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3d annual Best Sapper Competition.

The 3d annual Best Sapper Competition at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, lived up to its name from 1-3 May as mental and physical exhaustion took its toll on seven of the thirteen 2-man teams, leaving only six to cross the finish line--and one to be named best sapper team. The "Tropic Lightning" team from the 66th Engineer Company, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, took top honors in the grueling three-day ordeal that tested the combat engineer skills of participants, while subjecting them to substantial physical strain.

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Over the three-day course, competitors must--

* Pass a physical fitness test.

* Perform a military operations on urbanized terrain (MOUT) breach of two exterior doors using explosive breaching methods.

* Tie knots used in mountaineering.

* Use an AN/PSS-12 mine detector to locate five mines.

* Qualify on the grenade range.

* Calculate the placement of timber cutting, steel cutting, breaching, and field expedient charges.

* Construct and swim with a poncho raft.

* Negotiate a vertical obstacle using the prusik climbing technique and the buddy rappel technique.

* Identify threat mines.

* Transmit a 9-line improvised explosive device (IED) report.

* Assemble and perform a function check of weapon systems.

* Destroy a wooden target using an abatis charge.

* Engage targets with pistol, rifle, and squad automatic weapon.

* Perform a MOUT breach, enter, and clear a building and engage multiple targets.

* Calculate and place an inert charge on a steel target.

* Provide combat lifesaver (CLS) medical care to injured Soldiers.

* Transmit a 9-line medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) request.

* Destroy a concrete target using a counterforce charge.

* Perform a 9-mile run with nine arduous "mystery" events.

Team 2, from the 66th Engineer Company, which also placed in last year's competition, said they came back to the competition for just one reason--to win. They said the competition seemed to be a little tougher than they remembered from last year.

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During the awards brunch, Major General William H. McCoy, United States Army Maneuver Support Center and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, said that all the participants should consider themselves winners.

"I'm tremendously proud of the competitors," Major General McCoy said. "To go through what we put you through these past couple of days, you should all be proud of yourselves individually."

A Soldier from another team said nothing he had done before compared to the Best Sapper Competition. Although he had been through a lot of training, he said it was the toughest thing he had ever done in his life. The commander of the 577th Engineer Battalion, the sponsoring unit, said the competition allows sappers to test their skills and will, while increasing their esprit de corps. Teams compete for about 58 hours and cover about 50 miles. The events test their combat engineer and infantry skills.

The winning team was presented with a bust of retired Lieutenant General Robert B. Flowers, former Chief of Engineers, on 23 May during ENFORCE 2007.

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 Christian DeLuca

By Mr. Christian DeLuca
Sapper Teams

 1. First Lieutenant Mark Gillman 66th Engineer Company
 Sergeant Gordon Paulson Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
 2. First Lieutenant Colby Krug 66th Engineer Company
 Staff Sergeant Erasmo Flores Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
 3. Captain John Evangelista 554th Engineer Battalion
 Captain Jason Winkelmann Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
 4. Second Lieutenant Christopher Vernon 554th Engineer Battalion
 Second Lieutenant Brad Miller Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
 5. Staff Sergeant Douglas LeBoeuf 554th Engineer Battalion
 Second Lieutenant Kenneth Stover Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
 6. Sergeant First Class Eric Prescott 911th Engineer Company
 First Lieutenant Alex Viox Fort Belvoir, Virginia
 7. Specialist Michael Cessaro 37th Engineer Battalion
 Specialist James Parthemer Fort Bragg, North Carolina
 8. Sergeant Brian Telega 37th Engineer Battalion
 Specialist David Menjares Fort Bragg, North Carolina
 9. Specialist Nicholas Wardwell 50th Engineer Company
 Specialist Jarred Wade Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
10. Sergeant Jeremy Gaspard 50th Engineer Company
 Sergeant Aaron Cole Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
11. Staff Sergeant Kevin Wiseman 515th Engineer Company
 First Lieutenant Daniel Hayes Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
12. Specialist Robert Overstreet 5th Engineer Battalion
 Sergeant Jeremy Coffman Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
13. Sergeant Michael Robinson 5th Engineer Battalion
 Specialist Jose Payes Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri

2007 Best Sapper Competition Winners*

Overall
First Place Team 2
Second Place Team 3
Third Place Team 1

Events
 1. Physical Fitness Test Team 3
 2. MOUT Breach I Team 2
 Team 3
 3. Knot Tying Team 1
 4. AN/PSS-12 Mine Detector Evaluation Team 1
 5. Grenade Range Qualification Team 6
 6. Timber-Cutting Charge Evaluation Team 1
 Team 3
 Team 4
 Team 6
 7. Poncho Raft Swim Team 2
 8. Prusik Climb and Buddy Rappel Evaluation Team 3
 9. Threat Mine Identification Team 6
10. 9-Line IED Report Team 3
11. Weapons Assembly Evaluation Team 1
 Team 2
12. Demolition Calculation Team 1
13. Stress Shoot Team 8
14. MOUT Breach II Team 1
 Team 2
 Team 3
15. Steel-Cutting Charge Evaluation Team 1
 Team 3
16. CLS Evaluation Team 2
17. 9-Line MEDEVAC Request Team 6
18. Counterforce Evaluation Team 1
 Team 3
 Team 4
19. 9-Mile Run Team 1

* Multiple entries indicate that more than one team achieved maximum
scores.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:DeLuca, Christian
Publication:Engineer: The Professional Bulletin for Army Engineers
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2007
Words:901
Previous Article:Enforce 2007.
Next Article:Integrating lessons learned at MANSCEN.
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