By Staff Sgt. Thomas G. Collins/27th PADSeptember 3, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The fog was thick Aug. 22 as competitors met before dawn at Pope Field's Hercules Fitness Center. They were ready and able to take the Army Physical Fitness Test that started the 16th Military Police Brigade's Best Officer of the Year competition.
The 16th MP Bde's BOYC is an opportunity for officers to prove themselves against their peers in fierce competition by going head to head in events that included an obstacle course, rifle marksmanship, APFT, urban orienteering, an exam and a military board.
"This competition is designed so that officers from across the brigade can distinguish themselves," said Capt. Julie V. Austin, assistant training and operations officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th MP Bde.
The second annual competition is styled after best Soldier competitions in which enlisted Soldiers test their training and military skills.
"Soldiers go through these types of competitions to challenge themselves both mentally and physically," said Austin. "So to put officers through the same kind of test, it just puts things into perspective and allows opportunities to earn respect from their Soldiers."
A platoon leader from the 503rd MP Battalion (Airborne), 16th Military Police Brigade, Fort Bragg, 2nd Lt. Gina Smith,g, has earned the respect of her Soldiers, some of whom were there cheering her on.
Smith was named the 16th MP Brigade Best Officer of the Year Aug. 23, during a brigade cookout.
Smith separated herself from the other competitors by running a 13-minute, 2-mile and having a strong overall time during the obstacle course.
"The obstacle course was grueling," said Smith. "I almost didn't make it over the last obstacle, but I knew I had two more attempts so I made them count."
A female officer also won the competition last year, said Smith. She said she decided to compete because if she succeeded in this competition then she can lead her troops.
"This is a way to put officers through the paces," said Col. Chad B. McRee, 16th MP Brigade commanding officer, in regards to the competition. "We are able to demonstrate to the Soldiers of this command what their officers are made of."