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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Soldiers compete for spot on Combatives Team

Minnesota National Guard Over 40 Soldiers participated in the Minnesota Army Combatives Team's Third Annual Combatives Tryout Tournament at Camp Ripley in February Between competitors and tournament workers, this year's tournament drew more participation than previous years 

This year's tournament featured 36 Soldiers from across the state vying for a shot on the elite team to represent Minnesota at the National Guard Tournament and the All Army Combatives Tournament  Soldiers competing had varying levels of experience, and ranged in rank from private to captain 

The youngest competitor was Pvt Thomas Herrera from the Recruit Sustainment Program Herrea enlisted in the Minnesota Army National Guard in November and is scheduled to go to Infantry Basic Training in April  Herrera has a background in jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts and said this was one of the best tournaments he's ever competed in

"I learned many new techniques and the competition was phenomenal," said Herrea  "I can't wait for next year's tournament and will continue to train hard to make the team in the future" 

As the Army form of hand-to-hand combat, combatives is unique as it pairs up competition between both male and female Soldiers  This year Spc Linsey Williams, of headquarters 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, competed in the Bantam weight class  She first took interest in combatives during her 2011-2102 deployment to Kuwait While stationed at Camp Arifjan she and many of her peers started training in order to maintain physical fitness and breaking up the monotony of being deployed 

"Now I'm hooked," Williams said "Combatives isn't how big you are or how much muscle you have  It's training techniques and most importantly the ability to adapt and flow as the situation develops  Next year I will be even more prepared to win my weight class"

As the reigning back-to-back National Guard champions, the Minnesota team has quickly become the leader in National Guard combatives and is consistantly ranked among the best teams in the Army 

Minnesota Army Combatives Team's third annual combatives tryout tournament  was a joint effort, with support from C Company, 1-194 Combined Arms Battalion for manning the score tables, 204th Area Support Medical Company for medical support, and Camp Ripley for providing personnel and facilities support 

Soldiers who made the Minnesota National Guard Combatives Team include: heavy weight: Frankie Barth, Headquarters 2-136 Combined Arms Battalion; 205 pounds: Jesse Laugen, Headquarters 2-136 Combined Arms Battalion; 185 pounds: Matthew Jukkala, 849 Mobility Augmentation Company; 170 pounds: Cody Lincoln, E  Company 134th Brigade Support Battalion; 155 pounds: Benjamin Keen, Headquarters 2-136 Combined Arms Battalion; 140 pounds: Erik Cabral-Garibay, B Company 1-194 Combined Arms Battalion;  125 pounds: Sean Stebbins, Headquarters 1-125 Field Artillery; 110 pounds: Blong Kong, 851 Vertical Engineers

Minnesota Army Combatives Team's Fourth Annual Combatives Tryout Tournament is tentatively scheduled at Camp Ripley in February 2014

By Capt Joachim Eitenmiller
Minnesota Combatives Officer in Charge
Feb 11, 2013

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