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**SAPPER Training MOS 21B**
A sapper is “considered an elite combat engineer” in the United States Army National Guard. In the French Army, sapeur (sapper), refers to the first official corps created by Napoleon I, a military engineering corp.
A sapper may perform any of a variety of combat engineering duties. Such tasks typically include bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, field defenses as well as building, road and airfield construction and repair. In other words, a modern sapper’s tasks involve facilitating movement and logistics of allied forces and impeding that of enemies.”
Sapping is a term used in siege operations. Any trench excavated under defensive musket or artillery fire that was intended to advance a besieging army’s position in relation to the works of an attacked fortification was referred to as a sap.
To wear the Sapper Tab, a Soldier must complete the Sapper Leader Course (SLC) which is operated by the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri . The Sapper Leader Course is a 28-day course designed to train joint-service leaders in small unit tactics, leadership skills, and tactics required to perform as part of a combined arms team. The course is open to enlisted Soldiers in the grades of E-4 (in the Army, specialist) and above, cadets, and officers O-3 (Army, captain) and below. As students can come from any combat or combat support branch of the service but priority is given to engineering, cavalry, and infantry soldiers.
The course is divided into two Phases:
Phase I lasts 14 days and covers general subjects including medical, navigation, demolitions, air and water operations, mountaineering, and landmines and weapons used by enemy forces.
Phase II is the remaining 14 days. It covers basic patrolling techniques and battle drills that emphasize leadership. The subjects include urban operations, breaching, patrol organization and movement, and reconnaissance, raid and ambush tactics. It concludes with a three-day situation training exercise, and five-day field training exercise. These missions are a 60/40 mix of engineer and infantry missions.
Leadership is emphasized throughout the SLC. During the course leader roles are rotated regularly and each student is evaluated at least twice on leadership. The results of the Sapper Leader Course are soldiers who are better-trained combat engineers.
In their role, combat engineers use a wide variety of engineer hand and power tools. They are also responsible for construction rigging, demolitions, camouflage, field fortifications, obstacle clearance and construction, assault of fortifications, bridge erection, use of assault boats in water obstacle crossings, expedient road and helipad construction, general construction, engineer route and road reconnaissance. Combat engineering employees a wide range of transportation vehicles and equipment, and uses weapons unique to the engineers, including those used in land mine warfare. All these role activities and technologies are divided into several areas of combat engineering.
The Sapper Leader Course is a fast-paced 28-day course designed to train joint-service leaders in small unit tactics, leadership skills, and war-fighter tactics required to perform as part of a combined arms team in a contemporary operating environment. The SLC is open to enlisted Soldiers in the grades of specialist (promotable) and above, and engineer officers captain and
There are some skills that are both taught in the Sapper Leaders Course (SLC) and Ranger school that overlap; however, in the SLC the sappers are taught skills that are pertinent to combat engineering. The SLC is exactly what it sounds. It is an engineer specific course that is designed to forge men into Sapper leaders. The sappers that attend and graduate the SLC become experts in engineer specific tasks, infantry skills, mountaineering, and are trained to lead sappers to complete the mission despite the obstacles. The SLC differs from Ranger school in not only what was listed above, but as Ranger School is designed to further develop the skills of an infantry soldier the SLC is designed to further the skills of a sapper and develop them into Sapper leaders.
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