Rigorous Construction Training Is Key to Engineer Commandos on the Front Lines

This might be our most explosive blog post to date! Of course, we aim to inform our readers as to the best ways to train operators and identify relevant, unique applications but this subject matter is truly starts with a bang – literally.  Military Sappers.  One website describes what Sappers do as “clearing the way through hell.”
If you’re not familiar, a Sapper is the term used by the military for an elite combat engineer or pioneer who is skilled in a variety of military engineering duties such as minefield placement or clearing, bridge-building, demolitions, field defenses, and road and airfield construction. Sappers are expertly trained combatants in a variety of construction duties and roles, and they are deployed on the front lines to help their fellow allied forces while also working to impede the enemy. Teamwork is a key to success just like it is on a normal construction site. Only the stakes are much higher for the Sappers.

“A Sapper is an engineer – most of the time a combat engineer – who is a subject matter expert in a variety of engineer duties, whether that be bridging, demolitions or general construction,” said Master Sgt. Paul Santagate, of Copperas Cove, Texas, a sapper and command sergeant major for 1st Battalion, 345th Engineer Regiment, 157th Infantry Brigade, 1st Army Division East. His quote was part of an article on the DvidsHub.net website, an online portal dedicated to military news from the around the world.

Santagate also said in the article that many want to become Sappers but only a few are successful because of the grueling training course that must be passed to become a Sapper. According to the article, the Sapper Leader Course (SLC) is a 28-day course that focuses on training leaders in small unit tactics and leadership skills to perform as part of a combined arms team. SLC is often compared to Ranger school in terms of difficulty and intensity and has a 40 percent drop rate. The first phase covers general subjects such as navigation, demolitions, air and water operations, mountaineering and weapons used by enemy forces. The second phase covers basic patrolling techniques and battle drills with an emphasis on leadership. Subjects covered include urban operations, breaching, patrol organization and movement, reconnaissance and raid and ambush tactics. The course concludes with a three-day training exercise and five-day field training exercise. Sixty percent of missions are engineer-based with the remainder based on infantry missions.

“It’s all about teamwork,” Santagate said. “It’s always good to look yourself in the mirror and think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread and butter, but it’s all about the team. You’re only as strong as your weakest guy on the team. To be competitive – not just at Sapper Leader Course but anything in the world – you want to be the best you can be. Obviously there are certain things you have to do on your own … it’s good to be ‘I’, but it’s better to be ‘team.’”

We here at North America Heavy Equipment and Training Services (NAHETS) salute our Sappers and appreciate what they do for America and our allies. They inspire us to continue to be the best we can be and offer the highest-level of training possible to our students and corporate partners. At NAHETS, we are your ally and strive to help you, and your team, accomplish your mission:  a safe, productive and efficient jobsite.

To read the entire article about the heroic Sappers, click HERE to this link.


Image courtesy of www.usarmy.vo.llnwd.net.

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