75 years ago, the Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor was the beginning of the United States’ involvement in World War II. It’s a prime example of the U.S. military having to prepare for the unexpected. Local 4’s Emily Scarlett takes us Inside the Gates of to show us how soldiers on Rock Island Arsenal prepare for combat.
Fighting in combat is not what it used to be. Long gone are the days of soldiers positioned on opposite ends firing at each other.
So, as the battles evolve, so must the soldiers, says David Stephenson, a primary combative instructor.
“We’re fighting in streets, crowded areas.”
On the Rock Island Arsenal, soldiers are learning combatant training on how to deal with the unknown enemy.
“In today’s environment, things are close quartered. So the weapon is not the first choice we’re able to use,” says Stephenson.
Soldiers go through an intensive one-week training with a variety of levels.
Stephenson tells Local 4 News, “I’m able to take an opponent to the ground, take him over and handcuff him and then the fight’s over with. He’s no more hostile.”
The soldiers learn styles and techniques you would not usually get in normal combat training.
“This training is a lot more different than institutional training because this is more of a tool for your toolkit,” says Stephenson. “This opens their mind, they’ve got this helmet on, I can head strike you with that helmet and cause you to be dazed or knocked out and I can get away. It opens their mind that everything we’re wearing is part of that secondary weapon I’m employing.”
Sergeant First Class Jared Clapper has been in the military for 15 years, serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He says he can vouch for just how effective this training is.
“If our instructors put me on my back, I know how to react to that, I know what I can do next, know what I can do to put myself in a better position and less at risk than my opponent.”