Starting Strong: Combat Engineer (12B) Prospect Part 2

After being pushed to the breaking point, Frank, a prospective combat engineer, completes three days of training before making his decision.
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The show you are watching is real. These people are not actors. You will follow a potential Army recruit with a backstage pass as they learn about Army life, careers and themselves. At the end, they’ll make a life-changing decision. Join the Army or remain a civilian. This recruit’s journey starts now.

The combat engineer, or sapper, is one of the most physically demanding specialties in the U.S. Army. Last time, our prospective recruit Frank Adams learned that the road to becoming a sapper is long and rough.

This is Frank. He’s gonna be treated just like anybody else.

My first day at Fort Bragg, I came in really, really cocky, it was a really humbling experience.

Damn it!

Come on, Frank!

I got to use C4, hold a breach blanket three feet away from a blast door. All of that was an amazing time.

This time on Starting Strong, the training goes to the next level. And for Frank, it’ll be sink or swim.

Hey, gather round, gather round. So this is the part you’ll have to swim.

When combat engineers have to cross a river or a lake, they keep their equipment dry and ready for action by making a poncho rack.

I got 1220. I want to be in the water at 1300. Can we make that happen? Let’s start doing it.

Better hurry up, we’re a little behind.

Everybody in the water with your gear. Still waiting on two teams.

Where are they?

Get your ponchos over your head.

Frank, anytime.

Pull, two, three. Say “Thank you, Frank.”

“Thank you Frank!”

Get your legs straight.

What’s frustrating when you’ve got guys that, you know, you don’t want to be working out when you’re not, and you’re just standing there.

Hey, your platoon is getting their asses handed to them because you failed to meet a hit time. Move your ****** ass!

Frank, now you can tell my mom I’m dead!

The problem was, is that he didn’t ask for any help. So, he ultimately didn’t make his hit time and everybody paid for it.

You missed my hit time. When I looked back and watched you a couple times, I didn’t see any…



I froze, I know you can’t do that. You’re supposed to just go with that.

Did you ask for help?


You did look frazzled. The biggest problem was you didn’t ask. I expect the best, my LT and my squad leaders expect the best. You should want the best for you. And you should want to be with an organization that provides the best.



We’re about to be repelling down the tower. Honestly, I am afraid of heights, but I’m not gonna let anyone else here know that. Worst case scenario, you probably have two broken legs, maybe a broken back.

Lean forward. No, lean forward. Trust in your equipment. Now just let it slide through your hands. Let it slide. Slide!


There you go! There you go! Not too bad, Frank. Not too bad.

That repel was really, really cool, I just, I’m like, I have so much adrenaline pumping, I just want to like, go.

A helocast is when you exit a helicopter and it’s about an eight-foot drop into the actual lake.

There are four buoys out there. Swim over to the west side, walk down to the boat launch area where you’ll see all the zodiacs.

Once we got over the water, I was just excited to get out and jump. It was probably the biggest rush I’ve had in a long time.

Go! Go!

This is it. This is cool. This is what engineers do.

Whew! Yeah Frank!

I would be a combat engineer because this is just the coolest job.

What do you think about joining now?

I’m still going either way, but this is definitely helping me leaning towards yes.

I know my mom and dad, they might be a little upset, but you know what, we don’t get a second chance at doing things in life sometimes, and this is one of them.

Frank, good to see you again. It’s been a challenging few days to say the least. But it’s time to make your final decision. Do you want to join the U.S. Army, or remain a civilian?