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    82nd paratrooper competes in XVIII Airborne Corps Soldier of the Year

    82nd paratrooper competes in XVIII Airborne Corps Soldier of the Year

    Photo By Spc. Audrianna Arellano | Dummy hand grenades used by the competitors during the warrior tasks and battle drills...... read more read more

    FORT BRAGG, NC, UNITED STATES

    06.24.2018

    Story by Pfc. Audrianna Arellano 

    82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade

    He won 3rd Brigade Combat Team Soldier of the Year competition, wears the title of 82nd Airborne Division Soldier of the Year and is now competing for the title of XVIII Airborne Corps' Soldier of the Year.
    Spc. Christian Caudle, an infantryman assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 505th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, says he's competing to win.
    "I'm expecting to win this competition," said Caudle. "I know it's going to be a difficult competition, but I'm looking forward to the challenge."
    The XVIII Airborne Corps Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year competition began Monday, June 25.
    Forces Command (FORSCOM) soldiers throughout the U.S. Army gathered at the Academy in Fort Bragg, North Carolina to compete. Two soldiers from each unit, an NCO and a junior enlisted, were chosen to represent their units.
    The competitors had to compete within the lowest levels of their brigade to make it to this level, explained 1st Sgt. Jordan Lee, the NCO in charge of the competition.
    "Those that come here and go above and beyond get to crown themselves the best warrior," said Lee.
    Caudle, a Colleyville, Texas-native, is the junior enlisted competitor representing the 82nd Airborne Division.
    "It means a lot that I was first just even picked to start the competition at its lowest stage, and to have so much support," explained Caudle. "My motivation is to make my unit proud."
    On day one, competitors took an Army Physical Fitness Test, completed an Air Assault obstacle course, and tested their knowledge on the medical portion of warrior tasks and battle drills.
    "I'm really looking forward to the medical events," expressed Caudle. "That's where I feel most confident in my own skills and where others might not be as confident."
    During the medical test, Caudle proved his knowledge on medical aid to be very extensive, however, the test was timed and he slowed himself down.
    "My grader in the medical lane said I was being way too specific," laughed Caudle. "At least they knew that I knew what I was doing."
    Day two consisted of night into day land navigation, more warrior tasks and battle drills testing, and a written exam. Competitors began the land navigation at 2 a.m.
    Caudle was the first competitor to finish the land navigation course.
    "I came in 30 minutes before everyone else and I got all five of my points on the first try," said Caudle.
    While waiting to be briefed on the events that followed land navigation, Caudle was studying warrior tasks and battle drills. He had a notepad in one hand and a Meal Ready to Eat in the other.
    "I try to take everything as seriously as possible," said Caudle.
    Caudle said it's very important for him to excel at basic warrior tasks and battle drills.
    "This is my job," explained Caudle. "I'm at an advantage because not everybody does this as often as infantry does."
    The third day was weapons qualification. The weapons qualification was the last portion before the top four NCOs and Soldiers were chosen to partake in the board. The final task before the winners are announced.
    Competitors qualified on three weapons systems; an M4 Carbine, M9 Service Pistol and an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon lightweight machine gun
    "I feel pretty good about my standing in the competition," said Caudle. "I trust my skills in the weapons based events."
    During the qualifications, Caudle carefully watched as the other competitors shot. He paid attention to the pop-up target placements. Caudle said he wasn’t worried at all.
    "I like to think that I could do this in my sleep," laughed Caudle.
    Caudle, along with the NCO representing the 82nd Airborne Division, Staff Sgt. Aaron Ackley, made it to the final round.
    The competition culminated with the board event. Caudle placed fourth in the competition.
    "I am very happy to be in the top four," expressed Caudle. "This is what I set out to accomplish.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.24.2018
    Date Posted: 06.29.2018 15:56
    Story ID: 282869
    Location: FORT BRAGG, NC, US 
    Hometown: COLLEYVILLE, TX, US

    Web Views: 185
    Downloads: 1
    Podcast Hits: 0

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