2nd Cav Regiment ‘Dragoons’ Duke It Out During Unit Fight Night

June 20, 2022Matt White
fight night

Staff Sgt. Joseph Cabrera trades blows with Capt. Connor Wagh in their lightweight bout. Wagh won by submission. US Army photo by Spc. Ryan Parr.

The unofficial motto of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment is “We Kill Tanks,” but about 50 soldiers in the Germany-based unit spent a night last month trying to — more or less — kill each other.

Or at least punch, throw, and choke each other out.

A military photographer captured much of the action as the “Dragoon” soldiers, as the 2nd Cav members call themselves, fought in an Ultimate Fighter-style ring surrounded by fencing in four weight divisions. The event was also broadcast on American Forces Network (video at bottom of this post).

army fight night
First Lt. Trevor Parker, a former wrestler at the US Military Academy at West Point, celebrates winning a bout at Dragoon Fight Night. Fighting as a 210-pound heavyweight, Parker beat an opponent listed at 265 pounds in a semifinal match but lost a decision in the night’s finale to Cpl. Manual Camargo. US Army photo by Spc. Ryan Parr.

The May 24 bouts were the third edition of Dragoon Fight Night, according to the regiment’s Instagram page. The event is the culmination of a regimental training block in Army combatives, a jiujitsu-based fighting system taught widely.

Participants trained for two weeks prior to the event. Spc. David Tilton, the night’s middleweight champion, joked in a ringside interview that he had also prepared for the competition with a diet of “liquor, Slim Jims and cupcakes.”

To participate in the Army fight night, contestants had to be current 2nd Cav soldiers and were required to follow rules based on that training, such as no closed-fist punches, small-joint locks, fishhooks, or other techniques likely to cause injury.

army fight night

The event launched in 2019, when 2nd Cav’s then-Command Sgt. Maj. Michael S. Burke issued a regiment-wide challenge to a soldier to face him. He was met by Sgt. Zachary Morro, an amateur cage fighter who, Burke recalled in an essay on the fight, “was 50 pounds heavier, nearly 20 years younger.”

“After three brutal rounds, Sergeant [Morro] connected with a perfect strike to my upper eye,” Burke recalled. “While the physician assistance superglued my eyebrow back together an unsettling quietness took over the gym.”

First Lt. Monica “Moe Money, Moe Problems” Schmelzenbach, a former judo national champion as a cadet at West Point, was the only woman to compete in Dragoon Fight Night. Schmelzenbach lost a decision after a full 10-minute fight with Spc. Eustacio “Tap Out” Banda. US Army photo by Spc. Ryan Parr.

Army combatives

In an episode of the Kill Tank Radio podcast, Morro recalled landing the strike on the senior NCO.

“It was awesome,” Morro told Kill Tank Radio. “Who else can honestly say they’ve punched a sergeant major in the face and they haven’t come up on charges?”

army fight night

The four champions of the 2022 fight night, held at the Army’s Rose Barracks in Grafenwoehr, Germany, were:

  • Flyweight: Spc. Braxton Barnes (1/2 CR, B Trp)

  • Lightweight: Capt. Connor Wagh (3/2 CR, HHT)

  • Middleweight: Spc. David Tilton (4/2 CR, P Trp)

  • Heavyweight: Cpl. Manual Camargo (1/2 CR, B Trp)

Each winner received an Army Achievement Medal.


Army fight night

army fight night

Full coverage of Dragoon Fight Night 2022, via Armed Forces Network:

Note: Several Dragoon Fight Night images in this story were provided by the Army without identification of the pictured fighters. All photos taken May 24, 2022, at Dragoon Fight Night by Spc. Ryan Parr.

Read Next: China Just Named Its New, Nimitz-Sized Aircraft Carrier, and It’s Not Subtle

Matt White
Matt White

Matt White is a former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Coffee Or Die Photo
From the Team Room to Team Room Design: An Operator’s Creative Journey

BRCC partners with Team Room Design for an exclusive T-shirt release!

Coffee Or Die Photo
Get Your Viking On: The Exclusive 30 Sec Out BRCC Shirt Club Design

Thirty Seconds Out has partnered with BRCC for an exclusive shirt design invoking the God of Winter.

Grizzly Forge BRCC shirt
Limited Edition: Grizzly Forge Blades on an Awesome BRCC Shirt

Lucas O'Hara of Grizzly Forge has teamed up with BRCC for a badass, exclusive Shirt Club T-shirt design featuring his most popular knife and tiomahawk.

BRCC Limited Edition Josh Raulerson Blackbeard Skull Shirt
From Naval Service to Creative Canvas: BRCC Veteran Artist Josh Raulerson

Coffee or Die sits down with one of the graphic designers behind Black Rifle Coffee's signature look and vibe.

Medal of Honor is held up.
Biden Will Award Medal of Honor to Army Helicopter Pilot Who Rescued Soldiers in Vietnam Firefight

Biden will award the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save a reconnaissance team from almost certain death.

dear jack mandaville
Dear Jack: Which Historic Battle Would You Want To Witness?

Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.

west point time capsule
West Point Time Capsule Yields Centuries-Old Coins

A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
Contact Us
© 2024 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved