United States Army Armor School

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United States Army Armor School
The Armor School.jpg
US Army Armor School shoulder sleeve insignia
Country United States
Branch United States Army
RoleArmor and Cavalry Training
Part ofTRADOC patch.svg U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
Garrison/HQFort Benning
Motto(s)"Forge the Thunderbolt"
ColorsBlue, Red, Yellow
Anniversaries1 October 1940
CommandantBG Kevin D. Admiral[1]
Command Sergeant MajorCSM Kevin J. Muhlenbeck[1]
Distinctive unit insigniaImage:100 pixels

The United States Army Armor School is a training school located at Fort Benning, Georgia. Its primary focus is the training of United States Army soldiers, non-commissioned officers, warrant officers, and commissioned officers in the operation, tactics, and maintenance of armor forces and equipment including the M1 Abrams main battle tank, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Stryker Mobile Gun System, assorted crew-served and personal weapons, and various other equipment including radios. The school is also the site where U.S. Marines are sent for training on the Abrams tank. The Armor School moved to Fort Benning in 2010 as part of the United States' Base Realignment and Closure program.[citation needed]


The United States Army Armor School was established on 1 October 1940, in Fort Knox, Kentucky as the Armored Force School.[2] Eighty thousand students passed through the school in its first four years, with the first class starting 4 November of the same year.[2] As of 30 September 1965, the armor school had graduated 214,122 students – of whom 59,737 were officers, 140,909 were enlisted soldiers, and 13,476 were officer candidates – as well as students from 63 nations.[3]

The school was established by then–Lieutenant Colonel Stephen G. Henry under the guidance of Brigadier General Adna R. Chaffee Jr., for whom the headquarters building is now named. On 1 July 1957, the school was given its current name.[3] It originally consisted of seven departments: Tank, Wheeled vehicle, Motorcycle, Communication, Tactics, Gunnery, and Field Engineering.[3]

194th Armored Brigade—Programs of Instruction[edit]

The 194th Armored Brigade is focused on developing soldier in initial entry training—led by Drill Sergeants—and advanced armor and cavalry training via subject matter expert instructors. The brigade conducts One Station Unit Training (OSUT), Basic Combat Training (BCT), and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for the following U.S. Army career fields:[4]

  • Armor Crewman (19K)
  • Cavalry Scouts (19D)
  • M1A2 SEPv2 Abrams System Maintainer (91A)
  • Bradley Fighting Vehicle System "Maintainer" (91M)

316th Cavalry Brigade—Programs of Instruction[edit]

The 316th Cavalry Brigade educates and trains leaders serving in all components across the U.S. Army to operate in critical assignments in order to increase maneuver units' ability to fight as part of a combined arms team and deliver direct fires on the battlefield.[5] The brigade is responsible for conducting the following course for the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and some international military students:

Armor Basic Officer Leaders Course[edit]

Armor Basic Officers prepare an M1A2 for live-fire training at Ft. Benning

The Armor Basic Officer Leaders Course (ABOLC) is the introductory skills course for United States Army Cavalry and Armor Second and First Lieutenants.[6] These officers—recent graduates of the United States Military Academy, Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps, and Officer Candidate School—receive 19 weeks of training in basic leadership skills, maneuver and firepower tactics, gunnery, platoon- and company-level strategy, strategic and tactical planning. The purpose of ABOLC is to produce armor officers capable of decisive operations leading a tank platoon in support of a combined arms team.[7]

Cavalry Leaders Course[edit]

Cavalry Leaders Course trains officers, warrant officers, and non-commissioned Officers who are involved in the planning and execution of reconnaissance collection and tactical security tasks at the Troop and Squadron level, as well as joint asset planners and operators who support ground operations. Students will focus on applying the fundamentals of reconnaissance and security, as well as established doctrine and TTPs, into the planning of various high intensity and counter insurgency operations in time constrained environments. Students will develop skills in asset synchronization, reconnaissance equipment employment, and tactical techniques to accomplish a myriad of reconnaissance and security scenarios.[8]

Maneuver Leaders Maintenance Course[edit]

The Maneuver Leaders Maintenance Course (MLMC) is a ten-day course to develop maneuver leaders expertise in battalion and small unit level maintenance operations. Students will learn maintenance fundamentals, how to run a command maintenance program with an emphasis on Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services (PMCS) and 5988E flow. Students will learn to execute command maintenance and a Commander's Inspection Program (CIP) for maintenance to the U.S. Army standard. Additional instruction focuses on maintenance information systems, how battalion/squadron level systems interface with higher level maintenance organizations and Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-A) to order repair parts for the battalion/squadron. Using GCSS-A, students track and account for all battalion/squadron level materiel readiness financial resources. Students learn to assess materiel readiness issues using business intelligence and business warehouse tools. Students learn to apply AR 750-1 to determine the effectiveness of a Command Maintenance Discipline Program (CMDP). Students also learn to conduct maintenance in the tactical environment including recovery operations and the planning considerations for Unit-Maintenance Collection Point (UMCP) emplacement.[9]

Scout Leader's Course[edit]

Soldiers practise vehicle concealment and observation in the woods of Ft. Benning

The Scout Leader's Course (formerly the Army Reconnaissance Course or ARC) is to train reconnaissance and security leaders to develop advanced skills of R&S, develop skills to better understand the commander’s information requirements, to communicate battlefield information, and to develop understanding of employing supporting assets while maneuvering a scout platoon in a combined arms unit.[10]

Simulations Training Managers Course[edit]

The Simulations Training Management Course (STMC) trains soldiers assigned to armor brigade combat teams and Stryker brigade combat teams to manage simulation training for stabilized and mounted machine gun platforms. Initial training includes mounted machine gun gunnery scenario development utilizing the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST). The second training module cover AGTS, MGS AGTS, and COFT-SA manager’s functions, track crew progression, system troubleshooting, and PAAR capabilities or VBS3 scenario development based on platform specific student needs. The final module covers unit training plans and exportable training packages certifying students to train peers and subordinates at their home station.[11]

Advanced Situational Awareness Course[edit]

The Advanced Situational Awareness (ASA) Course curriculum focuses on teaching students to integrate the six domains of human behavior into training and combat, and to demonstrate how they can be applied to enhance the Squads ability to achieve overmatch in a universal operational environment. This is accomplished by placing students in classroom and field environments, and presenting them with experiential based, predictive, tactical based, problem solving situations. All attendees leave the course with observable competence in the core competencies of ASA and are able to advise their command structure to utilize ASA to promote "left-of-bang" thinking and mission planning. ASA focuses on:[12]

  • Integrate ASA principles and Human Behavior Pattern Recognition and Analysis (HBPR & A) problem-solving into training and combat operations
  • Mitigate insider threats using (HBPR & A)
  • Apply Human Behavior Pattern Recognition and Analysis to Soldier fitness and resilience
  • Sustain ASA basic knowledge, abilities and attitudes training

Dismounted C-IED Tactics Master Trainer Course[edit]

The Dismounted Counter-Improvised Explosive devices (C-IED) Tactics Master Trainer (DCT-MT) Course is a two-week course teaching Master Trainers (MT) the foundation to become an subject matter expert in C-IED tactics. The MT will apply knowledge to assist leaders with C-IED training, planning, executing, and supervising at company and battalion level. The MT will advise unit leaders and personnel about IED threats, recommend enablers to mitigate IED threats, incorporate C-IED TTPs into the unit training plan, conduct a company level C-IED training program.[13]

Tank Commander's Course[edit]

The Tank Commander's Course (TCC) focuses on technical than tactical instruction. The instruction includes crew stations and duties, tank maintenance, unit gunnery management, bore sighting, armor accuracy checks, plumb and synchronization, tank ammunition and weapons, screening, and tank gunnery. Students are trained using conventional training methods, stand-alone training devices, and simulators. The course is a gunnery systems intensive functional course that trains the soldier to function as a M1A1 or M1A2 SEP tank commander.[14]

Mobile Gun System Commander's Course[edit]

The Mobile Gun System Commander's Course (MGSCC) is designed to train officers and non-commissioned officers to be technically and tactically proficient on the Stryker Mobile Gun System (MGS). The MGS Commander’s Course is designed to produce leaders that are fully qualified as an MGS Commander, with the technical and tactical knowledge to maintain and employ the MGS in a combat environment.[15]

Master Gunner Common Core[edit]

The Master Gunner Identification Badge is awarded to soldiers who complete one of the U.S. Army's master gunner courses

The Master Gunner Common Core (MGCC) train non-commissioned officers on advanced universal gunnery methodologies, gunnery training with a focus on vehicle mounted machine gun weapons systems, and the planning and implementation of gunnery training programs. MGCC is taught in 27 days in four modules:[16]

  1. Direct fire and weapons training
  2. Ammunition and ballistics
  3. Gunnery training management
  4. Unit training plan

The mission of the Master Gunner is to train the unit for combat and act as subject matter expert for all weapon system platforms in the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT). The Master Gunner advises commanders at all echelons, and assists with the planning, development, execution, and evaluation of all combat and gunnery-related training (individual, crew, and collective).[17]

Abrams Master Gunner Course[edit]

The Abrams Master Gunner Course (AMG) is a thirty-nine-day course with the mission of creating Master Gunners for the U.S. Army. Four days of the course is spent in the field, while thirty-four days of the course consist of classroom instruction. Students must complete six exams and all hands on exams with 100% accuracy. The course is the most focused of the courses offered at the Armor School, with eighteen students per class and a two-to-one student to teacher ratio and focuses on the M1A2 Abrams System Enhancement Package (SEP) Tank.[17]

Bradley Master Gunner Course[edit]

A Bradley Fighting Vehicle conducts gunnery training at Ft. Benning

The Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle System Master Gunner Course (BMG) is an eight-week two-day course which utilizes small group training methodologies to train master gunners on Bradley Fighting Vehicle weapon systems maintenance and ABCT gunnery training strategies. BMG focuses on two core training requirements:[18]

  • Maintenance training, which focuses on identifying malfunctions, troubleshooting, and maintaining the Bradley Fighting Vehicle turret components
  • Gunnery training, which focuses on unit training plan development and briefs, and increasing lethality in unit gunnery programs

Stryker Master Gunner Course[edit]

Stryker Master Gunner Course (SMGC) is a thirty-nine-day course. The course mission is to train select non-commissioned officers to assist unit leaders in the planning and implementation of gunnery training programs. These master gunner graduates train unit combat vehicle crews in techniques and procedures to engage the full capability of their weapon platforms in precision direct fire engagements and can support unit level maintenance on Stryker variant fire controls and weapon systems.[19]


Sullivan Cup—Best Tank Crew Competition[edit]

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.[20]

The competition will be a physically and mentally demanding world-class event that rigorously tests U.S. Army soldiers, U.S. Marines, and international partners in tank crew maneuver, sustainment, and gunnery skills. The Sullivan Cup provides a realistic and challenging tank crew competition that will build esprit de corps within our armor force and returns the pride of mobile protected firepower gunnery to its rightful place in the mounted force's mindset.[20]

Gainey Cup—Best Scout Squad Competition[edit]

The Gainey Cup is named in honor of Command Sergeant Major William “Joe” Gainey, the first Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (SEAC). During his extraordinary 33 years of service to our nation, he served in multiple enlisted leadership positions, from gunner to command sergeant major. His leadership, technical and tactical expertise epitomizes the professionalism of our cavalry formations around the world.[21]

This competition is a physically and mentally demanding world-class event for scout squads from the U.S. Army and international partners. The Gainey Cup will challenge these scout squad in tasks such as: conduct reconnaissance and security operations in close proximity to enemy forces, inform the commander's priority intelligence requirements, employ indirect fires on known enemy positions, and fight for information through use of direct fire just to name a few.[21]

Excellence in Armor[edit]

Excellence in Armor Coin

The purpose of the Excellence in Armor (EIA) Program is to identify outstanding armor and cavalry soldiers in the ranks of Private through Sergeant and 2nd Lieutenant through Captain who have demonstrated performance and leadership potential, either in OSUT or ABOLC.[22][23]

The goal of the EIA Program is to:[22]

  • Increase combat readiness across Armor and Cavalry units through identification and promotion of highly qualified highly motivated armor and cavalry soldiers.
  • Identify highly qualified, highly motivated armor and cavalry soldiers whose superior potential warrant accelerated training in order to fully and more rapidly realize their-potential for advanced leadership roles.
  • Encourage and facilitate armor and cavalry soldiers career progression and leadership growth.
  • Provide incentives that will lead to early promotion and retention of highly qualified soldiers.
  • Support commanders decision-making process for accelerated position appointments and promotion.

Soldiers receive a Department of the Army Certificate of Achievement, an EIA coin, and a Memorandum for Record from the Chief of Armor.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b U.S. Army Armor School, Fort Benning, benning.army.mil, updated 13 June 2019, last accessed 7 February 2020
  2. ^ a b "ARMORED SCHOOL". Army and Navy Journal, 18 November 1944, p. 347, Vol. LXXXII, No. 12.
  3. ^ a b c "ARMOR SCHOOL MARKS 25th YEAR OF SERVICE". Armor Magazine, November–December 1965, pp. 32-33, Vol. LXXIV, No. 6.
  4. ^ 194th Armored Brigade, benning.army.mil, 5 December 2019, last accessed 2 February 2020
  5. ^ 316th Cavalry Brigade, benning.army.mil, updated 25 June 2018, last accessed 2 February 2020
  6. ^ Armor Basic Officer Leaders Course (ABOLC), benning.army.mil, last updated 25 September 2018, last accessed 7 February 2020
  7. ^ Armor Basic Officer Leaders Course (ABOLC), benning.army.mil, updated 25 September 2018, last accessed 2 February 2020
  8. ^ Cavalry Leader's Course, benning.army.mil, updated 3 May 2018, last accessed 2 February 2020
  9. ^ Maneuver Leaders Maintenance Course (MLMC), benning.army.mil, updated 4 May 2018, last accessed 2 February 2020
  10. ^ Scout Leader Course (SLC), benning.army.mil, updated 10 December 2019, last accessed 2 February 2020
  11. ^ Simulations Training Managers Course, benning.army.mil, updated 21 May 2018, last accessed 2 February 2020
  12. ^ Advanced Situational Awareness, benning.army.mil, updated 2 May 2018, last accessed 2 February 2020
  13. ^ Dismounted C-IED Tactics Master Trainer/9E-F59/950-F38, benning.army.mil, updated 3 May 2018, last accessed 2 February 2020
  14. ^ M1A1/M1A2 SEP Tank Commanders Course and MGS Commanders Course, benning.army.mil, last accessed 2 February 2020
  15. ^ Mobile Gun System Commanders Course 2E-SIR4/020-ASIR4, benning.army.mil, updated 21 May 2018, last accessed 2 February 2020
  16. ^ Master Gunner Common Core, benning.army.mil, last accessed 28 January 2020
  17. ^ a b Master Gunner, benning.army.mil, dated 31 July 2018, last accessed 2 February 2020
  18. ^ BRADLEY INFANTRY FIGHTING VEHICLE SYSTEMS MASTER GUNNER - 010-ASIJ3, benning.army.mil, dated 15 May 2018, last accessed 2 February 2020
  19. ^ StrykerStryker Master Gunner, www.benning.army.mil, last updated 22 May 2018, last accessed 7 February 2020
  20. ^ a b Sullivan Cup Precision Gunnery Competition, benning.army.mil, 24 May 2018, 2 February 2020
  21. ^ a b 2019 GAINEY CUP BEST SCOUT SQUAD COMPETITION, benning.army.mil, dated 23 April 2019, last accessed 2 February 2020
  22. ^ a b c Excellence in Armor, Building Tomorrow's NCO Corps Today, U.S. Army Armor School, Office of the Chief of Armor, benning.army.mil, dated May 2018, last accessed 2 February 2020
  23. ^ Thunderbolt Blast, Armor School Newsletter, U.S. Army, dated Spring 2020, last accessed 1 June 2020

External links[edit]