Testing Their Skills :: Fort Drum
First Lt. John DeScisciolo, 1st Lt. Ethan Raebel, Master Sgt. Cody A. St. Germain and 1st Lt. Thomas Bruton, will represent the 7th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, in the 2022 Top Engineer Competition, April 23-25, at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
Engineers of the 10th Mountain Division are determined to persevere in the competition for the best sapper in the army
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, NY (April 20, 2022) – Soldiers from the 7th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team are ready to put their skills and experience to the test in the 2022 Best Engineer competition, April 23-25, at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
The competition, hosted by the U.S. Army Engineer School, serves as a testing ground to determine the best two-person team of sapper-qualified soldiers.
Staff Sgt. Cody A. St. Germain, Sergeant of 2nd Platoon, Company A, participated last year while stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, but was unable to complete it after his teammate was pulled out for medical reasons.
“It’s a very physically demanding competition, with a lot of technical expertise,” St. Germain said. “My motivation this year is to finish it.”
Some of the events are standard for most army competitions, such as a grueling march, land navigation, and physical fitness test, but the best sapper focuses on assessing special skills and knowledge unique to military engineers. the army. Last year’s event started with a demolition test where participants had to solve a series of questions and calculations.
“In reality, you can prepare for it physically, but you never know what events they’ll throw at you,” St. Germain said. “It helps to know your team’s strengths and weaknesses in advance.”
His teammate, 1st Lt Thomas Bruton, leader of 1st Platoon, is a first-time competitor.
“It feels good to be able to compete and represent the 10th Mountain Division and show everyone what the 7th Engineer Battalion brings to the fight,” Bruton said.
The competition, which began in 2005 and touted the slogan “50 teams, 50 hours, 50 miles”, whittles down team after team through a series of physical and mental challenges.
First Lt. Ethan Raebel, general manager of Company B, said that no matter how much training or preparation a team brings to the competition, getting to the end is all that matters.
“There are teams that train for months for this and still don’t finish,” he said. “You can study all you want and be the smartest person in the world, but if you don’t reach mile 50, it doesn’t matter.”
Raebel said there are several military occupational specialties within the army engineering profession, which can make the competitive field interesting.
“As long as you have attended sapper school, you are certified to compete,” he said. “You might be competing against equipment operators, combat engineers or any other type of engineer, but we all come together and it’s a validation of everything this school teaches you – and it’s a information marathon.
Raebel teams up with 1st Lt. John DeScisciolo, 2nd Platoon Leader, A Company.
“I love competition and will jump at any opportunity to put myself in an environment like that,” DeScisciolo said. “I recently became a sapper platoon leader, so I ask my soldiers to do a lot of the same things I did over a year ago in school. Now is the time to find out what I forgot and brush it up so I can be a better platoon leader when I return.
Only one team out of 10and Mountain Division has never won in its 15 year history of best sapper, and they were soldiers of the 7th BEB.
“As long as I cross the finish line with my teammate, it’s a success for me,” DeScisciolo said. “But the biggest goal is to be the top 10and the Mountain Division team, then after that, to win it all.
To learn more about the contest, visit www.facebook.com/BestSapper/.