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2d annual Best Sapper Competition.

Sappers from around the globe traveled to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, to see who was the best of the best at the Engineer Regiment's 2d annual Best Sapper Competition, during ENFORCE week, 2-4 May 2006. Ten 2-man teams traversed through post terrain during two and a half days of the most strenuous training many of these Soldiers had ever experienced.

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Day One began at first light, with a modified physical fitness test consisting of sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, and a 3-mile run. The teams then spent 30 minutes packing their gear; were briefed on the guidelines and boundaries; and set loose lugging 65-pound all-purpose, lightweight, individual, carrying equipment (ALICE) packs to navigate to 16 checkpoints, culminating in more than 20 miles of legwork within 24 hours.

At eight of the checkpoints, teams completed tasks before continuing on their route. These tasks consisted of a Prusik climb and buddy rappel, weapons assembly, a combat life-saver (CLS) assessment and 9-line medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) request, demolition calculations, grenade toss, military operations on urbanized terrain (MOUT) breach, and various weapons firing.

Day One ended for all teams with a 500-meter swim across Bloodland Lake after constructing a poncho raft from equipment in their packs. The last team finished the swim around 0730 the next day. According to one 20th Engineer Battalion Soldier from Fort Hood, Texas, after only one day of the competition, it had been a hard experience.

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Two and a half hours later and two teams smaller, Day Two began. With packs back on their backs and boots back on the trail, the teams began another 20-mile-plus trek, stopping at six more checkpoints to complete tasks. The chief of training of the Sapper Leader Course stated that the lack of downtime was intentional due to wanting to achieve more of a continuous 24-hour operation to make it more realistic.

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The competition ended on Day Three with a 9-mile run. Teams carried sandbags and water jugs during parts of the run, adding to the strain. One Soldier from the 66th Engineer Company, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, remarked that the event was fun, but that it was an extremely challenging experience.

Mr. DeLuca is a photojournalist with the Fort Leonard Wood newspaper, the Guidon. He served as a combat correspondent with the United States Marines from 1997 to 2001. He is a graduate of the Basic Journalism Course and the Intermediate Photojournalism Course at the Defense Information School, Fort Meade, Maryland, and holds a bachelor's in film studies.

Photos by Mr. Christian DeLuca

Mr. Christian DeLuca
2006 Best Sapper Competition Winners

First Place Second Lieutenant 66th Engineer Company
 Joseph Byrnes Schofield Barracks,
 Staff Sergeant Hawaii
 Jeffrey Goodman
Second Place Second Lieutenant Echo Company, 2-9th
 Christopher Bolz Infantry Battalion
 Sergeant Peter Allen Camp Casey, Korea
Third Place Second Lieutenant 20th Engineer Battalion
 Casey Eckart Fort Hood, Texas
 Specialist David
 Roberts
Physical Fitness Test Second Lieutenant 82d Engineer Battalion
 Travis Brown Germany
 Sergeant First Class
 Marcus McClain
CLS 9-Line MEDEVAC Second Lieutenant 82d Engineer Battalion
Evaluation Travis Brown Germany
 Sergeant First Class
 Marcus McClain
MOUT Breach (Tie) Second Lieutenant 20th Engineer Battalion
 Christopher Bolz Fort Hood, Texas
 Sergeant Peter Allan 66th Engineer Company
 Second Lieutenant Schofield Barracks,
 Joseph Byrnes Hawaii
 Staff Sergeant
 Jeffrey Goodman
Steel Cutting Charge Second Lieutenant 66th Engineer Company
Evaluation Joseph Byrnes Schofield Barracks,
 Staff Sergeant Hawaii
 Jeffrey Goodman
Timber Cutting Charge Second Lieutenant 66th Engineer Company
Evaluation Joseph Byrnes Schofield Barracks,
 Staff Sergeant Hawaii
 Jeffrey Goodman
Grenade Range Specialist Jeron 20th Engineer Battalion
Qualification Pilger Fort Hood, Texas
 Specialist Jack
 Ramthum
Demolition Calculation Second Lieutenant 20th Engineer Battalion
 Christopher Bolz Fort Hood, Texas
 Sergeant Peter Allan
Mine Identification Second Lieutenant 20th Engineer Battalion
 Christopher Bolz Fort Hood, Texas
 Sergeant Peter Allan
Prusik Rappel Knots Second Lieutenant 20th Engineer Battalion
Evaluation Casey Eckart Fort Hood, Texas
 Specialist David
 Roberts
Counter Force Staff Sergeant Jason Echo Company, 2-9th
Evaluation Beals Infantry Battalion
 Specialist Matthew Camp Casey. Korea
 Wienczowski
9-Mile Run Second Lieutenant 66th Engineer Company
 Colby Krug Schofield Barracks,
 Staff Sergeant Erasmo Hawaii
 Flores
AN/PSS-12 Mine Detector Second Lieutenant 66th Engineer Company
Evaluation Colby Krug Schofield Barracks,
 Staff Sergeant Erasmo Hawaii
 Flores
Poncho Raft Swim Sergeant William Bravo Company, 1st
 Stanley Engineer Battalion
 Private Gilbert Fort Riley, Kansas
 Cunningham
Weapons Range Sergeant William Bravo Company, 1st
Qualification Stanley Engineer Battalion
 Private Gilbert Fort Riley, Kansas
 Cunningham
Weapons Assembly/ Staff Sergeant Jason Echo Company, 2-9th
IED 9-Line MEDEVAC Beals Infantry Battalion
Evaluation (Tie) Specialist Matthew Camp Casey, Korea
 Wienczowski
 Second Lieutenant 20th Engineer Battalion
 Christopher Bolz Fort Hood, Texas
 Sergeant Peter Allan
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Article Details
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Author:DeLuca, Christian
Publication:Engineer: The Professional Bulletin for Army Engineers
Date:Apr 1, 2006
Words:762
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