The 2-69 Armor from Fort Benning won the 2014 Sullivan Cup competition Thursday and with it the title of best tank crew in the Army.
The team earned the right to hoist the Sullivan Cup, finishing ahead of 16 other four-man teams from the United States and Canada in a test of their skills in maintenance, gunnery, physical fitness, driving and marksmanship.
Finishing in second place in the four-day competition was the 1-12 Cavalry, which is from Fort Hood, Texas, but currently stationed in Korea. In third was the 1-72 Armor from Camp Casey in Korea. The 55th Armor Brigade Combat Team from the National Guard in Pennsylvania finished fourth.
The top four teams battled in a shootout Thursday for the championship. They were graded on their ability to recognize targets as well as which weapons and ammunition to use.
"It was all about gunnery today and we were very confident in our skills there," said Sgt. Kevin Luu of Tioga, N.Y.
The soldiers were thrilled to win at home.
"We defended our turf," said Sgt. 1st Class James Grider of Fort Worth, Texas. "We showed them to compete in our house you are going to have to be at the top of your game."
"This is something special," said Spc. Benjamin Whiteman of Townsend, Del. "It feels great to keep the cup at home."
Pvt. 1st Class Thomas Carter of Lynn, Mass., said the whole thing was just "crazy."
"I was just thrilled to be competing," he said.
Grider said the crew has been working together for about two months.
"This competition is all about teamwork," he said. "No one person wins the cup."
Whiteman called the whole experience "fun" and said the team performed unexpectedly well in one area. "We did well in every areaand I think even surprised ourselves in physical fitness," Whiteman said.
The biennial competition is named in honor of retired Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, who served as deputy commander of the U.S. Armor School at Fort Knox, Ky., and chief of staff of the Army. Sullivan was on hand to meet with the teams at the awards ceremony.
Speaking at the ceremony was Brig. Gen. Leopoldo Quintas, the commandant of the U.S. Armor School at Fort Benning.
"It has been an incredible week," Quintas told those gathered.
He said the skills of the men in the tanks were "personally inspiring."