The Bayonet

Tuesday, May. 13, 2014

Sullivan Cup kicks off at Fort Benning

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As the 2014 Sullivan Cup kicked off May 12 at various locations on Harmony Church, the 194th Armored Brigade commander Col. Scott King said spectators will have a unique view of Armor tanks operated by some of the best crews in the world.

"We will show them some of the great tanks in the United States Army and what they can do," King said. "This is a great opportunity for them to come out and we actually have bleachers set up where they can see some of these tanks. We call it the sounds of freedom and we think they will better understand that when they come."

This year's event includes 17 tank crews from Army, Marine Corps and international teams. Day 1 featured several tactical challenges that required teamwork, quick thinking and basic Armor knowledge. "Today we did a lot of tank physical tasks, such as evacuating a crewman from a turret and track maintenance," King said. "It's a great competition and there's been a lot of cross-talking between the crews. Some are from different platforms, such as the tank A1s versus the newest A2 tanks."

Staff Sgt. Andrew Jenkins, noncommissioned officer in charge for the track maintenance challenge, said the tasks are common for any Armor Soldier. The track maintenance task simulated a broken track in combat, requiring crews to use tools to break down a 300-pound section of the track, carry it 100 meters to an exchange point and reassemble it.

"This is something that they would normally do in combat," Jenkins said. "This is the backbone of some of the basic stuff that they are trained and taught their entire careers. Track maintenance is as essential as changing a tire on a car. They wear out very quickly and it's very physically demanding."

As the crew from 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, from Korea, finished the challenge, tank commander Sgt. 1st Class Richard Foist said future Sullivan Cup teams should rely on every member of the crew to be successful.

"The track maintenance is not an individual event," he said. "It will take all four individuals because of the amount of weight and distribution of the weight in between the tightening of the bolts and carrying them 100 meters uphill."

The competition continues Wednesday and concludes May 15 with a shoot off between the final four teams at 8 a.m. followed by an awards ceremony at noon at the Digital Multi-Purpose Range Complex. The public is invited to attend each event. For more information, visit the Armor School website at www.benning.army.mil/armor.

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