Susanville native vies for U.S. Army Best Sapper title

Staff Sgt. Jacob Williams, a Susanville native, is slated to compete in the 17th Best Sapper Competition, to be held April 19-22 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Williams is part of a two-person team representing the 6th BEB at Fort Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, scheduled to compete against 49 other teams for the Best Sapper title.

The competition showcases the Army’s elite combat engineering Soldiers, who support infantry forces – among other skills, Sappers breach fortifications, place and remove landmines, work with explosives and install portable bridges.

During the competition, each soldier will be required to travel more than 60 miles in 58 hours, throughout the wooded and hilly Ozarks, while carrying a ruck sack that weighs more than 80 pounds and competing in a variety of events, testing them to their mental and physical breaking point.

Sappers will compete on limited amounts of sleep and will have to complete a series of tasks, including demolition, land navigation, steel cutting, mountaineering, reconnaissance, marksmanship and urban breaching techniques.

The opening ceremony, slated to begin at 5 p.m. CST April 19, will be livestreamed to, as well as the closing ceremony at 10 a.m. CST on April 23, and various events in between.

Photos from the competition will be available at

The name “Sapper” is derived from French, and originates from the early days of siege warfare, when military engineers would dig tunnels under castle walls.

For more information about the competition, visit the BSC Facebook page at, their website at or contact the Public Affairs Office at (573) 563-4145.

About Fort Leonard Wood
Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post more than 75 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains more than 80,000 military and civilians each year. Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.

Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.

More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at