Gainey Cup highlights recon forces
March 15, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga. (March 13, 2013) -- Nineteen teams competed at the inaugural Gainey Cup competition, but only one came away the victor.
1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, was given the top prize at the awards ceremony March 5, the final day of the competition. Hailing from Fort Richardson, Alaska, the team included Staff Sgt. Justin Miller, Sgt. Zachary Adkins, Spc. Alexander Berlin, Spc. Mitchell Sanderson and Pfc. Joseph Calderon.
The 82nd Airborne Division came in second, and the 3rd Infantry Division placed third.
"It's phenomenal," said Miller, team leader for 25th ID. "I feel like the best Scout in the Army. Our entire command is proud of us right now."
Miller said it was truly a team effort. The junior-enlisted Soldiers all stepped up to fill NCO-level roles, and everyone worked together, he said.
"It was challenging," he said. "The Discipulus Validus was grueling. I think everybody hated the tire flip. It definitely tested our abilities as Scouts. We were just very energetic the entire time. I don't think we could have been more motivated. It was all about not second-guessing yourself. Everybody knew their fundamentals."
The team trained for three weeks before leaving for Fort Benning. Miller said he heard other teams had longer, which had worried him, but their dedication paid off.
Team members took away a number of prizes, including the Order of Saint George Medallion, the Draper Armor Leadership Award, sabers, Cavalry belt buckles, a Pietta 1860 .44-caliber percussion pistol, Army Commendation Medals and a Cavalry print signed by retired Command Sgt. Maj. William Gainey.
Miller said he felt fortunate to meet Gainey, who attended many of the events throughout the four-day competition.
"To be able to interact with the competition's namesake and see how proud he was, it was just amazing," he said.
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Clemens, command sergeant major for the 316th Cavalry Brigade, which hosted the Gainey Cup, said it was a tough competition, requiring Scouts to be not only physically fit but also tactically and technically proficient.
"The competing teams really highlighted the ability of the reconnaissance and security formations through the Army and the Marine Corps and allowed us to demonstrate our value to the Armed Forces as whole," he said. "Across the board, I was very impressed with the abilities of every team."
The competition was a close one. After a possible total point value of 990, the top team had 760 points. Teams filling the next four slots finished within 50 points of each other.
"Everybody had an even chance," Clemens said. "Going into the last day, there was really a chance, within the top 10, of moving up for the win.
"I think it was a great competition. I'm proud to have been part of it. I think it's laid a solid foundation for us to continue to do this in years to come."
Sgt. Joshua Powell, A Troop, 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, said it was good training.
"We're definitely a lot more confident with the subject matter," he said. "A lot of this stuff isn't incorporated into our regular training. For me, it was a great privilege to be selected for the competition, and it was great to actually get to use Scout skills. We gave it all we had. If you put forth a full effort and don't leave anything on the table, you've done the best that you can do. I'm proud to go home knowing that we were in the top three."
If he's able, Powell said he hopes to return next year to try for first place.
Clemens said the unit is already taking feedback on the competition, so they can plan for the 2014 Gainey Cup.