Gainey Cup Competition gets underway Friday at Fort Benning

Seventy of the Army’s best cavalry scouts roll into Fort Benning Friday for the inaugural Gainey Cup Competition.

Over the next five days, the event will test soldiers in physical fitness, use of different weapons and cavalry scouts skills on the firing ranges. A challenging, physical fitness test includes pull ups, dips, bench presses, tire flipping and pulling a Humvee.

There are 14 teams competing in the event. Under battlefield conditions, cavalry scouts play a key role in gathering information on the enemy and relaying it to commanders. Scouts use Humvees, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and other equipment to carry out their duties. The winner of the competition will be named the best scout team in the Army.

A key to being successful is teamwork, said Staff Sgt. Daniel Hansen, crew chief for the 3rd Squadron, 1st U.S. Cavalry, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team at Fort Benning. Soldiers get a chance to focus on their continuity and years of experience in performing tasks as scouts. “We have been training for this type of operation,” Hansen said Thursday.

Hansen said he’s honored to be part of the competition. The five members of his team will have no regrets regardless of what they have to experience. “Being a Jack of all trades is the most important,” he said.

Sgt. Nicholas Gonnion, the second in command in the crew, said the team defeated other crews during try outs for the competition because they work so well together. “We can finish each other's sentences,” Gonnion said.

The competition is named for retired Command Sgt. Maj. William “Joe” Gainey, the first senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He served in the position from Oct. 1, 2005, to April 25, 2008, when he retired.

During a career with nearly 33 years of service, Gainey was a driver, loader, gunner and tank commander with the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas. He also served in similar leadership positions at Fort Stewart, Ga., Fort Bragg, N.C. and other posts.

The event is free and open to the public. Some of the highlights will be Saturday during the physical fitness test which includes tire flipping and pulling a Humvee.

“All events are are open to the public for the most part,” said Supunnee Ulibarri, a post public affairs spokeswoman. “Obviously, there are some events on there where they are going to get a little bit closer to the action, the obstacle course and the PT test.”

No vehicle pass is required to enter the post, but drivers and passengers over age 16 will need a government-issued photo identification at the gate.