News: Arctic Cavalry Scouts win ‘The Gainey Cup’
Story by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - The 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, now lays claim to having best cavalry scouts in the Army after winning the Army’s inaugural Gainey Cup competition held the first week of March, 2013 at Fort Benning, Ga.
The 1-40th Cavalry’s team members were Staff Sgt. Justin Miller, Staff Sgt. Zachary Adkins, Spc. Mitchell Sanderson, Spc. Alexander Berlin, and Pfc. Joseph Calderon.
The five-day competition fielded a total of 19 teams from cavalry units around the Army as well as one team from the U.S. Marine Corps.
The events tested each team’s knowledge and proficiency in fundamental cavalry scout tasks. There were nine graded events which included a test of physical fitness, vehicle identification, live fire operations, weapons knowledge and handling, area reconnaissance, establishing an observation point, a written examination, a foot march, and an obstacle course.
The Gainey Cup event is named after the first senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Command Sgt. Maj. William J. Gainey.
Gainey, a decorated, accomplished, and well known former cavalry scout in the Army was at the competition to cheer on and support the teams as they competed.
Spc. Alexander Berlin, a 1-40th team member, said of Gainey, “He is a colorful character, you know. He’s been in it seems like, every unit in the Army!”
Berlin said the competition was challenging both physically and mentally, and the other teams kept him and his team pushing forward
“We had to work really hard. Otherwise we were not going to come away with the win. We were fighting for every point.”
“The win felt great! I hate losing, so it was very nice to win,” said Berlin. “I didn’t want to leave that trophy down there!”
Berlin said his wife and parents are very happy about his team’s accomplishment.
“My mom has posted me on Facebook like 10,000 times! Every picture she has found me in seems to be up on Facebook now,” Berlin jokingly said.
The 1-40th fielded a team of two non-commissioned officers and three junior enlisted paratroopers.
Staff Sgt. Justin Miller said the junior enlisted guys on his team were great to work with.
Miller said, “Two specialists and one private first class, these guys operated at an NCO level the entire time, and pretty much made it a really easy job for me and Staff Sgt. Adkins to do what we had to do.”
“These guys were just lifting each other up!” said the 1-40th‘s team coach, Sgt. 1st Class Jamieson Barnes.
“Spc. Berlin is an outstanding test taker. He can just blink at something and he remembers it,” said Barnes. “Calderon, he doesn’t know how to climb a rope with his legs, but he doesn’t even care, he’ll just do it with his upper body ...Sanderson had the 240 [machine gun, 7.62 mm, M240] the whole time, and he wanted it! ...Sergeant Miller and Sergeant Adkins are both great leaders. I’ve worked with both of them since they came to the unit and there is nothing but great things. Their leadership and their mental abilities really carried the team along in this event… It has been an absolute honor to work with these guys and bring home the hardware back to Alaska.”
The guys from the 1-40th said the 19-team field was very competitive, and they were tough to beat.
Staff Sgt. Zachary Adkins said his team prevailed by being consistently at or near the top in every event in the competition.
“Each team was the best of the best within their respective organizations, so none of them were to be counted out from the start to the finish,” said Adkins. “I think all in all we were the most well-rounded team by having high physical fitness and a high wealth of knowledge in our MOS [military occupational specialty], and our skills.”
“Going down there, we just got into it! Losing was not an option. We left everything out there on the field. We gave our all on everything,” Adkins said. “We were happy to bring it home!”
For their efforts, the outstanding cavalry scouts from the 1-40th were awarded with many accolades.
Each teammate received an Army Commendation Medal, The Order of Saint George medallion, a cavalry saber, a .44-caliber Pietta 1860 black powder revolver, and of course for the team, the coveted Gainey Cup.