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SoldierGround >> Changes to MACP Program...


9/2/07 8:05 PM
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Combat MMA
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Edited: 02-Sep-07
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As we come upon the 3rd All-Army Event, I an interested to see what changes everyone would suggest for the Modern Army Combatives Program for the future.

It is safe to say that the program is still in the infant stages, and I know some of you have had a great deal of experience with the program over the past few years. So, what changes would you make for the program going forward?

JY

9/3/07 12:48 AM
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durnil
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Edited: 03-Sep-07
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JY The MACP here is growing in some really exciting ways. I am hoping to convey some of the new areas we are making MACP grow at the symposium this year. -Dave
9/3/07 4:15 PM
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Combat MMA
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Edited: 03-Sep-07
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DD,

Agreed. We are going to try to make the symposium this year as well.

Beyond that, many of the people here may not be able to make the event. I am curious to all opinions, from all with experience with the program to this point.

Jeff

9/4/07 2:28 PM
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durnil
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Edited: 04-Sep-07
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JY, Why don't you start us off. What do you think some of the changes should be? Dave
9/4/07 8:33 PM
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Combat MMA
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Edited: 04-Sep-07
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Sure, here are a couple...

1) I think we need to completely cease all contracts for the just the "certification courses" with non-military MACP programs. While I think that there are many non-military program instructors (John R., Greg T., Dave D., etc.) that have done great things for the MAC program, in the long run it hurts the overall growth within the US Army. When we have to rely on outside help to get our soldiers certified, the Unit, BCT, BDE or Batt does not have to have a dedicated position within the Army, whcih means less training at the lower levels within the units.

Now, this does not mean we cease contracts for the continued sustainment training with those same non-military instructors. For example, here at Bragg we have IMHO the finest civilian MAC instructor around in Mr. Greg Thompson of Team ROC. Most of his contracts are for sustainment training and additional high end training for the specific units. This works to benifit the program because of his high end experience and the sustainment training he can offer thru his local school and civilian instructors.

Many of the civilian instructors out there are great guys and have done great things for the program. At the same time, there are some others out there only looking to make money off the program, looking to use the MACP program to sell their own agenda. In the end, bottom line is that by continuing to farm out the program the units will never have ownership of that program. Much like the initial affiliation with the Gracie family, we will need to seperate from those civilian instructors, only in the case of not allowing them to providing actual certification courses in MACP.

2) We need to come up with a program to re-certify instructors once they become Level III and Level IV certified. There is too many issues out there we some of these idiots. If instructors are doing the wrong thing, we need to be pulling the certification. Recently I have heard about all kinds of issues at Ft. Gordon. All of the signal soldiers at Fort Bragg are not allowed to train MACP AT ALL by orders of the CMDR due to continued injuries and problems from the Fort Gordon program. After hearing some of the stories from the 1SG here about what they went thru, it is amazing to me some of the things going on out there.

If we are going to have dedicated instructors out there, there has to be a system of accountability and re-certification. By the time a soldier is Level IV, he still has less than 3 months of total Combatives training in a school setting. To expect a soldier with no prior experience to then be a Unit or Post Instructor without a system in place to keep him up to date is not in the best interest of the program.

Those are just a couple off the top of my head.

Jeff

9/5/07 9:44 AM
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AsiaI
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Edited: 05-Sep-07
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I can go on about the problems at Fort Gordon, but it basicly boils down to this: The pple who actually care about Combatives and want to do it right aren't getting any support. The majority of the DS don't really know what they're doing and some are to proud to ask for help. It doesn't instill confidence in the troops if you show up to training with a book and constantly refer to it. There is little control or discipline enforced so you end up with injuries and this is mainly due to lack of experience in teaching. Simple things like respecting the tap and applying gradual pressure is not even mentioned most the time so new joes are slapping on locks full force. There are a few here that will do tings right but there are too many who really don't know what their doing and simply wen to school because they were told to.
9/5/07 1:35 PM
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JasonKeaton
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Edited: 05-Sep-07
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I agrree with the soldiers training soldiers. Although I have done this myself, it is best for soldiers to do it. My preference is to do sustainment training. However, I do not see some of the larger installations doing this right yet. It seems that John R has tons of work and there are other guys doing level I and II's there as well. Plus, some places do not seem to be interested in letting soldiers do the certifications for whatever reasons. And right now, i do not think it is that big of a deal but should not be the long term solution. The things I am interested in are getting more scenario training in the programi.e showing level 3's and 4's how to implement that into MACP.
9/5/07 3:00 PM
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Combat MMA
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Edited: 05-Sep-07
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Jason,

I agree 100% with you. Many of the non-military instructors I have talked to prefer the sustainment training as well, and this is where they can provide a great tool for the units.

As far as the installations providing the training, that is much of the reason for the change to take place. Right now those units know they do not have to provide a dedicated facility, a dedicated staff, or even support the program, because they can fall back on a civilian to provide the service for them. This is the wrong message to send to those units.

Jeff

9/5/07 3:44 PM
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macpfighter
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Edited: 05-Sep-07
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Excellent points by all. I think one of the largest issues goes into something Jeff already tapped into. We need dedicated MTOE instructor slots in the units in order to motivate the leadership to fill them with quality instructors. A side issue to that is there needs to be an ASI/SQI for level III and IV certified personnel. That way they can be identified and even placed on requisitions if a unit has a vacant slot. I also agree with the recertification issue. There are a lot of awesome, dedicated instructors out there that put all kinds of time and effort into building and supporting the program. Just like everything else in the Army though, there are dirtbags that fall through the cracks. I've seen one too many Soldiers treat level III or IV as another check the block school just so they can add it on their ERB. These guys go to school and then do nothing to help build the program. An annual recertification program would help change this. I can't speak for the Gordon issue, but I will speak of Knox. This is an installation that seems to be the complete opposite of Gordon. We had an incredible start to the program thanks to SSG Hankins and Jason Keaton. They put the love of the program into a lot of people on that post and it continues to grow because of them. We went from having some wrestling mats in the gyms to owning a dedicated fight house. I personally never witnessed or heard of any serious injuries to trainees resulting from MACP while I was there. Before I left this summer we held the first MACP tournament to hold the final championship fights in a cage. Thanks to the current crew at the Knox fighthouse, Duncan and Rodgers and friends, the tournament was a huge success. The push provided by the instructors coupled with the support given by the chain of command has made Knox a continued success story. They have even implemented a pilot program to certify trainees. I also think we should develop a spin off of the Combatives school website where us threes and fours can brainstorm and trade ideas. The basic idea would be a file sharing/forum site where we could exchange successful training plans for anything from integrating combatives into other areas of training, such as MOUT, to how to develop/run/sustain BN, BDE and higher programs. The bottom line is some guys that haven't been around the Army very long that get into this program don't know about all the resources out there that can be tapped into. A site like this one would help. One final plug for Jason....he is an excellent example of a civilian MACP instructor busting his ass to provide sustainment and advanced training to Soldiers. There are so many guys stationed at Knox that are turning into incredible combatives and MMA guys because of Jason's training. His additional training combined with several Soldiers' desire and commitment to train as much as possible resulted in a whole lot of first place finishes at Knox's MACP tournament. And I now turn the soapbox over to another...
9/5/07 4:19 PM
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rafie
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Edited: 05-Sep-07 04:23 PM
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JEFF YURK Is not such thing as a Fort Gordon! Here we got the soldiers that we train in TRADOC done by the DS and those train by CPT Hepler of 35 SIG BDE. the 15TH SIG BDE level 4 I oversee train done by the drills. Those injuries happen in those train by 35 SIG BDE CPT Hepler. He already called as the only post level 4 and we have a great conversation. Also I receive copy of all his injuries something that could be stop in tha past he will be do th best to stop it. Also I m teaching level 1 and 2(SEPT 10-21) and so far no major injuries is happening. Next time send me a email so i can put you in the right direction. Any way here in TRADOC priority is not combatives only my battalion s concern no a BDE Level. Well anyway want to clarify about this becuase like BJ and Jay is being trying to stablish a Gordon Program well before me coming from Korea and they dnt even have the chance to talk PS Asia is right we need more experienced teachers!!!! rafie
9/5/07 4:52 PM
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durnil
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Edited: 05-Sep-07 05:05 PM
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Although the overall intention should be to create true Army autonomy in training, from my point of view I believe that a pure soldier solution is lacking both standard and sustainability in some non-civilian programs. Yurk's thoughts on Level IIIs and IVs are right on. The civilian/military cadre at Fort Riley offers a combined total of 40 years of fighting/bjj experience. You can not replicate that in most units in the Army. I know that Yurk and other instructors have done a lot to increase their own knowledge by training in BJJ and other MACP parent arts. However, they are the exception not the rule from my experience. The non-civilian model also suffers in smaller posts that do not have the interest or motivation to allow qualified soldiers to be instructors. And when they are allowed, the MACP on the posts often times becomes hyper-political and lose their neutrality needed for certification and training. I believe right now good training should be the primary concern not who is providing it. Dave
9/5/07 5:52 PM
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SFC Matt Larsen
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Edited: 05-Sep-07 06:28 PM
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Civilian/Soldier instructors – I agree with jeff. It is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of both Soldier and civilian instructors. Right now the experience level that is available from some civilian sources is far greater than is available from Soldiers. That being said, over time this will not be the case. As we continue to grow Soldier instructors the level will rise such that we will have the expertise in the Army. Until then, in order to grow that expertise, we should utilize civilian experts to help develop our own instructors. Notice I didn't say to train units or certify instructors. Although civilian instructors have a great deal of expertise in training individual fighters, they do not know about developing programs within units. One of the great dangers of civilian experts has been many of their unwillingness to abide by MAC standards. We had, for example, a year long division level program that went absolutely no where because the instructor taught his own favorite techniques instead of the MAC techniques. He thought he was doing his students a service by teaching them a better way, not understanding the importance of creating standards. Recertification – Creating a recertification system would be difficult. The ASI is in the works because of the TRADOC CG's policy standardizing training. It requires instructors at units across TRADOC and specifies what level. I think the important tool is to create our own ranking system in order to measure progress within the system beyond simply graduating from the instructor cert courses. This has the added benefit of establishing the MAC ID as separate from BJJ. Right now we often refer to each other by BJJ rank. The problem is that BJJ is only one aspect of MAC. Someone could be an expert ground grappler and have no striking or clinch skills, wich are not part of the BJJ rank structure and that is not even mentioning fighting over weapons, shooting etc. The MAC belt system needs to cover all of the skills that you want the guy next to you in Iraq to have. BJJ rank just doesn't cover it. It also needs to cover all of the other aspects of the program like teaching and refereeing. I will lay the basic idea out in another thread latter tonight. Please, everyone let me know what your ideas are.
9/5/07 7:46 PM
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JSMHP
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Edited: 05-Sep-07 07:50 PM
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The idea has always been to eventually phase out civilian instructors (or at least that is my understanding) but I believe the army is a little ways away from that. Bragg and Benning can obviously take care of themselves but not everyone else has that kind of personnel. The civilians involved in the program keep to the standard and produce good results. Not to state the obvious but not all level 4 are created equal ie you can't replace 10 years of experience with six months of training. I am near Ft. Leonardwood right now and I couldn't tell you how screwed up Combatives gets without a good instructor. I teach many soldiers for free because it is so bad down there. I think Combatives loses a lot of its credibility when level fours with six months of training get balled up by a soldier with a high school wrestling background.
9/5/07 9:10 PM
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SFC Matt Larsen
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Edited: 05-Sep-07
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I agree with that. In everything we do we need to take the long term view. It will be ten year before we have allot of guys who are at the level of some civilian instructors. Think about the level of John Renken, Greg Thompson, Dave Durnel. How long before their are more than a handful of Soldiers at that level. The day is coming but we need to take a balanced road to growth until then.
9/5/07 9:47 PM
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JasonKeaton
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Edited: 05-Sep-07
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Matt, give me a call when you get a chance. I lost your number. Jimm, thanks for all the kind words.
9/5/07 10:11 PM
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durnil
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Edited: 05-Sep-07 10:51 PM
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Well said JSMHP. I think these are the barometers of success Army wide: 1) Standards as established by Fort Benning are being held. 2) Soldiers produced are competent fighters, referees, and trainers. Individually I believe the program needs to be creative but constrained in how it gets these tasks accomplished. Dave
9/5/07 10:12 PM
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MAJLeavitt
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Edited: 05-Sep-07
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Great conversation! Just got back to the states a few weeks ago. I am now in the DC area. Hoping to link up with some guys soon!
9/5/07 11:14 PM
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Combat MMA
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Great responses so far. These responses serve as a great example of the high professionalism of the non-military instructors we have out there. This thread could have gone a very different direction. Great stuff.

Also, I really like the idea of a dedicated "Intranet" or forum for Level III and Level IV instructors. If we had even close to the same amount of traffic that we have here, it would be a very successful place to share information (Such as updated SOP's), talk about things going on, tourney's, etc. Very good idea.

I have some more, but I have to get some sleep.

Jeff

9/5/07 11:40 PM
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SFC Matt Larsen
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Edited: 05-Sep-07
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I am working on a forum from the moderncombatives.org site. I will let you know when it happens. MAJLeavitt send me an e-mail @ president@moderncombatives.org I am up there all of the time. We can get together. Matt
9/6/07 7:57 AM
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DaveBarron
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Edited: 06-Sep-07
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The ASI for Level III and IV is going to be a reality soon (FEB 08?). More importantly the revision to AR 350-1 will specify a battalion (LVL III), regimental, division, and post instuctor (LVL IV) be provided by the unit. I do not have much information about when that will occur, but it should be sooner rather than later. The deal with guys not wanting to work once they go through the course is tough. About 20% of the course graduates do some stuff, with 10% doing literally 90% of the work. I think this reflects the nature of humanity, but I could be wrong. The only incentive to work is only it's own reward at this point, perhaps that can be cured by awarding a position or a belt or something? Civilians should be employed to provide high level training to troops. This type of training is very valuable and can produce competent fighters. It should never replace the training that leaders do with thier units. Unit training is what improves Soldiers ability to fight wars. I think the danger lays in Soldiers feeling that they can pass their responsibility for training troops over to civilian trainers. Dave
9/6/07 9:32 AM
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rafie
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Edited: 06-Sep-07
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ALCON For my part by BATT CO and of course ranger is very supportive. I got 3 level 1 classes already and my first level 2 next week. Im trying to spread MACP thru the 15 SGI BDE( TRADOC) and then Gordon rafie
9/6/07 9:59 AM
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MMABORIQUA
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Edited: 06-Sep-07
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wow this looks like a topic that can go on forever. I can not tell you how important MACP is to the Army. This isa program that really needs dedicated people. I totaly agree with mostof the things said. I can see how a re cert program can be hard to impliment but is still a good idea. I think we need to not only have solts for instructors but have a Quality control team that goes out to these post and checks up on level 1 and level 2. becuase this could help a program not going any where for a year or more then that. As for cilivan instuctors they should be training instructors not soldiers at the lower levels. You need to have a strong understanding about the basics before you can learn advanced moves that level III or IV would not know. The basics shown in level I and II are more then enough when you think about the battle field and the things you are going to have on Down range. It is very hard to pull off advanced moves in ACH, IBA, A weapon boots ECT. thats some of the thing I think. Marcano
9/11/07 5:06 PM
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JasonKeaton
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I do think some guys complete level 4 and think they "know" it. If that is all you have it is a solid group of skills for sure but there is a lot of material in the world. You can nevver know enough
9/11/07 7:00 PM
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Combat MMA
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"I think they should open up post civlian instructors to GS postion. Each post has a GS civilian instructor. Since PCSing and deployments, you can have a stronger program if you have a representive there all the time."

As stated a few different ways above, why go outside of the Army for instructors when we have 1.4 million soldiers? Out of those 1.4 million, I guarantee we can find a few with experience to lead our local post programs. Getting units to put those people in the right position will be the challenge, but it would be the same challenge to get GS positions.

Like JSMHP said, "I think Combatives loses a lot of its credibility when level fours with six months of training get balled up by a soldier"

I think that statement could not be further from correct. It is that kind of thinking that holds the program back. It is that kind of statement that keeps the Battallion Commander from rolling with the soldiers. It is that kind of thinking that stops the 1SG from getting out to roll with his soldiers. You might as well make the statement, "The CSM loses all credibility when he cannot ruck march the fastest in the Battallion or because he is not the best shooter...". The highest ranking guy, in grade or Level, is not always going to be the best at teaching or doing. You would like him to be both, but it is not always going to be the case and to assume so is narrow visioned.

Do I think that Level IV's should have a bit of "aura" to them? Absolutely. But, that is not always going to be the case. Level IV does not equal a great grappler or a great instructor. Level IV simply means you have attended 11 total weeks of Army instruction in MACP. Period. What you do with that instruction is up to you.

You definetly can't replace 10 years of experience, with only a few months of training.

10 years of experience in Modern Army Combatives? What are we talking about here. You cannot have it both ways! We are either MACP or we are a bunch of BJJ and Muay Thai guys doing MACP.

I am a great MAC instructor because I put in the time to understand the program. I put in the research on other programs the Army has used in the past to understand the mistakes we have made before. I have been in the sandbox and I have seen first hand where the program is used, and the types of situations it was benificial, and what types of situations need additional work. By no means am I the worlds most experienced soldier, and I do not claim to be either. But, when a soldier in my class asks a question, I have the right answer. This comes as much from experience as it does from reading some FM.

The bottom line is you must UNDERSTAND the program and why we teach some of the things we teach. It is my opinion that this CAN replace 10 years of experience with only a few months training.

 

9/11/07 10:50 PM
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JSMHP
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Edited: 11-Sep-07 11:05 PM
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My statements were misunderstood. Losing is a part of getting better everyone knows that. But with that being said the instructors shouldn't regularly get beaten by their students. That is what will happen if you replace 10 years of grappling with six months. I don't want to get into a semantical argument about grappling experience and MACP experience. I think quality is the top issue and civilian instructors are doing a great job keeping the standard...better than many many soldier run programs. In a few years this probably won't be an issue anymore. Ft. Riley is a civilian run program. And the training the soldiers got was top notch. No one there could do what we did...that is a fact. To top it all off we did it with soldiers without previous training

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