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Student, Army reservist prepares for Best Warrior Competition

Serving in the U.S. Army reserves has given Shayn Lindquist the opportunity to honor his country while getting an education at Central Michigan University.

The Clarkston junior joined the Army Reserve prior to starting his senior year of high school. He wanted to further his education and obtain a degree.

Lindquist serves in the 414th Civil Affairs Battalion and studies international relations. In February, Lindquist faced off against nine other competitors from various parts of the country at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia as part of the Best Warrior Competition.

He won first place.

The competition is an annual Army-wide competition that serves to find the most tactically sound and proficient soldier. The event is divided into levels, beginning with selecting a representative among members of each individual battalion.

“It is hard for the unit to find people to (compete) because people are busy with their schedules, such as with work and school,” Lindquist said. “I wanted to go and was dedicated to volunteering.”

His eligibility was determined by a board of soldiers associated with his battalion. His success in the Army Physical Fitness Test and a strenuous march while carrying massive weight landed him the opportunity.

U.S. Staff Sgt. Nicholas Maisel serves as Lindquist’s sponsor, mentor, coach and contest adviser.

“I think that Lindquist being a student and a soldier sets him apart,” Maisel said. “He has decided to serve his country and not everyone will or can do that. He also has an increased workload due to his military commitment and is succeeding very well.”

The event kicked off with an Army Physical Fitness Test prior to a 25-question written test on American and military history with an essay portion asking what it meant to be a soldier.

The competition intensified with a 10-mile road march while carrying a 42-pound weight. This was immediately followed by a mock event in which a civil affairs team moved into a village with enemy combatants and performed an assessment, provided first aid, conducted a nine-line medevac request and withdrew from the kill zone.

Lindquist’s battalion specializes in U.S. relations to civil authorities and civilian populations located in the Middle East.

Their responsibilities are to analyze, support and learn about populations in times of peace and contingency plans in case of war, Lindquist said. Jobs include organizing and executing non-combatant evacuations and strengthening communication with civilian aid agencies.

The Best Warrior Competition concluded with an oral examination, a weapon qualification portion and a land navigation segment. The land navigation task challenged Lindquist to find points in the woods on foot using only a map and compass.

Lindquist said he found the back-to-back challenges extremely vigorous and rewarding.

“Having won this contest means that he will now compete at a higher level for the next round,” Maisel said. “The competition only gets better at each level. Some of the events will be similar but the proficiency and grading gets harder.”

Lindquist is busy preparing for the next level of the Best Warrior Competition, which will take place April 2-7.

Maisel has confidence in Lindquist’s abilities as April approaches.

“Lindquist has a bright future and he has talked of becoming an officer once he graduates,” Maisel said. “He is proving that he is mission capable and that he can successfully lead soldiers. He is a warrior.”