By Kellie AbernethyMay 11, 2016
FORT BENNING, Ga. -- After a shoot-off between five crews, 1st Battalion, 252nd Armor Regiment, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, "Old Hickory" from Southern Pines, North Carolina National Guard, earned the right to be called 2016 Best Tank Crew in the Army after winning the Sullivan Cup, May 6, 2016.
The win came as a surprise to the team, said Spc. Brandon Sinor, loader for the "Old Hickory" crew.
"When they called us up there, it surprised us all. We were nervous, hearts were racing-it was a surreal moment," said Sinor, whose crew fought off 16 other crews for the title.
Going into the shoot-off on the morning of May 6, 1st Battalion, 252nd Armor Regiment, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team was in first place followed by 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, in second place, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in third place, and 1st Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment, 316th Cavalry Brigade in third place and 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment and 1st Armored Brigade Combat team, 1st Infantry Division, tied for fourth place. The tie allowed five teams to compete in the final shoot-off, unlike the four teams in previous final four shoot-offs.
Sinor, who competed two years ago with one of his teammates, said the competition was more challenging this year.
"We came in this thinking we may know a little of what's going to go on, but this year they completely rearranged the competition. They made it 100 times better and 100 times more organized," said Sinor, who also noted that the PT test in the Georgia heat was a "smoker" and the thunder run in the shoot-off surprised the crew.
The win marks a notable year for the National Guard, with a National Guard team winning the Best Ranger Competition in April and now capturing the Sullivan Cup title in May.
"To be in the National Guard and to win this, it's amazing," said Sinor, who said that this win shows that the National Guard is here to compete.
Retired Gen. Gordon Sullivan said the competition supports readiness, a top priority of Gen. Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army.
"Together, the Armor School is answering the demand from the Chief to raise the readiness level of the United States Army and everyone involved here at Fort Benning and elsewhere should be very, very proud of what's gone on here this week," said Sullivan.
The 2016 competition was the third Sullivan Cup and with each year Sullivan hopes the competition can influence and improve tank gunnery.
"I think within two or three more times (competitions) it will begin to change tank gunnery, certainly in the Army, and it will become more and more competitive," said Sullivan.
The final standings are as follows: 1st Battalion, 252nd Armor Regiment, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team in first place; 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, in second place; 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, team in third place; 1st Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment 316th Cavalry Brigade, in fourth place; and 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in fifth place.
The next Sullivan Cup will be held in 2018 and the Gainey Cup will be held May 1-5 2017.