Army Engineers Train With Explosives At Fort Drum

Date: May 13, 2016

FORT DRUM, NY (WWNY) – Sometimes an explosion is your only option.

Army Engineering Squads are spending the weekend on Fort Drum – competing in the annual Command Best Sapper Competition, a chance for trainees to show off what they’ve learned.

Engineers are the Jacks and Jills of all trades on the battlefield.

“What you’re really doing out there is you’re solving the maneuver commander’s problems on the battlefield as far as the terrain goes. So what we have here is a lot of combat engineer orientated tasks,” said Major Matt Cosler, 479th Engineer Battalion, Operations Officer.

The engineers do build things, but they also blow things up.

One task at the competition is making a crater using 40 pounds of explosives.

Because the explosion is so powerful, the troops have to stand in the bunker, about 300 meters past the explosion site.

Troops piled into the bunker with the explosives wired to the switch.

Whatever mark the engineers make, they have to fix.

“Once a crater is there it’s an obstacle for ourselves, as well as the enemy forces, as well as the civilians in the environment we’re operating. We don’t obviously want to you use it unless we know we’re going to need it in a defensive requirement,” said Captain Jason McKnight, Commander 688 Company MAC.

This is the first year a woman is competing in the competition.