Crestview's McKeon in combat for the love of it

Matthew McKeon crestview infantryman fort hood

Crestview native Staff Sgt. Matthew McKeon Sr., left — an infantryman with the 2nd Lancer Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Ironhorse Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division — prepares to punch his opponent during the championship bout of the Fort Hood Combatives Tournament Feb. 23 at Fort Hood, Texas.

Sgt. Bailey Kramer, U.S. Army / Special to the News Bulletin
Published: Monday, April 1, 2013 at 10:41 AM.

FORT HOOD, Texas —One soldier found his "perfect fit" for the Army during basic combat training just more than four years ago.

"I got interested in combatives (the Army’s version of martial arts) in basic training," said Crestview native Staff Sgt. Matthew McKeon Sr. The infantryman is assigned to the 2nd Lancer Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Ironhorse Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. "I used to fight before I joined the Army, so in basic training, when combatives was introduced to me, I was like, 'Wow, this is what I did before I joined the Army,' so it kind of fit perfect together."

Although McKeon, 26, didn't start wrestling until he was in high school, he said he did well with just three years’ experience. He won many tournaments, and as a Crestview High School wrestling team member, he worked his way to the state tournament.

Joining the Army

After graduating from high school, McKeon still had the drive to compete in wrestling, leading him to join a local gym that offered a mixed martial arts program.

"I got my feet wet in MMA and did pretty good," he said. "But I realized it wasn't going to pay the bills, so I joined the Army."

McKeon was introduced to combatives during basic training. After learning the technique, he earned first place in his training unit’s mini combatives tournament.

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