Captain Josh Swartsel

Harold C. Keller Public Service Leadership Award: 2012

CPT Josh Swartsel is a native of Orlando, FL currently living in Spring Lake, NC. He attended Lake Highland Preparatory School before joining the United States Military Academy at West Point’s Class of 2007. Josh received his Bachelors of Science in International Relations, graduating with the Distinguished Cadet Award, the inaugural Pershing Writing Award, and other political science achievements. While at the Academy, Josh founded and captained the West Point Parliamentary Debate Team, and established their first annual tournament in the American Parliamentary Debate Association.

Josh was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Armor Corps and was posted to the 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood TX. He served as a Tank Platoon Leader, and Tank Company Executive Officer before deploying to Ninewa Province, Iraq in 2008 for combat actions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While in Iraq, Josh transitioned to serve as the Headquarters Company Executive Officer, managing non-lethal and humanitarian assistance for the city of Keyyarah.

Upon his return from Iraq, Josh was selected by the Army Special Operations board as a candidate for Civil Affairs. He has recently completed the 18-month pipeline to include the Captain’s Career Course, the Tagalog Special Operations Language Course, and the Civil Affairs Qualification Course. In March of this year, CPT Swartsel was selected for service in the 97th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), US Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, NC where he serves as a Deputy Civil Military Operations Center Chief, supporting Special Operations Command – Pacific. His next assignment will be as a Special Operations Civil Affairs Team Leader, deploying in support of Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines or other contingency operations across the world.

CPT Swartsel’s military decorations include the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and German Armed Forces Military Proficiency Badge, along with the Commandant’s List at the Career and Qualification Courses.

As a student congress competitor from 1999 – 2003, Josh won championship rounds at Wake Forest, the Blue Key Invitational, and Tournament, and the 2003 NFL House National Championship.