Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
FORT SHAFTER — “Pain is temporary,” said Pfc. Talea Nettles.
Nettles is a security manager with the 8th Theater Sustainment Command and was the only female participant in the 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th TSC, Level 1 Army combatives program held at the gym, here, March 12-16.
During the 40-hour class, 12 Soldiers from the 8th STB participated and were certified in level one Army combatives.
“In the new Army combatives program, the Army is trying to catch Soldiers when they initially join the Army,” said Master Sgt. Jonathan Napier, noncommissioned officer in charge of training for the 8th TSC and a Level 4 master trainer in Army combatives.
“After they enter, they receive eight hours of Army combatives,” Napier said. “The goal is that once they complete basic training and arrive at their unit, they are allowed the opportunity to get certified.”
This training was the first of many scheduled Level 1 Army combatives classes that the 8th STB and Napier hope to teach in the coming months. According to Napier, initially, the program will be held monthly, but as the number of level one certified Soldiers increases, the program will move to a quarterly event.
“Level 1 is your basic ground grappling,” Napier said. “You get the fundamentals of working in the four positions that you will find yourself in if you and your opponent are on the ground: the mount, the rear mount, the guard and side control. You work on defending and escaping from those positions.”
Participating Soldiers said that they learned a lot and had fun doing it.
“It’s been pretty intense this week,” said Staff Sgt. Thodore Rogers, aviation NCO, Support Operations, 8th TSC. “They taught us that in a fight, muscle isn’t nearly as important as technique. I had a blast.
“It’s not to often that you get paid to go rough somebody up,” Rogers continued. “Plus, it is great physical training. I’m sweating up a storm right now.”
Instructors said that Soldiers caught on quickly to techniques and moves, and they were excited to see that level of dedication and intensity from everyone involved.
“This builds morale, gives the Soldier that Warrior Ethos that we want to install in all Soldiers, and it promotes and displays one of the Army values, which is personal courage,” Napier explained. “They are being challenged physically, and at the end of the day, they really enjoy the lessons taught.
“I think all the Soldiers are progressing and excelling in the training,” Napier added. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”
Size certainly didn’t deter Nettles when she came to class the first day and realized she was the only female.
“I was a little nervous at first, but after the guys saw that I could handle myself and take some hits, they came at me full speed,” she said. “I think it worked to my benefit because I got stronger. I can’t wait for the level two course.”
At the end of the day, each Soldier said they were proud of their accomplishment and they can’t wait to put that certification on their enlisted records brief, or ERB.
“It will be great to put that on my ERB,” Rogers said, and then added, “that and some ice on my arms and shoulders.”