• October 23, 2014

Ironhorse soldiers train for prestigious event

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Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 12:00 pm

By Spc. Bailey Jester

1st Cavalry Division public affairs

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - "Move right! Move right! Go, go, go!"

These were the most common commands heard from tank commanders to gunners when walking into the Close Combat Tactical Trainer here late last month, during the three-day training event for the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, tank crews competing for the Sullivan Cup.

Soldiers are always training, but these eight soldiers were preparing themselves for the upcoming Sullivan Cup Precision Gunner Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

The Maneuver Center of Excellence is holding the first ever Sullivan Cup Precision Gunnery Competition May 7-11, and one of the Ironhorse tank crews is participating.

"It is my vision that this competition grows in the upcoming years," said Brig. Gen. Thomas James, the 46th Chief of Armor. "It is a great way to show case the professionalism and lethality of the United States Armor Force."

Ten crews are participating in this four-day challenge full of events to test the crew's precision gunnery skills for a chance to be named the best of the best, according to the flier advertising the event.

At the end of February, Ironhorse began its search for the best brigade tank crew. With four crews nominated, an internal brigade competition was held, selecting the winning crew.

"Remember, just because you weren't the chosen crew that doesn't mean you aren't a great crew," said brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Lance Lehr when announcing the qualifying crews. "You were chosen from your companies and battalion above your peers."

Although the competition is not until May, the chosen Ironhorse crews flew to Grafenwoehr, Germany, to continue training for a successful event.

Camp Buehring, Kuwait, where the brigade is deployed, has tank simulators, but their focus is on gunnery skills. The simulators at Grafenwoehr, challenged the soldiers by incorporating maneuvering skills and drills.

The mornings began at 8 a.m., walking into the gated area the crews were suddenly surrounded by white trailers. Finding their trailer, the crews walked inside and started their training.

"I was excited to get started," said Spc. Sam Garcia, a tank loader assigned to Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, of the Ironhorse Brigade.

The young Ironhorse tankers grew up on the M1A2 tanks, but the simulators are designed for the M1A1. The two tanks are similar in style, but the M1A1 is an older model, so it has less advanced technology and is different than what the crews were used to.

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