FORT CARSON, CO – In the winter of 2009, Master Sgt. Jeff Adams and members of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat (SFAUC) trainers, began researching and planning a combatives program for the Special Forces and support Soldiers of the unit.
“The initial research and planning was designed for the 10th Group SFAUC program to stay online with the combatives being conducted at Fort Bragg,” Adams said. “The program has had great success and is starting to generate more interest.”
On July 6, the doors to the combatives room opened to host the first Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP) and the Special Operations Combatives Program (SOCP) courses offered to Soldiers of the unit. The facility consists of 4,400 sq. feet of mat space, and 20 sq. feet of safety training enclosure used for close-quarters battle and room clearing procedures. There is also enough training aids and equipment to outfit two concurrent classes at once.
“Special Forces are world class athletes, and they should have world class equipment,” Adams explained. “On that note, we researched several of the high-end training facilities in the civilian community to identify which equipment and which flooring was the most durable and available to us. Our equipment is all high-end equipment, with a substantial lifespan.”
Within one week of the Group’s combatives facility opening, more than 100 Soldiers have participated in either the MACP or SOCP courses. While more than 20 Soldiers have advanced to the SOCP instructor’s course.
Adams explained that the unit will conduct the MACP because it is foundational program. MACP validates the combatives training through the crucible of completion, while the SOCP is the survivability and lethality of combatives. The SOCP was founded on the MACP.
“By running these two programs, the MACP is a foundation for our tactics, techniques, procedures and our lethality program which is SOCP,” Adams said. “We are getting the best of both worlds. So Soldiers are encouraged to learn and to get the basic fundamentals of hand-to-hand fighting. Then taking it to the next step, which is wearing full kit, using weapons, cuffing techniques and scenario based combatives.”
The combatives facility will be open daily with formal training courses being offered weekly to Soldiers within 10th SFG (A). A designated member from the SFAUC trainers will be available if teams or sections want to reserve the facility and conduct internal training.
The three combatives programs offered by the unit will be the MACP Level One, the tactical MACP Level Two as well as the basic SOCP course.
“Our plan is to run multiple combatives training scenarios for all Soldiers assigned to 10th Group,” Adams said. “By doing so it creates that warrior culture within unit that we want, establishing that brotherhood amongst us is going to mentally prepare for the challenges of combat.”
10th SFG (A) conducts SOCP instructors’ course
More than 20 Soldiers from the 10th SFG (A) participated in the Special Operations Combatives Program instructor’s course here, July 12-16.
In an effort to develop internal instructors within the unit, Special Forces and support Soldiers conducted the first SOCP instructors’ course outside of Fort Bragg, N.C., Range 37. SOCP was recently implemented as the Program of Record for the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center.
The SOCP is a realism based, task-specific, system designed to bridge the gap between foundation training Modern Army Combatives Program and the unique needs of the modern day SF Soldier.
“SOCP is designed to enhance survivability while fighting on the battlefield while wearing full kit,” said Mr. Greg Thompson, SOCP developer and instructor. “SOCP was designed from ten years of SF Soldiers feedback.”
Thompson has been working on the program for more than 10 years with various units throughout United States Army Special Operations Command in an effort to build a combatives system that bridged the gap between the MACP and close-quarters combat (CQC) specific tasks.
Thompson and Sgt. 1st Class Carl Haskins have collaborated to further refine the SOCP program of instruction to meet the operational needs of SF Soldiers.
“SOCP focuses on situational awareness on the battlefield,” said Haskins, SOCP chief instructor. “For example, a Soldier moves through a structure during close-quarter battle and then gets hit from behind. He has to know how to survive the initial engagement, what his environment is and how to handle the situation. He needs to know what weapon to employ and when he can safely employ it.”
Thompson said, “What sets SOCP apart from the rest of the fighting systems is the system was developed with the feedback of SF Soldiers for SF Soldiers. This combatives system took combatives out of the dojo and placed it in a CQC environment with real world combat focused scenarios such as flex cuffing, weapons retention, detaining and searching techniques.”
“You can show them a lot of great fighting techniques,” Thompson explained. “But you need to think, what are you fighting with? What is your fighting attire? What is your environment? What are your advantages and disadvantages? … These are things to think about.”
According to Haskins, one task specific focus has been the proper handcuffing of enemy personnel. During combat deployments and during their after action reviews, Soldiers have encountered situations in which detainees attempted to escape and then what use-of-force needs to be provided.
“We’ve found most combative situations are when guys are cuffing someone,” Thompson said. “A guy wasn’t cuffed properly…wasn’t frisked and passed to somebody. Then they start fighting. How does your cuffing lead in to the fight?”
He added, “Use of force continual. When do you provide lethality on somebody and when you should not? You have to dial yourself up or down, not stay too amped up.”
The SOCP, as Thompson described, is developed to evolve at any point and time. When they receive feedback from the Green Berets on the battlefield on different techniques used, it is tested immediately by the schoolhouse.
“If you can show there is a better way of doing things, we will test it, vet it and we’re going to do it,” he said. “I don’t care whose system it came from, if its better, we’re going to do it and have it absorbed into the system.”
Haskins stated, “SOCP’s loyalty is not to any one combatives discipline but to the Soldiers in uniform. SF Soldiers learn to fight in full kit and use their organic weapon systems in close-quarters hand-to-hand combat scenarios.”
At the completion of the 40-hour course, 10th SFG (A) will have the most certified SOCP instructors in the SF community. Each Soldier will be able to instruct the basic course to members of their unit. Every two years, the instructor will have to be recertified as well as provide feedback to the schoolhouse at Fort Bragg.
“It’s been an honor to be here and to work with 10th Group,” Thompson said. “This has to be one of the nicest training facilities around and the Soldiers here have put in a lot of hard work to complete this course.”