By Lt. Col. Jefferson WolfeNovember 12, 2019
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) hosted this year's Worldwide Psychological Operations Conference Nov. 7 at the command's headquarters building.
The event provided a forum for more than 90 members of the Army PSYOP Regiment and Joint Military Information Support Operations community to showcase their efforts and initiatives, share information, discuss issues affecting the Army and Joint MISO force, and recognize contributions to the profession.
Leaders from around the PSYOP community, including those from USACAPOC(A)'s subordinate units, attended the event.
The Worldwide PSYOP Conference brought together personnel from the Army Reserve, active Army and joint force, said Lt. Col. Aaron Clapsaddle, chief of training, for USACAPOC(A).
"It helps integrate USACAPOC into the Total Force and into the joint psychological operations force," he said.
The day's focus was to work out new ways for all the elements to work together and find different strategies to get at better readiness, he added.
"I was asked to give a doctrine update," Al Lunt, the chief of PSYOP Doctrine Division, the PSYOP Proponent at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS). "Today I'm just giving this group an overview of the status of PSYOP doctrine."
This includes discussion of current manuals and the timeline to update the doctrine, he said.
"We cannot write doctrine without input from the operational force, so my intent with this formation is to kind of energize them to be expecting stuff to come out and to provide us comments because we can't write it in a vacuum," Lunt said.
This large-scale kind of gathering used to take place annually, but there has not been one in over a decade, he said.
"This is a big deal to have senior leaders from the battalions and groups here for this event," Lunt said.
USACAPOC(A) Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Darrell J. Guthrie, was the event's host and provided opening remarks.
During the Worldwide Conference, a PSYOP regimental awards ceremony took place, with the presentation of six Major General Robert A. McClure Awards. Four of the awards were presented to current or former USACAPOC(A) Soldiers.
The Major General Robert A. McClure Medallion annually recognizes those veterans of the Regiment who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity, moral character, and outstanding professional competence in direct support of the U.S. Army Psychological Operations Regiment.
"These awards are based on what you've contributed to the regiment," Clapsaddle said. "It's a pretty big honor."
Retired Col. Michael R. Lwin and Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Courtney S. Mabus received the McClure Award's Gold Medallion.
It is the most prestigious and of the highest order of the three awards. It is awarded annually to the most distinguished member(s) of the Regiment who have contributed to the career field and function of PSYOP in support of national defense, and should be recognized as a lifetime achievement award.
Recipients must have uncompromising character, competence, and commitment to the PSYOP Regiment as well as an unblemished career and a lifetime of service to the Regiment.
Gold Medallion Award recipients epitomize standards of performance and excellence that have earned them unquestionable respect and admiration of the entire community.
Clapsaddle and Maj. Joseph E. Begley, Headquarters, 7th PSYOP Group, USACAPOC(A) received the Silver Medallion.
"I've been in the regiment almost 18 years now, and it's kind of a big thing for me, especially since I'm retiring soon," Clapsaddle said.
It recognizes those persons who have had an exceptionally significant impact on the Psychological Operations Regiment, over a period that spans numerous assignments and a minimum of 10 years active or reserve service, in various units and organizations within the Regiment, or in activities or organizations that directly support the Regiment.
Service performed must have had a singularly outstanding positive impact on each organization or activity in which the individual was assigned, demonstrated by exceptional performance of duty in various positions with progressive increases in responsibility.
Service performed by the individual must have clearly exceeded that of the majority of those within the individual's peer group, as evidenced by accumulated awards, citations, reputation and selection for promotion to higher rank and increases in levels of responsibility over the time period in the first criteria.
Capt. Tara K. Westby, Executive Officer, 305th PSYOP Company (Tactical), USACAPOC(A), mobilized as content production cell branch chief, U.S. Central Command at MacDill AFB; and USACAPOC(A) Soldier Master Sgt. Eric D. Viburs, PSYOP Training development NCO, PSYOP directorate, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, received the Bronze Medallion.
It is awarded to those persons who have demonstrated a high degree of professional competence, standards of integrity and moral character, and a strong devotion to duty and country.
The individuals nominated must clearly stand out in the eyes of their seniors, subordinates and peers alike. Nominees must have demonstrated successful tactical and technical competence and leadership in a tactical, regional, or dissemination PSYOP unit as a Tactical Detachment Sergeant, PSYOP Detachment Sergeant, or Detachment Commander.