Garner's Cup Brings Out Best of the Best

Published 06/25 2012 06:26PM

Updated 06/25 2012 06:54PM

128 soldiers from the 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade are competing this week in the Garner's Cup. The soldiers are broken down into a number of teams, but they're all vying for the title of "Best of the Best."

While they may not have been operating under gunfire during Monday's drills, the soldiers were still under the gun to perform.

"We just help set up this piece of equipment to get it ready to fire off missiles," said Pvt. David Sheedy, giving a seemingly simple explanation for a complicated task.

In the competition, each five man team demonstrates their abilities on the Patriot Missile Defense System, the absolute top-of-the-line when it comes to air defense in the U.S. Military.

"It takes the soldier and puts them in a real life situation," said 1Sgt. Robert Bedford, "it shows them no matter how many times you practice a drill, you just gotta get it right."

They've gotta get it right, because when lives are on the line, every second counts.

"The reaction time that you have in various deployed locations is down to a matter of minutes," said Bedford.

For the soldiers competing in Monday's drills, it was all about friendly competition and being the best.

However the skills they pick up during drills could be vital if ever deployed.

"It's all based on teamwork," said Pvt. Sheedy, "if you get it right, it's one, shot one kill. If you don't get it right, you're pretty much dead."

With that much pressure to perform, these soldiers know practice makes perfect.

Reporter's Notes by Ryan Robertson:

This is the first time the Garner Cup has been held since 2001. It was last hosted at Fort Bliss where the Patriot Missile Units used to be stationed.

The soldiers will continue to compete until Wednesday, when the winners will be announced.

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