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.
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.
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.
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.
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.