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Vandenberg Airmen participate in joint service training

CAMP SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- During a Modern Army Combatives Program training exercise, Spc. Anthony Michaelson, from Camp San Luis Obispo and Senior Airman Justin Egan, from the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron practice combat tactics here Thursday, April 22, 2010. Twenty Airmen from the 30th CES are now certified to instruct MACP. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Heather R. Shaw)

CAMP SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- During a Modern Army Combatives Program training exercise, Spc. Anthony Michaelson, from Camp San Luis Obispo and Senior Airman Justin Egan, from the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron practice combat tactics here Thursday, April 22, 2010. Twenty Airmen from the 30th CES are now certified to instruct MACP. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Heather R. Shaw)

CAMP SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Senior Airman Justin Egan, from the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron uses strategies learned during the Modern Army Combatives Program training in an attempt to overcome his opponent Spc. Anthony Michaelson here Thursday, April 22, 2010. The MACP training is a combination of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and standard combat skills. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Heather R. Shaw)

CAMP SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Senior Airman Justin Egan, from the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron uses strategies learned during the Modern Army Combatives Program training in an attempt to overcome his opponent Spc. Anthony Michaelson here Thursday, April 22, 2010. The MACP training is a combination of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and standard combat skills. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Heather R. Shaw)

CAMP SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Airman 1st Class Matthew Belmer and Staff Sgt. Jonathan Rivera, from the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron, use techniques learned from the Modern Army Combatives Program while practicing drills their moves here Thursday, April 22, 2010. The MACP training is a combination of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and standard combat skills. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Heather R. Shaw)

CAMP SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Airman 1st Class Matthew Belmer and Staff Sgt. Jonathan Rivera, from the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron, use techniques learned from the Modern Army Combatives Program while practicing drills their moves here Thursday, April 22, 2010. The MACP training is a combination of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and standard combat skills. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Heather R. Shaw)

CAMP SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Awaiting the first move, Staff Sgt. Jarrett Pablo and Staff Sgt. Michael Elkins, Modern Army Combatives Program students practice combat skills here Thursday, April 22, 2010. Since September 2009, the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron has sent 20 Airmen to attend the joint-service training to become instructors.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Heather R. Shaw)

CAMP SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Awaiting the first move, Staff Sgt. Jarrett Pablo and Staff Sgt. Michael Elkins, Modern Army Combatives Program students practice combat skills here Thursday, April 22, 2010. Since September 2009, the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron has sent 20 Airmen to attend the joint-service training to become instructors. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Heather R. Shaw)

CAMP SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Staff Sgt. Jarrett Pablo and Staff Sgt. Michael Elkins, Modern Army Combatives Program students practice techniques to overpower each other here Thursday, April 23, 2010. Since September 2009, the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron has sent 20 Airmen to attend the joint-service training to become instructors. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Heather R. Shaw)

CAMP SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Staff Sgt. Jarrett Pablo and Staff Sgt. Michael Elkins, Modern Army Combatives Program students practice techniques to overpower each other here Thursday, April 23, 2010. Since September 2009, the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron has sent 20 Airmen to attend the joint-service training to become instructors. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Heather R. Shaw)

CAMP SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Standing steadfast and posed, with sweat dripping from his furrowed brow, an Airman holds his gaze locked on his opponent's eyes. Trying to size up his enemy's plans, he watches his foe's every move. Using the techniques he has learned, he waits for just the right moment to attack. As he waits patiently, he senses an off balanced opponent. Using swiftness and agility, he brings him to the ground and overpowers the adversary.

For a handful of Airmen from the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron, this scenario was a way of life for two weeks while the Airmen participated in the Modern Army Combatives Program training.

The Army's 2nd Ranger Battalion founded the MACP in 1995, and it has now been incorporated into the Army's core tasks as a requirement for all Army platoons.

The Air Force, and the first time for Airmen at Vandenberg participated in the Army's MACP training. Although the Air Force doesn't require the training, the 30th CES has taken the initiative to train 20 of their Airmen.

"While attending Combat Skills Training with the Army, I was introduced to combative training and realized how much of a life-saving skill it could be," said Master Sgt. Derril McDonald, a training manager for the 30th CES. "When I came back from the deployment, I called Fort Bragg to see how we could get more Airmen trained."

After learning that it would cost more than $14,000 to send Airmen to Fort Bragg to receive the training, Sergeant McDonald was determined to find an alternative plan. After conducting a bit more research, he found that Camp San Luis Obispo had instructors available to teach the course, said Sergeant McDonald.

In September 2009 the 30th CES sent 16 Airmen to the course to become certified instructors.

"The goal at first was to get ourselves certified so we could teach the course to the entire squadron," said Sergeant McDonald. "We now teach the course regularly during our PT, and have revised our goal and hope to teach the combative training to as many members of Vandenberg as possible."

The MACP training's roots and technical aspects come from Brazilian Jui-Jistsu, and is intended to be used when using a weapon is not feasible.

Having combative training skill can be the key to neutralizing your opponent. Being able to hold onto your enemy until help arrives can mean life or death, said Sergeant McDonald.

"Knowing ways to defeat an enemy other than using a weapon, not only adds to the toolset of a Soldier, but also breeds confidence and increases their fitness level," said Master Sgt. William Wilson, one of the Army MACP trainers stationed at Camp SLO.

Students attending the course learn to develop a systematic approach combat. The emphasis on students is to learn the three phases of basic fight strategy.

"Most importantly I learned how to defend myself in any situation," said Staff Sgt. Marcos Silva, one of the students from the 30th CES. "I now know that if I were to be without my weapon, I would be able to defend myself and keep myself safe until help arrived."

Attending the Army's MACP training is a new idea to the Air Force. Vandenberg is one of only three Air Force bases with Airmen participating in the program.

"The civil engineer squadron has chosen to lead the way," said Master Sgt. Jeffery James, the 30th CES' first sergeant. "We hope to take the training that we have learned from the Army and share it with all of Team V, to make us as strong of a team as possible."