More than 80 initial-entry Army Reserve Soldiers graduated the Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Advanced Individual Training course during a ceremony March 22 on Fort Bragg, N.C.

The 10-week course, run by the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, immediately follows Soldiers' completion of their Army Basic Combat Training in order to teach them the specific skills necessary to enter their chosen career fields.

During the ceremony, course administrators recognized the Soldiers with the highest academic marks as distinguished honor graduates.

Pfc. Tammy Lee, of the 448th Civil Affairs Battalion out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., was named the class's Civil Affairs distinguished honor graduate.

Spc. Derek Samms, of the 315th Tactical Military Information Support Company out of Upland, Calif., was named the class's Psychological Operations distinguished honor graduate.

All graduates will return to their home state to serve as U.S. Army Reserve citizen-Soldiers. They will each be assigned to a unit within the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), which oversees subordinate units in communities across the country.

Advanced Individual Training focuses on what is known in the Army as skill-level-one critical tasks. While many lessons such as weapon qualification and land navigation are taught to all course attendees, the Soldiers are also separated by their chosen branch in order to focus on their needed specialties.

For Civil Affairs Soldiers, those lessons include working as a team in order to prepare and conduct humanitarian missions, area and capability assessments, and building trust and rapport with others through regional and cultural familiarity.

Civil Affairs teams can quickly and systemically identify critical requirements needed by local citizens in war or disaster situations; the work with civilian authorities and populations to lessen the impact of military operations.

Psychological Operations level-one skills include foreign-audience analysis, selection of themes and symbols, and identification of relevant information.

Psychological Operations Soldiers conduct military information support operations in order to disseminate truthful information to foreign audiences in support of U.S. policy and national objectives.

SWCS manages all Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations training and education for both the U.S. Army Reserve and active-duty forces.

Page last updated Fri March 23rd, 2012 at 00:00