Sullivan Cup Best Tank Crew Gunnery Competition

LTG Ted Martin, then the 45th Chief of Armor established the Sullivan Cup in 2012 The Sullivan Cupis a biennial competition held at Fort Benning, GA, to rigorously test and evaluate the best tank crews from across the Armor Branch, the U.S. Marine Corps and international partners.

The competition embodies its namesake, General (Retired) Gordon R. Sullivan. GEN Sullivan was commissioned as an Armor officer and commanded numerous Armor Formations throughout his storied career. GEN Sullivan retired from the Army after more than 36 years of service, which culminated as the 32nd Chief of Staff. His commitment to the Armor Force exemplifies the spirit of our Armor Soldiers.

The Sullivan Cup takes place the first week of May in even numbered years. The competition brings together tank crews from across the Army and across the world in a competition that rigorously and comprehensively tests their individual and crew-level proficiencies. The competition requires mastery of individual tasks, technical and tactical competence, and the ability to demonstrate an array of maneuver, sustainment and gunnery skills.
The competition focuses primarily on the performance of the soldiers functioning as a crew. The key to success for the winning crew is the training provided at their home station by their unit’s master gunners and tank commanders. The noncommissioned officers (NCOs) serving as master gunners were chosen to serve as subject- matter experts to aid and assist commanders at all echelons in the planning, development and execution of training individual- and crew-gunnery tasks, vital to the unit’s effectiveness in combat. 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. The lethality of our formations begins and ends with the NCO.
Competitions like the Sullivan Cup serve to recognize excellence throughout the force and across the Armor Branch. More importantly, they highlight the importance of mastering the fundamentals that we must preserve as a fighting force to maintain a lethal edge over our potential adversaries.

Sullivan Cup Best Tank Crew Gunnery Competition

General Gordon Sullivan

Sullivan retired from the United States Army on 31 July 1995 after more than 36 years of active service. He culminated his service in uniform as the 32nd Chief of Staff—the senior general officer in the Army—and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As the Chief of Staff of the Army, he created the vision and led the team that transitioned the Army from its Cold War posture. In August 1993, President Bill Clinton assigned the duties and responsibility of Acting Secretary of the Army to General Sullivan who continued to serve as Chief of Staff.

He is the co-author, with Michael V. Harper, of Hope Is Not a Method (Random House, 1996), which chronicles the enormous challenges encountered in transforming the post-Cold War Army through the lens of proven leadership principles and a commitment to shared values. 

He serves on the boards of several major corporations, including Newell Rubbermaid. He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Norwich University; a director of the Institute of Defense Analyses, and the Chairman Emeritus of the Marshall Legacy Institute. Sullivan served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Association of the United States Army, headquartered in

Arlington, Virginia. For his work with AUSA, he was awarded the prestigious Sylvanus Thayer Award by the United States Military Academy in 2003. He was the 36th President of the U.S. Cavalry & Armor Association and is an Order of St George Gold Medallion recipient.

During his Army career, Sullivan also served as Vice Chief of Staff; Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans; Commanding General, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Riley, Kansas (June 1988-July 1989); Deputy Commandant, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (March 1987-June 1988); and Assistant Commandant, U.S. Army Armor School, Fort Knox, Kentucky (November 1983-July 1985). His overseas assignments included four tours in Europe, two in Vietnam and one in Korea.

Sullivan Cup Best Tank Crew Gunnery Competition 

Sullivan Cup Winners

2012 U.S. Army Best Tank Crew

2012 Sullivan Cup winning crew with GEN (Ret) Gordon Sullivan, center left, and CSM (Ret) Jimmie Spencer (center right), from left to right, SFC Ryan Dilling, SGT Zach Shaffer, PFC Kyle Braun, and PFC Mark Backer.

2014 U.S. Army Best Tank Crew, 2nd Bn, 69th Armor Regt, 3rd ABCT, 3rd Infantry Division

2014 Sullivan Cup winning crew poses with GEN (Ret) Gordon Sullivan (center) from left to right, SFC James Grider, SGT Kevin Luu, SPC Benjamin Whiteman and PFC Thomas

Sullivan Cup Best Tank Crew Gunnery Competition

2016 U.S. Army Best Tank Crew, 1st Bn, 252nd Armor Regt, 30th ABCT, “Old Hickory” from Southern Pines, North Carolina Army National Guard

2016 Sullivan Cup winning crew Tank Crew C11, PFC Philip Hill, SGT Curtis Bowen, 1LT John Dupre, and SPC Brandon Sinor

2018 U.S. Army Best Tank Crew, B Co, 3rd Bn, 67th Armor Regt, 2nd ABCT, 3rd Infantry Division

2018 Sullivan Cup winning crew, Blackwolf 22, PVT Brandon Zacher, CPL Justin Harris, SSG Johnathan Werner and PVT Dekken Sanders