Soldiers test skills in combatives tourney
Stars and Stripes February 25, 2011
BAMBERG, Germany — Gabriel Matt, a Grafenwöhr-based heavyweight, took home the “most outstanding fighter” award Friday at the second annual European Forces Combatives Championships at the Freedom Fitness Facility on Warner Barracks.
Matt, a corporal in 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, won all seven of his grappling matches in the round-robin tournament. A total of 31 competitors came from as far as Vicenza, Italy, to compete.
“I enjoy it … whatever you want to call it: The Warrior Ethos, espirit de corps, or the desire to closely engage, kill and destroy the enemy … it’s a good way to train the desire to win,” Matt said.
He said he hoped the tournament would continue to attract more competitors in Europe.
The 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team from Vicenza was named the top team - having four fighters finish in the top three in four of the five weight classes.
The home-team fans got to see the only female in the tournament, Jen Brouillette, beat all the males in the lightweight division. Brouillette, a second lieutenant in the 16th Sustainment Brigade out of Bamberg, eventually lost in the semifinals to cruiser-weight winner Erick Leon-Garcia, a sergeant in 2-503, in the best overall fighter bracket.
The tournament was scheduled to go for two days, but even though officials said the turnout was better than last year, they were still able to complete the competition in a single day. Last year, the tournament was more of a mixed martial arts tournament, according to Sgt. 1st Class Curtis Mosely, the tournament director. This year it was limited to a grappling style fighting that stuck strictly to the Army combatives field manual.
For the tournament to succeed in Europe there needs to be more qualified officials in Army combatives, Mosely said, as well as more qualified trainers to teach soldiers the skills. Most of the higher-level training courses are taught at Fort Benning, Ga., he said, so either the trainers or Europe-based troops would have to travel to get the instruction.
“Hopefully [the competitors] can go back with their trophies and their command will say: ‘Hey, we want that again next year,’ ” Mosely said.
ResultsLightweight: 1, 2nd Lt. Jen Brouillette, 16th Sustainment Brigade, Bamberg; 2, Sgt. Le’Kendrick Lovett, Base Support Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Bamberg; 3, Spc. Carlos Newman, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, Vicenza
Welterweight: 1, Sgt. Trent Riddle, scout platoon, 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, Grafenwöhr; 2, Sgt. Omar Ramirez, 16th Sustainment Brigade; 3, Sgt. Markar Young, Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Bamberg
Cruiser weight: 1, Sgt. Erick Leon-Garcia, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment; 2, Sgt. James Ellis, 42nd Route Clearance Company, 54th Engineer Battalion, Bamberg; 3, Spc. Donaldson Colin, 16th Sustainment Brigade:
Light heavyweight: 1, Sgt. Benjamin Cardoza, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment; 2, Sgt. David Shelley, Wiesbaden Health Clinic; 3, Staff Sgt. Edwin Jorge, Bamberg Dental Clinic
Heavyweight: 1, Cpl. Gabriel Matt, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, Grafenwöhr; 2, Spc. Joshua Achor, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment; 3, Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Sanderson, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.