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Sullivan Cup at Fort Benning exceeded expectations on first day

The Sullivan Cup competition at Fort Benning has exceeded expectations not only for 15 tank crews but soldiers taking part in the training, retired Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan said today.

“My expectations have been exceeded frankly,” Sullivan said during a visit to the Clarke Simulation Center at Harmony Church. “This is tough competiton and I think the troops are enjoying it and I know the cadre seems to be enjoying it themselves.”

The four-man tank crew competition is named in honor of Sullivan, whose military career spanned 36 years as deputy commander of the U.S. Armor School at Fort Knox, Ky., commander of the 1st Infantry Division and chief of staff for the Army before he retired in 1995.

In the second day of competition, Sullivan dropped in at the center to look over battlfield simulations for the tank crews. The competition challenges the soldiers skills in maintenance, driving, gunnery and marksmanship. It also will test  physical fitness and basic soldier skills.

Gordon noted the importance of teamwork for the crews. “I think they are going to take away the fact that you can’t do it yourself,” he said. “It takes a crew. This is a crew exercise. It’s going to take all four of them to do it.”

Teamwork was key Monday when each crew was graded on efforts to change a 640-pound track from a “disabled” tank. While officials had projected the procedure to take 49 or 50 minutes, one crew completed the task in 29 minutes.

“That’s a phenomenal performance,” Gordon said. “It’s going to be hard to beat.”

With some of the best crews from around the world, Gordon said there are soldiers from Korea, Kuwait and the Washington state National Guard.

 “I’m sure there are people out there to say I’m better than they are,” the general said. “Next year, they can compete to get here and we’ll see. That is a big deal.”