LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --
Two Air National Guard Airmen recently finished the Air Force’s Combative Skills Instructor course here at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The Airmen spent more than 40 hours learning fighting stances and protection measures that they will be able to carry to their Guard counterparts throughout the wing. The course instructor certification marks the first of its kind for any Air National Guard member.
Master Sgt. Mitchell Hall and Tech. Sgt. Clinton Elkins received the training from the 19th Operations Support Squadron’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape expert Tech. Sgt. Nader Maghribi. Maghribi was interested in giving the training to the two in order to ensure the program’s widest dissemination.
“All week long we’ve been here at S.E.R.E. engaging with each other and learning grappling techniques with the Air Force combatives program,” said Elkins. “I was in the Marine Corps for an amount of time, so I have some prior experience with military combatives. In the Air Force as a whole, this course is being taught primarily in Colorado through some of the officer programs. Nation-wide it’s not really being integrated.”
According to Elkins, there are currently 15 certified Air Force Combative Skills course instructors. Elkins and Hall are two of them and the first two certified basic combatives instructors in the entire Air National Guard component.
“Sgt. Maghribi, who I’ve trained with in the past, is a master instructor here in this course,” explained Hall. “He was looking to do a pilot program here at Little Rock Air Force Base so of course, we jumped on the opportunity to be a part of that. We searched throughout the Air National Guard and National Guard Bureau and found there was nothing similar to this program. We felt it was a great opportunity to get the Air National Guard component on board with the rest of the National Defense Strategy with combatives programs and the members of the 189th.”
Airmen are provided the opportunity to learn the basics of the combatives course during the “Beast Week” at Air Force basic military training. Hall explained that the course is a condensed version of the one he recently attended and teaches basic principles of hand-to-hand combat. Elkins explained that one of his goals after completing the course is to teach his Airmen in student flight what to expect going to basic training and give them the Warrior Ethos mentality they need before they go to BMT as well as give an outreach for the 189th AW.
“Combatives are taught in basic training,” explained Hall. “It became part of the program when they realigned everything a few years ago. The Air Force saw and need and started incorporating it. They found that more and more Airmen were being pushed outside the wire without support they needed. You will always have Security Forces or other protection measures, but it’s different knowing you have the confidence to do something for yourself if you have to.”
Hall explained that one of their goals was to make sure the 189th AW was self-sustaining. Being on an active duty base, there are a lot of instances in which the 19th AW provides support to us when needed. Having two certified combative instructors allows the wing to support themselves in yet another capacity. The two can now teach Guard Airmen the course to ensure they are combat ready whether they are in the battle field or at home.
The combatives course is another way that the Air National Guard can maintain self-reliability and ensure their contribution to the Nation’s mission is successful. As the Air National Guard builds more and more on its readiness capabilities, the need for our Air Guard Airmen to be able to obtain and maintain the skills our active duty counterpart possesses is vital to the success of the mission. The partnership between the 189th and 19th AW’s provides the opportunity for an integrated warfighter and a self-sufficient wing.