Osan Airmen enhance readiness through combatives certification

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Chase Verzaal
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 621st Air Control Squadron and 607th Air Operations Center were certified as combatives instructors through the general track of the U.S. Air Force Combatives Instructor Certification Course at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Feb. 21-29, 2024.

The 621st ACS and 607th AOC intend to utilize these new certifications to tailor a combatives program to their operational needs and enhance the readiness of their entire unit. The newly certified instructors emerging from the course will be pivotal in deepening Osan Airmen’s understanding of combatives and ensuring they retain skills through consistent training.

“These skills can be extremely useful, but it requires consistent training to ensure that they stick with you,” said Virgillio. “Regular training in combatives supports the “Fight Tonight” mission in the sense that you have to always be ready, because the alternative is losing the ability to fight if you neglect it.”

The 621st ACS impacts the “Fight Tonight” mission by supporting training and contingency operations of the 51st Fighter Wing, providing lethal tactical battle management for the Air Component Commander during armistice and war.

Combatives instructors assigned to the 5th Combat Communications Support Squadron from Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, and Dyana Bullinger, the Air Force Academy director of operations for the Air Force Combatives Center of Excellence, traveled to Osan to certify Airmen across the installation in instructing combatives.

The week-long certification course trained Airmen in instructing numerous physical and cognitive activities designed to improve responses to immediate threats.

“Combatives is similar to combat sports, with the integration of weapons and with fewer rules,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kyle Virgillio, 5th CCSS master combatives instructor. “In a fight, there aren’t rules, and the skills learned from this course teach Airmen ways to respond to life-threatening situations.”

Throughout the week, Airmen learned the history of the combatives program, along with a hands-on portion focusing on stances, strikes, footwork, grappling and other effective combative tactics.

“Having the ability to spread the knowledge of skills like combatives is highly sought after in the Air Force, because it is an indicator of multi-capable Airmen,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Steven Ayala, 621st ACS air battle manager. “If a time ever comes where we need to handle a real world scenario, we will have the ability to teach it and do it no matter where we go or what situation we end up in.”

Learning combatives has a plethora of benefits for service members, such as the ability to maintain physical fitness as well as gaining an enhanced skill set that could become a useful tool in the event of a real world threat.