CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- "Target identified..." came over the radio. "Fire...On the way." Shortly after the command was given, the 120mm Sabot round spun out of the barrel.
With a thunderous fury, the red-glowing round screamed down range toward the enemy silhouette.
FORT KNOX, K.Y.- Marines from Alpha Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, won the fifth-annual Marine Corps TIGERCOMP tank gunnery competition held at Yano range here Oct. 21 and 22.
The crew was named the best 'armored warriors' by showing their accuracy and efficiency in hitting the most targets and finishing the course the quickest. This combination set them apart from the rest of their competitors.
Among the tankers competing at the event, were the Marines from A Co., 1st Tank Bn., 1st Marine Division, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; A Co., 2nd Tank Bn.; B Co., 4th Tank Bn., Yakima, Wash.; and C Co., 8th Tank Bn., Tallahassee, Fla.
According to the various crews, the tankers came here because they were chosen to compete because they were the best at their job.
"We got the chance to come out here because our crew shot the highest score amongst the rest of the crews in our whole battalion. We shot a 983 out of 1000 to win our chance to come here," said Sgt. Dylan J. Bryant, a Costa Mesa, Calif., native and tank commander for A Co., 2nd Tank Bn. "We have been together as a crew for about a year now and it helps because we know each other better and we know how each of us work."
Another purpose of having the competition was to develop a certain kind of bond between the crews.
"The winner of the competition will gain bragging rights for their battalion for a year until the next TIGERCOMP," said Bryant. "Even if your battalion doesn't win, it's still an honor to come out here and compete with the best. You won't ever see a gathering of so many good tankers in one place like you do here."
According to some crewmembers, it's not an easy journey to get to the competition.
"This is where all the hard work and training we've done pays off," said Cpl. Brit P. Higgins, Manville, N.J. native and tank gunner, A Co., 2nd Tank Bn., 2nd Marine Division. "It's the same stuff we do everyday. Now its just at a more competitive level with more firing time and more targets."
The targets ranged from platoon-sized groups of troop silhouettes, pop-up tank silhouettes and multiple moving targets that the tankers had the chance to fire at with their 120mm main gun, M240G and 50 caliber machine guns.
When asked about what is the key to grabbing the title at the competition, the tankers stated a few strong points.
"It's all about who can put the most steel on target and how fast they can do it," said Bryant. "It's also about how good the team effort is.
Every position in the tank crew is vital to completing any kind of mission. None of us can do our job effectively without the other three Marines."