5 Reasons You Will FAIL Sapper School

5 Reasons You Will FAIL Sapper School

5 Top Reasons Those Who Try to Earn Their Sapper Tab End Up Walking Away Empty-Handed…

  1. Not being a “triple threat” Sapper. This means that the Soldiers are not physically fit, intelligent, and most importantly, a “people person.” Fitness plays an extremely important role in the course and the “gated” events are conducted daily. Make sure to check out our Sapper School Prep Program to get physically ready. The terrain is also extreme and unlike most Army bases. You have to be able to be taught skills one time and test on it, testing your mental agility. Lastly, it is imperative the Soldiers are able to work with others in an environment where you have minimal time to build rapport.

  1. Failure to train up/ study on the skills taught and tested. Sapper school is broken down into two phases: General Studies (GS) and patrolling. The first phase is a point-based system, requiring you to earn points when testing on skills. Due to this, Soldiers are able to practice skills PRIOR to attending.


  1. Inability to keep up with high tempo of the course requirements. Sapper school is a 28-day course, considered a “sprint” until the finish. You spend all day moving and your body (especially legs) will feel like cement throughout the duration of the course.
  1. Making Excuses. Typical excuses such as not being physically prepared or knowing they won’t make “points” to move on happens frequently. Soldiers would rather receive a MEDROP instead of failing. Another excuse is being poor at basic skills such as Sapper Technical Tasks (STTs) or knots. They also find themselves in situations where they won’t apply to attend solely based on the fact it has an extremely high failure rate. So, rather than attend and fail, they simply don’t attend to spare dignity.


  1. Lack of experience in heartache. Most Soldiers have never experienced hardship and it takes a toll on the mental aptitude of Soldiers attending the course. The overwhelming pressure of physical event after physical event followed by testing with no preparation degrades Soldiers’ performance.

All most current and official information on the Sapper Leader Course can be found at the Fort Leonard Wood website: https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/units-tenants/USAES/Sapper

For the BEST Sapper School Fitness Program: https://grittysoldier.com/collections/fitness-programs/products/sapper-school-fitness-program-8-weeks

 Original Content by 1LT Thomas Duclos (Duke)

1 comment

  • Joseph LeBoeuf

    Another reason that some leave empty handed an inability to operate in ambiguity. The cadre does not share how you do on tests and whether or not you are passing your patrols. They do not share what some events are worth or if they are even a scored event. So you just have to focus on doing your best on each event and move on to the next one.

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