SAPPER LEADER COURSE
SAPPERS CLEAR THE WAY
In the U.S. Army, Sappers are combat engineers or other personnel who support the front-line infantry, and they have fought in every war in American history. 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.
Modern combat engineering and sappers still retains the Roman role of building field fortifications, road paving, and the breaching of terrain obstacles. The combat engineering role includes practices and techniques of camouflage, reconnaissance, communication methods and enhancement of survival by other troops. Combat engineering also includes construction of roads, bridges, field fortifications and obstacles. 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 employs a wide range of vehicles and equipment 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.
To wear the Sapper Tab, a Soldier must be a Graduate of the Sapper Leader Course 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, female soldiers are permitted to attend, but priority is given to engineering, cavalry, and infantry soldiers. The course is divided into two Phases
The first 14 days cover general subjects including medical, land navigation, demolitions, air and water operations, mountaineering, landmines and weapons used by enemy forces
The remaining 14 days cover 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. Each training event is graded and scored. To graduate, a sapper must earn 700 out of 1000 points in order to wear the sapper tab.