Land Nav, Urban Close Quarters Combat, and Army Combatives

Yesterday we did day and night land navigation for official validation. We were issued a map, compass, grid protractor (used to plot points on a military map), and a PLGR (Precision Lightweight Global Positioning Receiver). I was told that there are newer PLGR's in theater because I complained how inferior they are to my Garmin E-Trex in every respect (speed in acquiring a signal, user friendliness). Needless to say, we did program the PLGR with all the points we had to find but we also used our Garmins. Garmins are much easier to use.

Today we did Urban Close Quarters Combat (CQC). We learned how to clear rooms, enter buildings, move between buildings, and go up stairs. I weighed myself today with all my gear (helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, body armor, pistol, rifle, pouches, empty magazines, and a three liter camelback with one liter of water) and I am humping about 50 pounds of gear give or take five pounds. I was literally running and jumping through doors, up and down stairs, and between buildings with more weight then I humped during my basic training! The scary thing is that I was not carrying any live ammo, which is extremely heavy.

Tomorrow we are going to finish our CQC training. It will be more challenging because they are adding OPFOR (bad guys) and COB's (Civilians on the Battlefield) to the mix. Oh yeah, and blank ammo. We would have used the special paint ammo but they ran out of money.

I failed to mention in the previous post that we recieved our first block of instruction in Army Combatives. On Saturday we get our second block. According to the instructors, the Army wanted a fighting system that can be taught easily to large amounts of people effectively and is easy to learn. Gross motor skills, nothing too fancy, and that can be utilized by anyone no matter what size and strength.

They looked at Muy Thai, Judo, Ju Jit Su, Kali Silat, and Kempo. The Army sent people to study under the Gracie brothers in Brazil. The Army has always had some form of hand to hand combat instruction. Now, for the first time in the Army's history, the Army has a fighting system with written doctrine to go with it.

From the training I received so far, I am very impressed. The stuff I learned this past week I was already familiar with due to my past training at the American Martial Arts Academy in Jefferson City. We all received a pretty good work out and the Army instructors were on target.

The Army's Chief of Staff wants every soldier in the Army to be trained in Army Combatives. It is about time the Army got serious about hand to hand. Wars are not won by pushing buttons; the soldier on the ground closing with and destroying the enemy wins them. The confidence a soldier gains through Army Combatives gives the soldier more options on how to handle any given situation. Army Combatives, plus the training we received today and will receive tomorrow in Close Quarters Combat gives us all the edge we need to instantly switch from being a desk jockey to a line Infrantry Soldier.

Warfare is too fluid to have a front line. A Marine General said that today we have the two block war. In two blocks, you can have a squad taking control of a building, another squad in a vicious firefight in a street, another squad rendering humanitarian assistance, and yet another squad diffusing a confrontation between two warring militias.

I feel the Army is doing a pretty good job of getting us ready to go down range. I am gratified in seeing that in close to twenty years of service, the Army is finally getting it right in what we all need as soldiers. Too bad it took 9-11 to get that process in gear.

CPT NightHawk


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