-WEST, Iraq – Armed and unarmed combat are crucial skills for all Soldiers, making the Modern Army Combatives Program as necessary as basic rifle marksmanship.

Roughly 400 Soldiers with the 16th Sustainment Brigade in Q-West have been certified at levels one and two of MACP while deployed.

In the program, Soldiers are taught how to defend themselves in real-life situations and think on their feet in the heat of combat.

MACP is composed of four levels. Each builds on the previous one, enhancing Soldiers’ fighting skills.

Level one consists of basics, such as grappling and escapes, said Staff Sgt. Travis McGruder, a 16th Sust. Bde. MACP instructor.

Level two teaches Soldiers to counter-attack moves learned in level one, while level three combines all previous levels while teaching Soldiers to fight standing up, as well as some weapons training, said McGruder.

Level four is reserved for trainers, those who can teach and certify fellow Soldiers in combatives, said McGruder.

“(MACP) trains Soldiers for real-world situations, because you never know when things can pop off and you might need to use combatives,” said McGruder.

MACP also helps Soldiers to be competent and aware on the battlefield, he said.

“Combatives is a great tool for outside the wire,” said McGruder. “Not everybody is going to fight fair. You need to know how to better yourself, settle yourself and keep a good head.”

Spc. Casey Chumney said there’s a strong sense of camaraderie in the class. Soldiers build bonds with fellow classmates through matches and help one another better understand the techniques needed to properly execute each move, she said.

“There’s a lot of discipline in this,” said Chumney. “You’ve got to know what’s going on and keep your eyes open.”


news photo
Sgt. Daniel Misch, with the 16th Sustainment Brigade, puts Spc. Cassandra Harvey, also with the 16th, in a headlock during a sparring match in their Modern Army Combatives Program class.