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    2018 Best Sapper Competition opens at Fort Leonard Wood

    2018 Best Sapper Competition

    Photo By Michael Curtis | Team 41: 1st Lt. Matthew Stanley, Sgt. Connor Horsley, Fort Bragg, North Carolina,...... read more read more



    Story by Marti Yoshida 

    Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office

    The 12th annual Best Sapper Competition kicked off Sunday with opening ceremonies held at Training Area 160, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

    The first order was to introduce the new name of the competition as the Lieutenant General Robert B. Flowers Best Sapper Competition.

    “General Flowers is a great engineer, a great Sapper, and truly is the reason all who are Sapper qualified wear the Sapper Tab,” Brig. Gen. Robert Whittle Jr., U.S. Army Engineer School Commandant, said. “You will see him throughout the competition.”

    Whittle encouraged the Sapper teams to talk with Flowers, who was the 50th Chief of Engineers when the Sapper Tab was authorized for wear in June 2004.

    This year's Best Sapper teams were introduced during the ceremony.

    “We’ve got 40 teams here from all over the world,” Whittle said. “You’ve all been training very hard. You’re all incredibly fit and ready to go, and that’s good because this competition will be grueling. You joined it because you wanted to test your limits. You joined to see if as a buddy team you could motivate each other to do the impossible.”

    Now as you look around the room, you can see this competition will be tough, Whittle added.

    The 97th Commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School offered words of advice to the teams as they embark on tough conditions and challenges, like the return of frigid winds and temperatures not getting above 30 degrees.

    “Never quit. Take another step. Overcome another objective. Motivate each other and cross the finish line,” Whittle said. “Your families and friends are counting on you. Your chain of command is tracking you. Never quit.”

    Command Sgt. Maj. Trevor Walker, U.S. Army Engineer School, regimental command sergeant major, welcomed the teams to Fort Leonard Wood.

    “Thank you for coming, stepping up and doing something more than what you have to do," Walker said.

    This year, the competition, which is run by the Sapper Training Company, 169th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade, USAES, had its first Marine team sign up.

    “We were extended an invitation from the school,” said Gunnery Sgt. William Shultz, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, who was the 2017 honor graduate of Sapper Leader Course, Class 4. “They offered us the opportunity to come here and do this event.”

    “Our expectation is to finish so that in the future we can have more Marines come here,” Shultz, competing as Team 40, added. “We’re grateful to be here. This is a great opportunity and we look forward to it.”

    Other teams echoed the goal to finish and win.

    The awards ceremony for the competition will be held at 7:30 a.m. April 19 on Fort Leonard Wood's Gammon Field.

    Follow the competition on social media at #BestSapper.



    Date Taken: 04.15.2018
    Date Posted: 04.15.2018 18:15
    Story ID: 273134
    Location: FORT LEONARD WOOD , MO, US 

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