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Fort Benning hosts Lacerda Cup combatives tournament for first time in eight years

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Story by Jessica Dupree on 04/19/2018
FORT BENNING, Ga. (April 18, 2018) -- The 2018 Lacerda Cup, an annual all-Army combatives tournament, concluded when the 3rd Cavalry Regiment from Fort Hood, Texas, won the team championship event April 17 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

This is the first year the Lacerda Cup was held at Fort Benning after being held at Fort Hood, Texas, for the past eight years.

"The Army Combatives Championship is back where it's supposed to be, here where the proponent is," said Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Farris, U.S. Army Infantry School combatives course branch chief and director for this tournament.

The three-day tournament was separated into two portions: the individual bouts on the first two days, and the team championship events on the third day.

Seven teams from units across the U.S. Army competed at the event. By weight class, the winners for the individual bouts were:
-- Bantamweight: Capt. Ariel Espinoza, 3rd Cavalry Regiment
-- Flyweight: Sgt. Adrian Ghisoiu, 3rd Cavalry Regiment
-- Lightweight: Sgt. Tyrell Hill, 82nd Airborne Division
-- Welterweight: Spc. Devon Cannon, 101st Airborne Division
-- Middleweight: Staff Sgt. Adekunle Okusaga, 3rd Cavalry Regiment
-- Cruiserweight: Staff Sgt. David Punch, 3rd Cavalry Regiment
-- Light Heavyweight: Spc. Justin Vargas, 3rd Cavalry Regiment
-- Heavyweight: Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Miller, 3rd Cavalry Regiment

Individual competitors contributed to their teams' overall score during the combative bouts, and the top four teams advanced to the team championships. This is the first year the Lacerda Cup included tactical scenarios for the teams to complete. The first event was a vehicle stop and extraction, which all four teams participated in. The championship event, which the top two teams competed in, was a room-clearing event.

"We wanted to let the force see that the combat scenarios bridge over from the individual fighting to fighting as a team," Farris said.

The winners of the tactical events were:
-- 1st place: 3rd Cavalry Regiment
-- 2nd place: 101st Airborne Division

Brig. Gen. Christopher Donahue, U.S. Army Infantry School commandant, spoke at the start of the event to thank for the contestants for their dedication to combatives and to stress the importance of combative skills.

"Lethality and the ability to be lethal starts with combatives," he said.

The Lacerda Cup took place during Fort Benning's Centennial Infantry Week along with the 35th Best Ranger Competition April 13 through 15 and the inaugural Best Mortar Competition April 14 through 16.


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