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    Fort Carson Best Sapper Competition 2017

    Fort Carson Best Sapper Competition 2017

    Photo By Sgt. Micah Merrill | Sgt. Eric Guzman, assigned to 299th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Micah Merrill 

    14th Public Affairs Detachment

    Sappers, soldiers who performs a variety of military engineering duties, traveled more than 40 miles in under 40 hours while competing in a variety of events, pushing them to their mental and physical breaking point. The teams consist of two members, a mixture of both officers and enlisted personnel, who seek to demonstrate their competence in combat engineering are selected by the military unit they represent. Six teams competed in the Best Sapper Competition held December 6-7, on Fort Carson.

    To simulate real-life situations faced by combat engineers, overall competition events remained unknown to the competitors, according to Maj. Daniel Brady, the 4th Infantry Division engineer.

    “Teams will receive the task, condition, and standards prior to accomplishing each event,” said Brady.

    The competition of both technical and tactical events included: a test of all knots and rope systems in the sapper handbook, constructing a poncho raft, swimming and treading water in uniform, a 15-mile road march, a demolitions exam, a non-standard physical fitness test, an obstacle course, breaching with a shotgun and explosives, building and detonating field expedient charges.

    “The learning experience here is worth it, and excellent training,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Reninger, a competitor with 4th Engineer Battalion.

    One of the most physically demanding events of the competition is the ruck march. With competitors more than 14 hours into the competition and their rucks weighing as much as 40 pounds or more, each hour made the weight seem heavier. Although teams carry their ruck with them throughout the competition to each event, the 15-mile ruck march would prove to be the most daunting. Temperatures, already below freezing, continued to drop as the sun set behind the mountain range leaving some competitors with frozen canteens. Nearing the mid-point of the competition, exhaustion was visible on the faces of Fort Carson’s toughest engineers.

    “Their feet are bleeding and they’re still going,” Brady said. Medical personnel consistently were present and evaluating competitors to ensure their safety.

    The competitors arrived at the next station near midnight knowing their time to prepare would be short. Within three hours they began the night land navigation course in single-digit temperatures that would be completed just after sunrise.

    The sun came up as the clock ticked down on competitors breaching obstacles while carrying a mannequin, and building and detonating field expedient charges.

    Their final event would take them back 15 miles to the finish line near where the competition began 36 hours earlier.

    With members of their units cheering them on, 1st Lt. Eric Perez and 1st Lt. Eric Krueger, 588th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, sprinted across the finish line followed closely by 1st Lt. Daniel Butensky and Sgt. Elisco Guzman, 299th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

    “These guys were already hurting before they started this run,” said Sgt. 1st Class Collette Jarvis, 4th Infantry Division construction operations noncommissioned officer. “They’ve got a lot of heart.”



    Date Taken: 12.12.2017
    Date Posted: 12.12.2017 15:52
    Story ID: 258486
    Location: FORT CARSON, CO, US 
    Hometown: SNYDER, OK, US
    Hometown: SOUTH LYON, MI, US

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