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101st Airborne Division Holds “Best of the Best” Artillery Competition – Clarksville Online

Fort Campbell, Kentucky – The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) hosted a “Best of the Best” competition that gave gunners the opportunity to represent their batteries in a three-day competition that tests their skills in a variety of tasks. The soldiers trained for weeks with their teams ahead of the competition which began on October 19, 2022 and ended on October 20.

“The Best of the Best competition allows us to compete with our peers to see who really is the best,” said Master Sgt. Joseph Neal, fire direction center chief with Charlie Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.




Each day, the soldiers began with an event that assessed their physical strength and endurance. On the first day, they completed an Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT).

“Implementing the ACFT as part of the Best of the Best is significant because it is being implemented for registration across the military,” Neal explained.

Day two started at the Sabalauski Air Assault School obstacle course. The soldiers were divided into teams and were timed to see how quickly each team could clear each obstacle on the course. Cheers of encouragement and excitement could be heard throughout the course as soldiers cheered on their teammates and rivals.

Soldiers from the 101st Division Artillery Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), compete in the culminating event of the Division Artillery's Best of the Best competition at Fort Campbell, Ky., on 21 October 2022. Soldiers from across the brigade competed in many different competitive events to win the competition.  (Spc. Laura Hardin, US Army)
Soldiers from the 101st Division Artillery Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), compete in the culminating event of the Division Artillery’s Best of the Best competition at Fort Campbell, Ky., on 21 October 2022. Soldiers from across the brigade competed in many different competitive events to win the competition. (Spc. Laura Hardin, US Army)

After completing the obstacle course, soldiers moved on to their next event, the Table V qualification tables. Table V events test a soldier’s ability to effectively deploy and use their equipment and systems. weapons. Forward observer teams moved to their designated locations and began deploying the communications equipment they would need to communicate effectively with their gunnery team.


Observers were scored on their ability to quickly set up all their equipment, camouflage their vehicle, and accurately call in a fire mission with information given to them prior to the event.

“We’ve had a lot of training over the past few weeks for our qualifying tables.” explained Spc. Michael McFarland, who is also assigned to 3-320th. “We have been working very hard and staying late most of the time to perfect our V table preparation.”

Soldiers from the 101st Division Artillery Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), compete in the culminating event of the Division Artillery's Best of the Best competition at Fort Campbell, Ky., on 21 October 2022. Soldiers from across the brigade competed in many different competitive events to win the competition.  (Spc. Laura Hardin, US Army)
Soldiers from the 101st Division Artillery Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), compete in the culminating event of the Division Artillery’s Best of the Best competition at Fort Campbell, Ky., on 21 October 2022. Soldiers from across the brigade competed in many different competitive events to win the competition. (Spc. Laura Hardin, US Army)

Meanwhile, the artillery teams were busy in the engine pool preparing their howitzers for movement. They towed their artillery pieces to their designated locations and set to work. The crews had to disembark quickly and perform a fire mission.

The soldiers began their final day of competition with a six-mile march. Teams were judged on the average time it took each soldier on the team to cross the finish line.


“I think we’re doing very well, we’ve had a few hiccups here and there, but we’re getting it all together and it lets us see where we are on an individual level,” Neal said. After the ruck, they moved on to the final mystery event which tested the FA soldiers on the various tasks they are expected to perform each day.

After the scores were tallied, it was announced that 3-320th were the winners of the 2022 “Best of the Best” contest.

“These competitions allow you to see your skill level not only as an individual, but also as a crew member,” Neil said. “It boosted the morale and trust between us as we pushed and motivated each other to overcome the challenges we faced during the competition.”