Fort Bragg, N.C. - The sweat trickled down the faces of the competitors as they excitedly crossed the finish line of the latest iteration of the XVIII Airborne Corps’ Bridge Separates Best Squad Competition held Dec. 6-7, 2022, The title of “Best Squad” was earned by the squad assigned to Charlie Battery, 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Field Artillery Brigade as they were crowned the best of the best among the 8 teams that competed.
This bi-annual competition puts Soldiers to the test, going head-to-head in a series of events that tests them physically, mentally and tactically. The eight teams competing included 525th Expeditionary-Military Intelligence Brigade, 44th Medical Brigade, 35th Signal Brigade, 18th Field Artillery Brigade, 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 16th Military Police Brigade, 7th Transportation Brigade - Expeditionary, and the 20th Engineer Brigade.
“The importance of this event was to assess each squads lethality, physical fitness, and readiness with resiliency throughout the two-day competition.” said Sgt. Maj. Walter E. Kirk, the operations sergeant major for the XVIII Airborne Corps. “This competition challenged them both physically and mentality after two days of strenuous activity.”
A squad consists 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.
These events included the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), a qualification and stress shoot with assigned weapons, an obstacle course, tactical medical lanes, land navigation, and a unique mystery event challenging their physical stigma and mental acuity.
The spirit of this competition is aimed to increase overall readiness among those Soldiers involved by instilling tactical and technical proficiency and building teamwork, confidence and camaraderie among the squads.
It also aligns with the U.S. Army’s “This Is My Squad” or TIMS initiative. The purpose of TIMS is to build cooperative and cohesive teams throughout the U.S. Army.
“The best squad competition teaches me as a Soldier to become more lethal and tactical when getting over obstacles that you can’t do alone, '' said U.S. Army Spc. Nico Coleman, a member of the 20th Engineer Brigade squad.
While the 18th Field Artillery Brigade can sit comfortably with the title of “Best Squad” for now, they will have to keep training hard to keep that title as the competition kicks off again in June of 2023.