News Article View

Aviano Starts Combatives Program

U.S. Airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing participate in the combatives warrior course at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Feb. 10, 2020. The warrior course is a 10 hour class that teaches weapons retention, ground defense, and stand up defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Thomas S. Keisler IV)

U.S. Airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing participate in the combatives warrior course at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Feb. 10, 2020. The warrior course is a 10 hour class that teaches weapons retention, ground defense, and stand up defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Thomas S. Keisler IV)

Students and instructors from Aviano’s first Air Force Combatives Program class pose for a group photo at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Feb. 13, 2020. The students graduated from the basic warrior course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Thomas S. Keisler IV)

Students and instructors from Aviano’s first Air Force Combatives Program class pose for a group photo at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Feb. 13, 2020. The students graduated from the basic warrior course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Thomas S. Keisler IV)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --

The first Aviano Air Base U.S. Air Force Combatives Program class graduated Feb. 13, at the Wyvern Fitness Center. Seventeen participants graduated the basic warrior course.

The 10 hour course included weapons retention, ground defense, and stand up defense. The course was coordinated and taught by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Miguel Moreno, master AFCP instructor with the 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and Brad Hebing, wing AFCP implementation program manager with the 31st Force Support Squadron, in an effort to improve readiness and to develop a wyvern warrior ethos in Aviano Airmen.

“To me, to live by a warrior ethos is to be on a constant warpath,” said Moreno. “A warpath against our enemies and against [our] own personal faults and weaknesses. A warpath requires discipline, honesty, an iron will to do what needs to be done, and the knowledge that at the end of a warpath is peace.”

Moreno wanted the Airmen taking the course to develop mental and physical toughness throughout the course as well as retain the fundamentals of basic combatives.

“Continuing to develop tactical skill sets will develop true self-confidence and forge a tempered warrior ethos,” said Moreno. “Becoming stagnate with any skill can be detrimental. The whole ‘use it or lose it’ adage applies. One has to keep learning, keep improving and become less of a soft target. The less soft targets we have the more difficult it is for the enemy to attack us. Wolves tend to avoid other wolves in favor of easier prey.”

Students in the class learned everything from weapon safety to hand-to-hand combat techniques while also improving their own discipline and personal skill sets.

“It was important to see other Airmen participating,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Hunter Welch, a vehicle and equipment maintenance apprentice with the 606th Air Control Squadron. “Airmen just need confidence, and a class like this is a perfect opportunity to bring their inner warrior out. I saw multiple Airmen grow in confidence as training progressed.”

Welch, a student from the first course, said he took the class because he’s always looking for ways to improve his comprehensive fitness and add new tools to his toolbox.

“Living by the warrior ethos means it’s my duty to improve myself and become a well-rounded Airman mentally, physically and spiritually, so I can do whatever’s necessary to accomplish the mission at hand and to support my brothers and sisters serving with me,” said Welch.

There are also more advanced classes such as the advanced warrior course, which is 10 hours and the basic instructor training course which is an additional 20 hours. Airmen are able to sign up for these classes with supervisors’ approval and no current medical waivers.

The wing is scheduled to hold approximately two basic warrior and two advanced warrior courses each month. Additional modified courses will be available based on commander’s requirements. In addition, instructor courses will be held as needed. Airmen can sign up for all available classes at: https://portal.usafe.af.mil/sites/Aviano/31FW/AFCP/Courses/Registration/SitePages/Home.aspx