MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
Sweat runs down dirt covered faces, creating muddy masks in the hot sun.
Even through the caked veil, you see pure determination.
Capt. Nathan Jones, 5th Civil Engineer Squadron deputy flight commander, earned his sapper tab after a 28 day U.S. Army Sapper Leader Course.
This course is designed to train joint-service leaders in small unit tactics, leadership skills, and skills required to perform as part of a combined arms team.
Sappers are combat engineers who support the front-line infantry and perform tasks that include bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, field defenses as well as building, road and airfield construction and repair.
Two Team Minot Airmen initially competed in the U.S. Army sapper leader course.
“During halfway through the course the other Airman sustained an injury and was cut from the course,” said Jones. “Afterwards I was the only U.S. Air Force member there.”
The course is broken up into 2 phases.
Phase 1 is General studies which includes mountaineering, airborne operations, water ops and other exercises. Phase 2 is Patrolling out in the field, planning and executes missions, putting you to the test.
“What kept me going was the team aspect and the drive to earn the sapper tab,” said Jones. “It’s about the people working alongside you and willing to carry you through your low points.
After the end of the course Jones was tired and beaten but knew he successfully completed the course. He was now a sapper.
“At that moment when I got my sapper tab I knew I did it,” said Jones. “I could finally lay down and take a nap.”