Apr 14, 2018
By Maj. Peter Bogart
The tank crew from the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division that will represent the "Raider" Brigade at the 2018 Sullivan Cup Competition at Fort Benning, GA. From left to right: Staff Sgt. Travis Connelly, Sgt. David Morales, Pfc. Thomas Deegan, and Pfc. Zachary Smith,
CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea - Tankers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division are traveling back from the Republic of Korea to compete in the Sullivan Cup competition at Fort Benning, Georgia, from April 30th to May 4th.
The crew from Blitz Company, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, was selected from 87 tank crews to represent the Raider Brigade who are currently deployed to Korea as the rotational brigade supporting the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division.
The tank commander, Staff Sgt. Travis Connelly, has served in the Army for more than seven years and is competing in the Sullivan Cup for the first time. Connelly, who is from Vernon, New Jersey, said that his favorite part of being a tank commander actually has nothing to do with the M1 Abrams tank itself.
"I love leadership ad having a greater sphere of influence to facilitate growth in my section," said Connelly. "Nothing is more satisfying to me than empowering Soldiers and junior NCOs to strive for greatness and not settle for average in an aspect of their lives." he said.
The Sullivan Cup is held every other year and is named after Gen. (Retired) Gordon R. Sullivan. Sullivan was commissioned as an Armor officer and commanded numerous armor formations throughout 36 years of service, which culminated in his service as the 32nd Chief of Staff.
Crews from across the Army, the Marine Corps, and international militaries travel to Fort Benning to test their physical and mental prowess in maneuver, maintenance, and gunnery skills during the competition.
The U.S. Army Armor School Command Sgt. Major, Command Sgt. Major Alan Hummel, stressed the importance of the non-commissioned officer in a welcome letter to competitors.
"The key to success for the winning crew will be the training provided at their home station by their unit's master gunners and tank commanders," said Hummel. "The tank commanders, primarily junior NCOs, are overall responsible for training each crewmember, ensuring proficiency in their assigned position and cross-training their crewmembers in other positions," he said.
Pfc. Thomas Deegan of Chicago, Illinois, has only been in the Army 17 months and is on his first overseas tour in Korea. He enjoys the camaraderie of life as a tanker.
"Being a tank driver for my crew enables me to be a part of a team," said Deegan. "Everyone on the tank has a role and mine is to drive the 70 ton beast."
The competition will feature 16 to 18 teams and will last five days. Crews will be evaluated on physical fitness, problem solving, and tactical and precision gunnery skills to identify the top tank crew.
U.S. Army tactics, techniques and procedures are used as the foundational reference to ensure the competition is conducted with the highest of standards.
For more information on the competition, go to http://www.benning.army.mil/armor/sullivan.