FORT BENNING, Ga. - The U.S. Army Armor School, part of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, hosted the biennial Sullivan Cup Best Tank and Bradley Competition at Fort Benning Ga., from April 24 through May 6, 2022.
Named for retired Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, the competition highlighted for the first time the M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle along with M1A2 Abrams main battle tank crews from across the U.S. Army.
Crews competed against one another in grueling, weeklong technical, physical, and mental challenges – all for the glory of being named the best M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle crew and the best M1A2 Abrams tank crew in the U.S. Army.
The Sullivan Cup supports Soldiers’ readiness by providing a controlled, high-pressure environment to validate tactics, techniques, and procedures, evaluate the latest doctrine, highlight U.S. Army Armor initiatives, and build esprit de corps through competition and camaraderie.
Each team cycled through events including a physical challenge, adjusting and aligning their vehicle’s sights and gunnery, and offense and defense maneuvering on the closed combat course, receiving points based on their time, precision, and ability to complete the event.
The winner of the 2022 Sullivan Cup competition for the most lethal M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle crew was U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Julian Gaitor, vehicle commander, Spc. Tyler McGinnis, gunner, Pfc. Patrick Sullivan, driver, with the 3rd Battalion, 67 Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia.
The Bradley Fighting crew is recognized for placing first on the call-for-fire, doctrinal exam, table IV basic gunnery, table VI crew qualification event, stress shoot events and Starry physical proficiency test.
Gaitor from Miami, Florida, said that the physical demands of the events, coupled with the Georgian heat and humidity, made for a challenging week.
“The weather was definitely a huge thing to account for," said Gaitor. “It definitely added a number of stress[ful] things to make the event more challenging.”
Gaitor also highlighted a lesson he can bring back to his unit. “It’s a good opportunity to identify our strengths and weaknesses not only for me [and] my Soldiers in my unit but across the Army to see how different Soldiers train different techniques and tactics that are being used,” said Gaitor. “I think it’s a great opportunity to pick up on a lot of those things. … I learn from things we can improve on [that] I can bring back and share with my unit.”
The 2022 Sullivan Cup winning M1A2 Abrams tank crew was U.S. Army Staff Sgt. William Catalan, tank commander, Spc. Frankie Maynes, crewmember, Spc. Nikolai Krusenstjerna, crew member, Spc. Tyler Winklebleck, crew member, with the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Catalan’s crew was recognized for placing first on the Starry physical proficiency test.
For Catalan from Escondido, California the weather and competition were hot and fierce.
“I think the competition was fairly good. I know it was hot. We had to drink a lot of water. I know the competition was fierce out there. We had our difficulties, everybody fought through it, and we found a way to win,” said Catalan.
Catalan spoke about a lesson he can bring back to his unit. “The takeaway for me is to remember to do the little things. I know we do a lot of the big-picture stuff. Remember, it’s the little things that can cost you time and bring you down a little and continue to push forward to make sure the team continued to push themselves.”
Competitions like the Sullivan Cup recognize excellence throughout the force and across the U.S. Armor Branch. The competition allows the U.S. Army Armor Schools to certify and adjust programs of instruction while assessing their ability to meet the demands of the field to build proficiency in the profession to become the most lethal tank crews in the U.S. Army.
The fierce competition coupled with camaraderie displayed throughout the weeklong event made this Sullivan Cup Best Tank and Bradley Competition an incredibly successful event.