Two years after the inaugural Gainey Cup Competition was held at Fort Benning, the four-day event returns Tuesday with bigger teams and a more physically demanding schedule.
The competition pits 19 six-man Cavalry Scout teams in a series of back-to-back events to determine the Best Scout Squad in the Army. A smaller, five-man team from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, won the inaugural competition in 2013.
Units taking part in the contest are top crews from Canada, the National Guard, the 82nd Airborne, Fort Bragg, N.C., the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y., and others.
Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, is looking forward to the competition, coming on the heels of the Best Ranger Competition last month.
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"This competition is right in line with our efforts here at the Maneuver Center to develop leaders and soldiers who are able to physically and cognitively dominate their adversaries," Miller said in a release. "These great soldiers will compete over long distances while carrying heavy loads. They'll do this while being required to accomplish critical tasks associated with our cavalry scouts. They will be physically and mentally tested, but required to perform with precision in order to earn the title of 'Best Scout Squad.'"
The event is hosted by the 316th Cavalry Brigade and Cavalry Scout Teams from across the Army. Lt. Col. James E. Hayes, deputy commander of the 316th Cavalry Brigade, said the competition starts at 6 a.m. with a ceremony at Brave Rifles Field. Retired Command Sgt. Maj. William "Joe" Gainey will make remarks at the event bearing his name. Gainey was the first senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and served in the position from Oct. 1, 2005, to April 25, 2008, when he retired.
The ceremony starts 70 hours of continuous competition with less than 10 hours to sleep and little time to eat two meals. Compared with 2013, Hayes said the competition is a bit longer and more physically demanding.
"This year we have sequenced things so it's continuous competition," he said.
During the competition, the 114 soldiers take part in running, a physical fitness test, using different weapons, live firing on the range and other exercises.
The last day of competition is Friday, which includes a 1.7-mile run from the Recon Compound to Brave Rifles Field. Scout squads will complete five exercises using logs, tires and M2 .50-caliber machine guns with tripods.
The Best Scout Squad Award ceremony is held at 10:30 a.m. on Harmony Church.
"This is going to be a great week," Miller said.
Visitors who want to watch some events must enter the post at the Harmony Church access point.