Sullivan Cup tank competition winners announced - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Sullivan Cup tank competition winners announced

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Tank craws evacuated simulated causalities during the Sullivan Cup competition at Fort Benning. (Photo: @JMitchellWRBL / Twitter) Tank craws evacuated simulated causalities during the Sullivan Cup competition at Fort Benning. (Photo: @JMitchellWRBL / Twitter)
COLUMBUS, Ga. - The best tank crews from around the world competed at Fort Benning for the 2nd Biennial Sullivan Cup.

A four-man crew representing 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, has won the second Sullivan Cup Competition. The chief of armor, Brig. Gen. Leopoldo Quintas, presented the Order of St. George Medallion and the Sullivan Cup to Sgt. 1st Class James Grider, Sgt. Kevin Luu, Spc. Benjamin Whiteman and Pfc. Thomas Carter during the awards ceremony today.Finishing in second place was a team from 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

In third place, also from Fort Hood, was a team from 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

The Sullivan Cup is a four-day precision gunnery and armor contests

pits 18 teams of four soldiers against each other in challenges involving gunnery, maintenance, physical fitness and driving.

Tasks like rescuing a casualty after an IED explosion are part of everyday life for tankers on the battlefield. For the Sullivan Cup, these skills are put to the test, and organizers say it truly shows the best of the best.

COL Scott King, Commander of the 194th Armored Brigade, says, "
We pulled these tasks, looked at them, and we looked at what we've done the past 12 years in Iraq and Afghanistan, and tried to kind of blend them in together to come up with the tasks we came up with."

During the physical competition, crews faced challenges like reloading tank rounds over a course of 100 meters, and breaking and changing the track of a tank and carrying the 300-pound piece to another location 100 meters away. All the events require each crew member's complete dedication to the team.

"If somebody's not pulling their weight you'll be able to tell because it pretty much takes all four people to move a track," says Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge of the track-break event, SSG Andrew Jenkins.

After completing the track-break task, SFC Richard Foist from 1-72 AR out of Camp Casey, Korea said, "The track event is not an individual event. It's going to take all four individuals because of the amount of weight and the distribution of the weight between tightening the bolts and carrying it. I mean, you're carrying it 100 meters uphill, so teamwork."

Teamwork applied to the ammo-run also. The Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge of that event, SFC Dawson Morse, says, "Between the four of you, if they're not communicating and cooperating amongst the team, their total time will suffer."

"They train hard and they want to work together, and what we're seeing out here in a couple of these events is the crewmen working together," says COL King. "One is fast, so he's doing the running, another is strong, so he's lifting, and so how they blend together as a team. That's I think what we're all about in the Army is working as a team."

The competition is named for retired Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, the Army’s 32nd chief of staff.

During a career that spanned more than 30 years, Sullivan served as the deputy commandant of the U.S. Army Armor School at Fort Knox, Kentucky. As the chief of staff for the Army, Sullivan is credited with leading the Army’s transition out of its Cold War posture. He retired from the Army in July 1995.

The Sullivan Cup Competition is a biennial event. The next contest will be conducted in 2016.

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