FORT BENNING, Ga. - The team championship at the U.S. Army Combatives Tournament was renamed the Lacerda Cup in tribute to a Ranger and former champion who passed away earlier this year.

SSG Pedro Lacerda of the 75th Ranger Regiment died May 29 as a result of complications from a spontaneous brain aneurysm. The 30-year-old Ranger Assessment and Selection Program instructor with the Regimental Special Troops Battalion at Fort Benning had been leading a squad-sized element of RASP students through physical training a day earlier when he collapsed.

Lacerda claimed the welterweight title at the 2009 All-Army Combatives Championship. This past spring, he was part of the first Army team to compete at the Pan American Jiu Jitsu Championships in Irvine, Calif., where he won his opening match. Lacerda appeared in the same event prior to joining the Army, capturing gold in 1998, 1999 and 2002.

Post leaders said he was influential in the development of the 75th Ranger Regiment and Army combatives program.

"He had been instrumental in training the Army Rangers (and) he himself had deployed to combat several times," said MG Michael Ferriter, the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning commanding general. "He was a young, inspirational leader. And it was only right to showcase the excellence of the team trophy in his honor."

Lacerda enlisted in November 2005 and completed one station unit training, Airborne School and the Ranger Indoctrination Program at Fort Benning. He deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.

Related Links:

Fort Benning home page