Missouri Air National Guard fortifies combat skills with new training course

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Whitney Erhart
  • 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Training like they fight, Airmen with the Missouri Air National Guard's 239th Combat Communications Squadron are building upon their combative skill sets, ensuring they are ready and capable to face any adversary.

After completing a rigorous one-week program consisting of more than 40 hours of training, being tasked with learning and demonstrating proficiency in 167 core tasks and teaching 769 line-items that encompassed those core tasks, several Airmen with the 239th CBCS have successfully earned the title of basic combatives instructors.

Now, with continued support from their commander, their goal is to grow Jefferson Barracks into a combatives training hub in the midwest.

“Any unit that fights together, unites together,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Stacey Roestel, 239th CBCS commander. “Combatives discipline begets discipline, and our Airmen crave camaraderie and the skills to build confidence. That extends beyond our flagship unit. The whole of Jefferson Barracks, Air and Army, sorely needs this cohesion to be embedded in Total Force Integration and joint endeavors.”

The instructors aim to further coach their 239th CBCS wingmen, with objectives for select instructors to advance to senior and master levels. This progression will enable them to train future basic instructors.

“The first goal is to build the instructor bench, the more the merrier,” said Roestel. “Few institutions decline due to their overabundance of experts. Secondly, my goal is to allow our Airmen full access to unlock and recognize their rugged warrior qualities potential, here, on the training field, before they encounter it in the field of battle.”

Instructors plan to adopt a gradual approach to the training, beginning with small groups and focusing on fundamental principles.

“This allows us to grasp the material thoroughly and understand each other's teaching methods,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Joshua Heisner, a basic combatives instructor assigned to the 239th CBCS. “Over time, as we refine our own unique teaching approaches and acquire the necessary equipment requested to enhance our training sessions, we'll progress to offering advanced training across three modules: self-protection, basic standing, and basic ground techniques.”

To aid in expanding the program, combative training will be open to others beyond members of the 239th CBCS.

“We hope to develop this training into a course that we can offer to other units at Jefferson Barracks, as well as other components and sister services,” said Heisner. “We welcome any opportunities throughout the state, including joint and total force courses.”

Heisner emphasized that combative training is not something that can be learned overnight, and some individuals dedicate their entire lives to mastering the skills.

“It takes practice and dedication to become proficient,” he said. “With that being said, I witnessed firsthand the confidence that can be built in just one self-protection and basic standing training session.”

In the combat communications community, Roestel mentioned that commanders require Airmen to train beyond the Readiness Airmen Training standards, and combatives courses serve as a means to build upon an Airman’s rugged warrior qualities.

“The takeaway is that these Airmen walk away with the mental and physical toughness the warfighter demands and strengthen their resolve,” he said. “We need the warriors our Airman’s Creed says we are.”