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OTS starts unarmed combat training

  • Published
  • By Carl Bergquist
  • Air University Public Affairs
Officer Training School trainees completed the school's first combat skills training class Jan. 29 as part of the effort to expand the expeditionary officer training curriculum here.

The course is part of the more than 70 hours of expeditionary skills training now being taught to Officer Training School, Reserve Officer Training Corps and Air Force Academy students.

The Air Force Combative Program is designed to instill confidence in the trainees' ability to defend themselves; attack and subdue an enemy; develop mental toughness; instill warrior ethos and provide them with a basic set of unarmed combat skills.

Lt. Col. Hans Palaoro, 24th Training Squadron commander, said the 11-hour program stems from the Army's combative program and aims to better equip Airmen for duty in Southwest Asia. Students attend a one-hour overview lecture and five, two-hour sessions to complete the training.

All officer accession programs will be teaching the course, the colonel said.

Before the program got underway, instructors had to receive more than 50 hours of training and certification from Army instructors.

Flight commander Capt. Jay Phomavong said he enjoyed the instructor training because it taught him something he had not seen before.

"Before I took the training, I had never been in a fight in my life," he said. "The training boosted my confidence so I know how to get out of a tough spot."

Colonel Palaoro said the concept of a combative skills program came to fruition last fall after Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff , said Air Force members needed more expeditionary skills.

"Because of the additional duties Airmen are handling in the war on terrorism, Module 1 of the training focuses on ground fighting and basic jujitsu-style grappling moves," Colonel Palaoro said. "Modules 2 and 3 will be taught as specialized courses to career fields such as tactical air controllers and combat controllers."

Staff Sgt. Veronica Rooks, one of the new instructors for the OTS program, said the training will make Air Force members more deployable than ever before.

"They will have the confidence that if they get into a situation such as hand-to-hand combat, they will know what to do," she said.

OTS flight commander Capt. George Hemingway pointed out that the training is not focused on making Airmen aggressive.  

"This is a defensive course, not one that teaches aggression."

Instructor Staff Sgt. Jeremy Ulibarri said the course would best serve Airmen by building their expeditionary skills. 

"Whether downtown or down range, the combative program will provide Airmen with the confidence they need to defend themselves in combat situations."
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