Iron Scout: Iron Soldiers compete to represent Fort Bliss at inaugural Gainey Cup
Story and Photos By Sgt. Robert Larson, 4th BCT Public Affairs:
Cavalry scouts are a commander’s eye’s on the battlefield. They provide vital information on the enemy’s activities and movement, engage the enemy directly with various weapons and vehicles, and provide key information for use by other Army assets on the battlefield.
During the week of March 1-5, the Army’s best cavalry scouts will descend on Fort Benning, Ga., to compete in the inaugural Gainey Cup, a competition to determine the best cavalry scout squad in the Army. To better prepare for the Gainey Cup, 1st Armored Division implemented its own pre-Cup competition, the Iron Scout.
Iron Scout was a two-day competition to find the best scout squad on Fort Bliss to represent the post at the Gainey Cup. Starting at 5 a.m., Feb. 12, four five-man teams from three of the Fort Bliss combat brigades began their journey to become the first ever Iron Scouts.
The first event, the Validus Discipulus, was a grueling twist to the standard physical training test that all Soldiers must pass. The scouts had to complete one minute of push-ups, followed immediately by one minute of sit-ups. They then moved on to muscle failure on the pull-ups and dip bars. They then had to complete a four-part event, which included a litter drag, water can carry, tire flip and 100 yard dash.
“The PT test was very physically demanding, nonstop with no breaks,” said Spc. Michael Parks, a scout assigned to 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st AD.
Only minutes after finishing the PT event, the scouts set out on a five-mile road march that took them into the early morning sun and eventually to the East Fort Bliss Simulation Center for the next event, simulating a call for fire on an enemy target.
“I was beat dead, but I got it done and coughed my lungs out,” said Spc. Jason Greenlee, a scout with 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st AD. “It was worth it because we came in first in the ruck march.”
The teams were then moved to the air assault obstacle course, where the teams ran the course for time. The first day concluded at Forward Operating Base Freedom with a target identification test and weapons proficiency testing.
After only four hours of rest, the competitors woke to another test, this one on reconnaissance procedures. They then moved to Wagali village for the practical half of the reconnaissance testing. At the training area, the scouts finally had to put all the training and skills to use moving through several tasks in an actual field environment.
“We get dropped off, move to an observation post where we observe our objective, report what we see, and finally move to an extraction point for pick up,” said Spc. Christopher Soileau, also from 2-13 Cav.
The final event was a three-mile squad run around 1st AD headquarters. This last event saw several of the scouts being assisted by teammates to get across the finish line, the physical toll of the two days finally catching up to them.
“There’s a lot of pride here,” said 1st Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team scout Spc. Ryan Anderson. “Everyone wants to win and be the team to represent 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss at Fort Benning.”
With the final event finished and the scores tallied, Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, commanding general of 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, stood in front of more than 200 Cavalry Soldiers and announced the names of the winning team: 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Lead by their squad leader, Staff Sgt. Donald Adkins, the team of Spc. Travis Reis, Spc. Gage Smith, Spc. Ryan Anderson, and Spc. Randall Rich will represent 1st AD and Fort Bliss and have a strong chance to win the first Gainey Cup.
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