23rd CBRNE Battalion hosts combatives smoker
The 23rd Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosive Battalion kicked off the holidays by hosting a three-day combatives smoker, on Camp Stanley, South Korea, on Dec. 15.
Lion Battalion Soldiers honed their skills, by competing individually and as a unit, during the tournament held twice a year in order to identify the best fighters from nine weight-classes.
After the official weigh-in on Monday morning, preliminary matches were held throughout the first two days of competition and scored according to the rules of the Modern Army Combatives Program.
Some fighters fought up to four matches a day because of large brackets and double-elimination rules. By the end of the second day of competition, more than 200 Soldiers participated in more than 150 matches.
Bruised and sore, the competitors kept smiling as they worked their way up their respective brackets toward the championship.
The entire battalion was present in the gym to cheer on their friends during final day of competition reserved for the championship fights. Intermediate rules were used in the finals, which meant kicking, body punching, and face slapping were allowed.
Weeks of physical and mental preparation were evident during competition, as was each Soldier’s drive to win. Some Soldiers fought through their entire seven-minute matches and won based on points, while others won by submission.
“Whenever you actually do the training, to actually do it to the best of your abilities, keep practicing as you are going to fight, or else you’re not going to get better,” said Sgt. Naomi Knops, squad leader, 4th CBRN Co. “Training teaches you diligence and patience and helps you to think about what your next step is going to be.”
Each champion was awarded a gold medal by 23rd CBRNE Bn. Commander Lt. Col. Adam Hilburgh, and was photographed with Deputy Commanding General-Maneuver Brig. Gen. Brian Mennes, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division.
Each company was awarded points for participation and wins. At the end of the third day, the company with the most points was crowned the victor and awarded both a trophy and streamer.
When the last match ended, the judges tallied the scores and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Shirley, senior noncommissioned officer, 23rd CBRNE Bn., raised the trophy.
“We are…” said Shirley. Without hesitation, Soldiers with the 4th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Company responded with a thunderous “Hydra!” as they flooded out of the stands to claim their second consecutive 23rd CBRNE Bn. combatives smoker championship.