Know Your Military

Face of Defense: Master of Battle

Jan. 9, 2019

Army Sgt. Richard McDonald, a military police soldier assigned to the U.S. Army Central commander’s protective service detail, was recently certified as a master combatives instructor. Now, McDonald, along with other Arcent personnel, leads a group of soldiers in obtaining their Modern Army Combatives Program Level 2 certification at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

Army Sgt. Richard McDonald
Police Soldier
Army Sgt. Richard McDonald, a military police soldier assigned to the U.S. Army Central commander’s protective service detail, was recently certified as a master combatives instructor.
Photo By: DOD Video Still
VIRIN: 190109-D-ZZ999-101

Hometown: Haskell, Arkansas
Unit: 984th Military Police Co., 759th Military Police Bn.
Stationed: Camp Arifjan, Kuwait
Job Title: 31B - Military Police

Why did you join the Army?

I joined the Army to become a police officer. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to become a police officer or was very interested in their line of duty. I tried college and it wasn’t my thing. I’m more hands on then anything. I figured the military was the way to go. After looking into branches, the Army caught my eye the most.

Soldier removes a suspect from a vehicle
Combatives Class
Army Sgt. Richard McDonald demonstrates the necessary techniques to remove an uncooperative suspect from a vehicle as part of his combatives class at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 190109-O-ZZ999-021C

What made you decide to get into combatives?

Combatives was honestly something I’ve never looked to pursue. I did go to [the] Basic Combatives Course and Tactical Combatives Course, although I did enjoy it, [I’d] never even thought about going to Master Combatives Course. It’s a very hard school and I didn’t think I would ever be cut out for it. But when the opportunity arose, I couldn’t say no. I took the chance to attend the course and succeeded in completing. It had to be the most physical and mentally demanding course I’ve attended in my career so far.

Combatives Class
Combatives Class
Army Sgt. Richard McDonald demonstrates an arm-bar technique to his combatives class at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 190109-O-ZZ999-015C

What do you enjoy the most about teaching other soldiers combatives?

I love training soldiers, doesn’t matter what it is. It’s why I’ve stayed in the military. Now that I am a certified instructor it gives soldiers more of a purpose to learn. I’m not only teaching soldiers but even senior [noncommissioned officers] are attending my courses and I get to teach them as well, along with commissioned officers. The combatives program is not set on a certain skill level. Anyone in the military can attend the course and I enjoy the fact that I am the one who can teach and certify them.

Combatives class
Combatives Class
Army Sgt. Richard McDonald, in black, demonstrates a hand-to-hand combatives move on one of his students at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 190109-O-ZZ999-020C

With the sophisticated weapons systems our troops have these days, why are hand-to-hand combat skills still important?

Hand-to-hand combat skills are very important because you’re not always going to be able to use your weapon. Especially as a military police soldier. We have escalation of force guidelines that we must follow. One of them being unarmed self-defense. Same thing with [rules of engagement], you may not be able to use your weapon on your enemy and it is on you to be able to perform hand-to-hand combat if it comes to that or if you have to detain the individual. The combatives program sets the foundation for just that.

Combatives class with instructors
Combatives Class
Army Sgt. Richard McDonald, front row, left, with his most recent Army combatives class at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 190109-O-ZZ999-018C