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380AEW Article

Airmen, Soldiers Team for Combatives Training at ADAB

  • Published
  • By MSgt. Dan Heaton

Three dozen U.S. Airmen and Soldiers became qualified to teach hand-to-hand combat skills during a week-long course at Al Dhafra Air Base in March.

The course reinforced basic combative skills and gave each student plenty of time in hands-on application – on the mat in a gym, engaging, fighting their fellow students. 

“My goal coming in to this was to be able to hone my own skills and to be able to take what I learn here and share it back at home station,” said Senior Airman Shawn McCarthy, one of the students in the class. “This is one of those things that the more you practice, the better you get.”

The course was co-taught by Tech. Sgt. James Hunt, a member of the 380th Expeditionary Medical Group, and Sgt. 1st Class Jose Mendozza from the 1st-44th Air Defense Artillery.

“Every Soldier, at the basic level, has to be ready to engage in to engage in combat. It is at the core of our business as Soldiers in the U.S. Army,” Mendozza said.

Hunt previously served as a combatives instructor and has maintained his certifications.

“For our Defenders particularly, this is an important skill. Combatives gives you a resource if your primary weapon fails and you need to subdue an opponent,” Hunt said

Several of the Airmen who attended the course were from Reserve units and noted that as Citizen-Airmen, training schedules can be tight at home station. 

“This is a skill I am looking forward to bringing to my home unit,” said Staff Sgt. Doug Eichorn, an Air Force Defender forward deployed from the 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado. “I want to take advantage of what I can learn in a deployed environment and share it when I get back.”

Senior Airman Hannah Feldhacker, also a Defender Reservist forward deployed from Peterson, said that in her civilian career she works in the corrections field, where some similar techniques are taught. 

“Being able to certify as a trainer adds another layer to my own skills,” she said.