"50 Teams, 50 Miles, 50 Hours" is this year's theme of the 11th Annual Best Sapper Competition held April 23 - 28 at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. The 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command sponsored two teams for this year's marathon of an event. Here's a little more about the Sappers selected to represent us this year:

Team 1: 1st Lt. Jacob Davel and 2nd Lt. Christopher LT Morhardt

Name: 1st Lt. Jacob Davel
Hometown: Port Washington, Wis.
MOS/Branch: 12A (Engineer Officer)

Position: Executive Officer, 561st Engineer Construction Company, 84th En. Bn.
Why Compete in Best Sapper? "I've wanted to compete since I graduated Sapper School in 2015, but because of deployments the timing hasn't worked out. It is a great honor and privilege to represent the unit and compete against classmates and our previous instructors."
Thoughts on train-up to the competition: "I don't think there is anyone who has an advantage over anyone else. We know that there will be some Sapper Instructors and seasoned noncommissioned officers in the competition, but we use this as a fire to push us further and harder and show we are a force to be reckoned with."

Name: 2nd Lt. Christopher Morhardt
Hometown: Lindenhurst, N.Y.
MOS/Branch: 12A (Engineer Officer)
Position: S3 Current Operations 84th En. Bn.

Why Compete in Best Sapper: "We both wanted the opportunity to see where we stand in the nation, see if we are the best Sappers and continue to train on the tasks learned in the school to enhance the units' capabilities."

Thoughts on the train-up to the competition: "The train-up was really used as a gauge of personalities and capabilities at first to see who would work best with each other. Our coaches and trainers did an excellent job of narrowing down the individuals who tried out and making the best teams possible. Also, I think the climate in Hawaii gives us an advantage by training in hot, muggy conditions."


Team 2: 2nd Lt. Nolan Kirk & Spc. Drake Davis

Name: 2nd Lt. Nolan Kirk
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
MOS/Branch: 12A (Engineer Officer)
Position: S3 Current Operations, 84th En. Bn.

Why Compete in Best Sapper: "As the most recent graduate of Sapper School within the brigade, I wasn't enthusiastic about going at first. I don't know if I'd even regained the feeling in my fingers from the school, but after working with Spc. Davis, I'm excited to represent Hawaii with our red clay stained shirts and showcase our capabilities back at Fort Leonard Wood. "

Thoughts on the train-up to the competition: "I think the greatest thing that came out of the train-up was the bond I built with SPC Davis as competent and confident partner. I've gained confidence in how we complement each other; we've learned each other's strengths and weaknesses and know how to maximize that to our advantage."

Name: Spc. Drake Davis
Hometown: Montague, Michigan
MOS/Branch: 12N (Horizontal Construction Engineer)
Position: Heavy Equipment Operator, 561st Engineer Construction Company, 84th EN BN

Why Compete in Best Sapper: "I wanted to show everyone what we are capable of doing. Even with the limited training space that comes with being in the middle of an ocean, I know we will represent from the battalion to U.S Army Pacific well."

Thoughts on the train-up to the competition: "I think the train up has prepared us for anything we will face in Fort Leonard Wood. There is only so much you can do to train-up for any event, but I think it really comes down to what you have inside you -- the drive to compete above everyone else and complete the events presented."