FORT BRAGG, N.C. – The 12 best squads from across the U.S. Army have battled their way to the top of their respective commands, and they will now represent their senior commands during the U.S. Army’s first-ever Best Squad Competition set to take place at Fort Bragg, N.C. from Sept. 29 through Oct 7.
The week-long competition will assess each squad on their technical and tactical proficiency, as well as their ability to work as a disciplined and cohesive team. The competition features a multitude of different fitness and combat related events ranging from the Army Combat Fitness Test and various weapons lanes, to a strenuous 12-mile foot march and detailed individual warrior tasks and squad battle drills. Afterward, the top four teams of the week will travel to Washington, D.C. for a board-style interview that will test their knowledge and professionalism in front of top Army leaders.
Each squad will consist of five Soldiers: a squad leader, which is a sergeant first class or staff sergeant; a team leader, which is sergeant or corporal; and three squad members in the ranks of specialist or below.
“We are very excited to host the first-ever U.S. Army Best Squad Competition right here on Fort Bragg,” said U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. T.J. Holland, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg’s senior enlisted advisor. “As the home of the Airborne and Special Operations, there is no better location to host this great competition, and Fort Bragg is proud to welcome each team. We look forward to seeing who comes out on top.”
Throughout the year, these Squads have had to work through a series of Best Squad Competitions at each level of command. In order to reach the Army-wide level of competition, the squads had to win competitions at the brigade, division, corps and command level.
The 12 squads competing in this year’s Army-level competition include: U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Army Futures Command, The Army National Guard, The United States Army Reserve, The United States Army Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Cyber Command, U.S. Army Pacific, U.S. Army Europe and Africa, Military District of Washington and The U.S. Army Medical Command.
Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston announced the Best Squad Competition as one of the Army’s key readiness efforts in a speech at an Association of the United States Army summit in Fayetteville, North Carolina, earlier this summer.
“It’s the first time we’ve done a Best Squad Competition. I know we’ve done those in the Army, but this is the first time we’ve done it for all of the Army,” Grinston said.
Grinston also plans to select the NCO and Soldier of the Year from among the 60 competitors, but they won’t necessarily come from the winning squad.
“I want units to really think about what makes up a squad,” Grinston explained. “’This is My Squad’ initiative isn’t just about the traditional infantry squad. It’s about those small groups of Soldiers who really know and care about each other and hold each other to a high standard of proficiency, discipline and fitness.”
Grinston will be joined by Gen. James C. McConville, the 40th Army Chief of Staff, as they announce the U.S. Army’s Best Squad winner on Oct. 12 at the Association of The United States Army Annual Convention in Washington D.C.