By Mr. Bryan Gatchell (Benning)April 30, 2018
FORT BENNING, Ga. -- Four-person tank crews from across the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and partner nations met at Fort Benning, Georgia, to take part in the Sullivan Cup April 30 through May 4. The Sullivan Cup is a biennial competition to determine the best tank crew through a series of scored tests.
The Maneuver Center of Excellence, the U.S. Army Armor School, and the 316th Cavalry Brigade host the competition.
At a demonstration at Red Cloud Range at Fort Benning April 27, Col. Thomas Feltey, 316th Cavalry Brigade commander, talked about the competition, which began Monday, April 30, and to which the public is invited.
"You're going to see a demonstration of our Army's tank crews' proficiency, conducting both live fire and maneuver exercises," said Feltey. "What we're putting together is a series of arduous testing -- it's both technical and tactical -- to get the most out of our Soldiers in this competition."
The crews are from the following units:
- 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division
- 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division
- 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
- 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
- 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division
- 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division
- 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
- 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
- 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
- 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
- 11th Armored Cavalry Division
- U.S. Marine Corps
- 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, 29th Infantry Division, National Guard
- The School of Armour, Australian Army
- 35th Brigade, Kuwait Land Force
Feltey stressed the complexity of the tank crew's performance.
"There's a lot of activity that goes on inside these tanks, so they've got to synchronize the actions of the driver, the loader, the gunner and the tank commander," he said. "Then they've got to understand the terrain so they can move their vehicle tactically ... while taking into account what the enemy is doing."
One of the goals of the Sullivan Cup, according to Feltey, is the demonstration of good doctrinal technique, which begins at the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning.
"We're following our doctrinal foundation of our integrated weapons training strategy," he said. "And we're modeling exactly what these tank crews and these units can do back at their home station. So really, in our way, it's Fort Benning leading the way and showing our Army what right looks like."
Throughout the week, the crews are scheduled to perform a gunnery skills test, engage targets with their tanks' weapon systems, call for fire, take written exams, perform tank-related physical fitness tasks, conduct a competitive combat maneuver exercise, conduct a timed stress shoot, and more.
The weeklong competition is open to members of the public, whom Felty welcomed so they might witness the difficult work that goes into tank operation.
"This is their Army, so it's a great opportunity for them to come out and see what we do on a daily basis," he said. "There's a lot of hard work and a lot of preparation that goes into being able to fire these tanks."
The first big event of the Sullivan Cup was Operation Thunderbolt, which took place in the afternoon of April 30 at Red Cloud Range.
"If they come to the demonstration on Monday, they're not only going to get to see a tank, but arguably they're going to feel the power of the 120mm main gun and also our mortars that are out here," said Feltey.
Children younger than 5 and pregnant women should not attend.
To keep up with the Sullivan Cup, visit the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning Facebook page at www.fb.com/fortbenningmcoe. Family and friends are encouraged to tweet updates on their teams during the competition using @FortBenning and the hashtag #Sullivancup.