By Luciano Vera
1st Lt. Cody Millhouse, a Soldier with the 2nd Engineer Battalion, placed 4th in the Army Best Sapper Competition.
What is the purpose of the Sapper Competition?
It is a three day competition to determine the best Sapper in the Army. Teams of two compete and one of the team members has to have a Sapper Tab. A total of 46 teams competed in the 2015 competition.
What are some of the events in the competition?
It’s very broad, from gas mask runs, obstacle courses, military expedient demolitions while under stress, dealing with foreign and US weapons assembly and disassembly, mountaineering and all sorts of military knowledge.
Did having a partner help during the competition?
My partner (1st Lt. Ro AKA Ranger Ro) and I were thrown together in the Iron Sapper event on Fort Bliss. My partner got first and I got second. The competition is made for teams, and in all the events you will only succeed as a team. All the scores are combined together. You succeed or fail together.
Why did you chose to compete?
Through the glory of God. I’m not particularly competitive but I live my life through the glory of God and I was led to compete.
How did you prepare for the Best Sapper Competition?
We began preparing in November by preparing for other competitions that led up to the Army wide competition. It was a combination of technical and physical train ups. Work out for two hours in the morning and technical classes every afternoon.
What were the hours like during the competition?
Its nicknamed 50+ hours. You’re constantly going. You got an average of 2 to 4 hours to rest, bandage your feet and study for the next event. It is physically and mentally exhausting and designed to test your limits. There is no other competition in the Army like this.
What did you eat during the competition?
MRE’s and a hot meal daily. Drinking water and loading up on food is important if you’re going to finish.
Did you ever reach a point where you considered quitting? If not how did you push passed it?
This happened directly during the 20 mile ruck march. With all the events on the first day we had traveled about 25 miles with our gear. The 20 mile ruck event was on the second day. About half way through the ruck march my feet gave out and my partner’s body started to cramp severely. At that point it took us 5 hours to finish the second half of the event. It was miserably slow and we both wanted to quit. I don’t call many things miserable but this event was miserable. A medic helped us push through and we motivated each other to finish.
Would you do the competition again?
After the competition I said no, but I’m pretty sure I would. Looking back now I would just prepare my feet a little better.
2E is leaving WSMR, where are you headed next?
I’m headed to Fort Bliss with 2E or I might head to the Captains Career Course and then to Fort Leonard Wood.
Any advice you would give to someone looking to or preparing for the Sapper competition?
Study with a good partner and physically prepare with a good partner that way you learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses ahead of time. This way you can back each other up during the competition.
How did your team place?
We placed fourth overall and we won first in the land navigation event.