In early April, the best Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs troops came together and competed in the 2021 Best Warrior Competition.
Hosted every year by the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC), the Best Warrior Competition is open to enlisted, noncommissioned officers, and officers from across the community.
The Command’s Best Warrior Competition is an annual event that brings together troops from across the PSYOP and Civil Affairs career fields in an attempt to find the best. The Best Warrior Competition focuses on three elements: adaptability, technical proficiency, and tactics. All of these skills are tested under extreme mental and psychical stress to better simulate battlefield conditions. Competitors have to complete a series of tests and challenges under a certain amount of time and criteria.
The top performers earn the top NCO and Soldier awards in addition to getting a spot at the U.S Army Reserve’s Best Warrior Competition, which will take place later in the year.
The event began with the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) and then proceed to increasingly more complex tasks, including M4 Rifle Qualification, M17 Pistol Qualification, Tactical Army Combat Casualty Test (TCCC), Land Navigation, 12-mile ruck march to be complete in three hours, Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment (OCIE) Layout “shakedown,” an Expert Soldier Badge Task, the Fit to Win II course, the CSM Appearance Board, and the German Armed Forces Badge (GAFB) 1,000-meter run.
This year’s winners are:
- Staff Sgt. Jonathon Chacon, assigned to 426th Civil Affairs Bn., 358th Civil Affairs Brigade, 351st CACOM, USACAPOC(A) NCO of the Year.
- Spc. Jaime Delgado, assigned to the 412th Civil Affairs Bn., 360th Civil Affairs Brigade, 352nd CACOM, USACAPOC(A) Soldier of the Year.
- Sgt. Shayn Lindquist, assigned to the 412th Civil Affairs Bn., 360th Civil Affairs Brigade, 352nd CACOM, USACAPOC(A) NCO of the Year, Runner Up.
- Spc. Daniel Bush, assigned to the 418th Civil Affairs Bn., 308th Civil Affairs Brigade, 353rd CACOM, USACAPOC(A) Soldier of the Year Runner Up.
Psychological Operations troops specialize in influence and information operations, often working with interagency partners, and covering the whole spectrum of such operations.
Civil Affairs troops bridge the military and the political and diplomatic worlds by interacting with local populations.
There are both conventional and special operations Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs units.
This competition shouldn’t be confused with the Best Ranger Competition, a similar but more tactically and physically arduous event that determines which Ranger-qualified soldiers are the best in the Army. In the Ranger iteration, it isn’t uncommon to have Delta Force operators, 82nd Airborne Division NCOs, and Soldiers from the 75th Ranger Regiment.