By Sgt. Kyle Fisch


U.S. Army Special Operations Command retention recently held its annual Career Counselor of the Year Competition at various locations around Fort Bragg. Staff Sgt. Gwen Vanetten, a career counselor assigned to 4th Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group, was declared the winner.

The competition was held Nov. 16 and 17 and was led by Sgt. Maj. Carla Hubble, USASOC command career counselor, as the president of the board.

“It (the competition) starts with a PT (physical fitness) test, which is worth 10 percent of the total points for the competition. Followed up by a one-hour, 50-question, no-notes, closed-book written test which is worth 40 percent,” Hubble said. “The competition concludes with a CCOYC formal board, which consists of five panel members who are senior career counselors or retention-related, and it is worth 50 percent,” she explained.

“This year’s competition was very close; it was less than half a point that separated first place and the runner-up. The board portion was tied, but the written test is what made the difference for this particular board,” Hubble said. “Staff Sergeant’s Vanetten’s knowledge of the retention program was just phenomenal and is what ended up winning this year’s competition in the end.”

Edging out the competition, Vanetten said this year was her redemption after coming in second in last year’s competition, which was also very close.

“Last year, I got runner-up at the USASOC level. I was a little bummed out about it, but I was looking forward to trying again this year,” she said.

Vanetten said that while nervous she’s ready for the DA competition.

“I’m excited to represent USASOC to the best of my abilities and I really hope to bring home the win this year. I think this will be our year,” she said.

“We’ve been runner-up for two years in a row at DA so third time’s a charm,” Hubble said. “I really do think she has what it takes to win. She has some previous board experience, and we’ve got about two months to groom and prepare her.”

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