FORT BENNING, Ga. -- After several days of Cavalry scout-related tasks, 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, representing the 82nd Airborne Division, won the fourth biennial Gainey Cup International Scout Squad Competition May 3 at Brave Rifles Field here.
The 5th Squadron from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, earned the title of "Best Scout Squad" against 24 other competing squads from across the U.S. Army and from international partner militaries, including Canada, Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
Cavalry scouts in the U.S. Army must secure and prepare ammunition on scout vehicles, perform navigation during combat, report information on terrain and the enemy, and collect data on routes, tunnels and bridges. The Gainey Cup tested the scout squads on their ability to perform their job in the field.
"What we did here over the last several days are the most important things a scout should be training on," said Brig. Gen. David A. Lesperance, the U.S. Army Armor School commandant. "If there's no other time to do anything else than just these tasks, you're going to be a phenomenal outfit in the United States Army. So take that lesson back with you to your formations."
During the first phase of the competition April 25 through 28, the squads took tests on doctrine, performed vehicle identification, called for fire, tested their gunnery skills and performed land navigation. The second phase of the competition began with a run in gear, April 29, and a three-day round robin, April 30 to May 2, during which teams oriented on a reconnaissance objective, conducted a tactical mission under live-fire conditions, and navigated mounted on an assigned platform while collecting and reporting information for their commander.
The last event of the competition was the Final Charge, May 3, at Brave Rifles Field. The six-soldier squads began with a more-than three-mile run to the field where they then had to conduct several Cavalry scout tasks, including operating an advanced Special Improvement Program radio, determining their location, assembling and checking an M240 machine gun, calling for fire and more.
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. William J. Gainey, the first senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a Cavalry scout and the namesake of the competition, emphasized the training value of the competition to the assembled scout soldiers.
"I'm going to challenge every one of you," Gainey told the audience. "I want each of you to go home, to your country, your city, your state, your unit, and I want you to take one private and teach him or her one task that you learned while you were here. I want you tell that individual for the next thirty days to teach one brother or sister the same task."
Lesperance expressed the desire for the competitors, which included many junior enlisted Soldiers, to grow in their careers in the Army.
"I hope to see you as future senior leaders of the force," he said to the crowd after he had all the privates, specialists and sergeants raise their hand in the crowd of competitors.
Going into the last day and the Final Charge, the 5th Squadron had the lead, but securing success depended on their performance in the Final Charge.
Sgt. Matthew Brooks said winning was important given the 82nd Airborne Division's other recent win. The 82nd's 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, also won the Best Mortar Competition, April 11, at Fort Benning.
"They had expectations for us to win; it's a competitive unit," said Brooks of the 82nd Airborne Division.
"They did an awesome job," said 82nd Airborne Division Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Goodart. "The scouts in the 82nd Airborne Division are proficient, they're lethal, and they are outstanding, physically fit paratroopers. They are proud of the fact that they are paratroopers and Cav scouts."
The second place went to 42nd Brigade Reconnaissance Squadron (42 Brigade Verkennings Eskadron) of the Royal Netherlands Army.
"The biggest challenge was the reports," said Sgt. Joost Van den Dool, of the 42 BE. "The reports are a bit different than the Netherlands. And the route reconnaissance is more detailed, more technical reconnaissance than we do. I really had to study on that."
The top three scout squads during the 2019 Gainey Cup International Scout Squad Competition were:
-- First place: 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina
-- Second place: 42 Brigade Verkennings Eskadron, Royal Netherlands Army, at Oirschot, Netherlands
-- Third place: 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, at Fort Bliss, Texas
To see photos from throughout the Gainey Cup International Best Scout Competition, visit the "Related Links" section on this page.
To learn more about the U.S. Army Armor School, visit "Related Links" section on this page.