News: First-term soldier and seasoned NCO win CAPOC Best Warrior
FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Top competitors gathered from all corners of the country to participate in the U.S. Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Command (Airborne) Best Warrior Competition here, May 4-8. The competition was a grueling 5-day event that not only tested the tactical and technical skill of the 16 competitors but also tested their mental fortitude and physical strength.
The competition began as a race against the clock during an Army physical fitness test and continued with a written test, day and night orienteering, an obstacle course, a 10k ruck-march as well as weapons familiarization. Soldiers were also tested on their Army knowledge and warrior tasks at an appearance board where they stood in front of the command’s most senior enlisted leaders.
“I enjoy doing all the Army stuff; going to the field, the land navigation, physical training,” said Pfc. Michael T. Bullis, of the 312th Psychological Operations Co.
“I have enjoyed applying all the skills I have learned.”
Each Soldier at this competition was a seasoned competitor having won competitions leading up to the USACAPOC(A) BWC and each brought specific strengths, skills, and experience ranging from the newly enlisted Soldier to the seasoned Non-Commissioned Officer.
"I told a lot of my friends back home that I was in this competition, and they said that it is really cool that I just got out of basic (training) and I was chosen to represent my unit,” said Bullis. “I am really proud to be here.”
This is the sixth year that the Army Reserve has held BWC events, and the third year that USACAPOC(A) has participated.
The competition was designed to not only test the skills and knowledge of the competitors, but also to challenge their strength and willpower, said Master Sgt. Brooks, the USACAPOC(A) competition coordinator.
“This year, we built the schedule of events to be extremely challenging compared to the previous years,” said Brooks. “The land navigation portion of the event topped off a day that started at 3:30a.m. and the schedule of events was not going to end until 2:30a.m. the following morning.”
According to Bullis the most challenging part of this experience were the early mornings. “Waking up at 2a.m. for the ruck-march and knowing that I still had the rest of the day ahead of me and I probably wasn’t going to be able to hit the sack for another 14 hours was rough,” said Bullis. “It’s been hard, but I’ve had a really good time with it.”
While some events in the competition are standard Soldier tasks at a basic level, the USACAPOC(A) competition committee was able to incorporate skills-training that Soldiers do not receive on a regular basis.
“We have been able to incorporate training into this competition, for example the M249 and M240, simply for familiarization,” said Brooks. “Some soldiers have never operated a crew-served weapons-system before, so for us to take some of the competition stress away with the addition of training, the soldiers could concentrate on learning the fundamentals and enjoy the training aspect.”
Soldiers are renowned for their preparation and training. Staff Sgt. Derek Hahn and his sponsor Sgt. Roland Pena of the 341st Psychological Operations Co. trained in their off-time.
“We trained at Camp Bullis for ruck-marching, combatives, the obstacle course and we ran through a lot of mock-boards to get Hahn ready,” said Pena.
“I enjoy challenge and competition,” said Hahn. “If you are not pushing yourself every day; I think you are wasting the time that you are given. There is no reason to do something if you are going to do it halfway; you’ve got to do it full-on.”
First term Soldier and police officer cadet Spc. Adam Engel of the 352nd Civil Affairs Command not only embraced the hectic schedule and atmosphere of the BWC, but excelled.
“I like to think that the more you put into something, the more you’ll get out of it. I put in a lot, and I feel like I really got a lot out of it,” said Engel. “I think that the training we receive at our Battle Assemblies is good, but there is nothing like the opportunity to be a part of this.”
Engel went on to say that his philosophy is to always do your best. “Throughout this whole competition, my mantra was ‘win or lose’; as long as you give it your all- you don’t regret anything,” he stated. “Every single event, I gave it 100 percent. If someone is going to beat you, they are going to have to earn it.”
Along with friendly competition, the soldiers of the BWC gained a new respect for fellow comrades.
“I’ve learned a lot about the way that USACAPOC(A) functions as a whole,” said Hahn. “I learned how all the components such as civil affairs, military intelligence and supply work together for USACAPOC(A); we are all soldiers and we all share the same mission.”
At the end of the competition, soldiers chattered away while they cleaned their gear and equipment. Despite the fact that they were working on a lack of sleep and physical exhaustion, the competitors talked about what they had learned from this experience.
“I want to take back what USACAPOC(A) does for esprit de corps- take it back for next year’s BWC so that any one of my Soldiers can come back and accomplish this,” said Hahn.
Both Engel and Hahn took home top BWC honors and were named USACAPOC(A) Soldier of the Year and Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year. Both will immediately begin preparing for the Army Reserve Command Best Warrior Competition this summer at Fort McCoy, Wis. where they will represent all of USACAPOC(A). But first, Hahn will have to get over the immediate shock of victory.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” said Hahn. “The guys here are really competent, proficient, and professional. I am really honored to be a part of this.”
Date Posted:05.30.2012 20:56
Location:FORT BRAGG, NC, US
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