Combat engineers: Destroying things and building them back up again

History

VIDEO: Combat engineers: Destroying things then building them back up

Combat engineers are very yin and yang, always building this then destroying that, responsible for creating building bases, bridges and roads and destroying enemy land mines, barricades and fortifications. Sappers, as they're often called, are basically construction workers with guns, ready to pick up a shovel or a rifle at any moment.

U.S. Army combat engineers have played a pivotal role in every war of the last century, and that role that has changed drastically with each new conflict. During the Korean War, sappers they were instrumental in slowing down the North Korean advance in the early days of the war by destroying bridges. The "tunnel rats" of Vietnam were tasked with clearing the infamously complex tunnel systems that the enemy used for transporting troops and equipment, facing hand grenades, traps and the constant threat of a cave-in.

During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combat engineers took on a new role: helping rebuild the infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, and filling the gaps of the understaffed EOD teams. Engineers are often given the role of route clearance, which is critically important given the enemy's fondness for land mines and IEDs.

Watch the video above to learn about the unique role combat engineers have played throughout every major war — and find out exactly where the term 'sapper' comes from in the first place.


Roughly a dozen U.S. troops showing concussion-related symptoms are being medically evacuated from Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, a defense official told Task & Purpose on Tuesday.

Read More

In a Galaxy — err, I mean, on a military base far, far away, soldiers are standing in solidarity with galactic freedom fighters.

Sitting at the top of an Army press release from March 2019, regarding the East Africa Response Force's deployment to Gabon, the photo seems, at first glance, just like any other: Soldiers on the move.

But if you look closer at the top right, you'll find something spectacular: A Rebel Alliance flag.

Read More
The maiden flight of the first CMV-22B Osprey took place in Amarillo, Texas (Courtesy photo)

The first of the CMV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft the Navy plans on adopting as its carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft of choice has successfully completed its first flight operations, manufacturer Boeing announced on Tuesday.

Read More
A soldier plugs his ears during a live fire mission at Yakima Training Center. Photo: Capt. Leslie Reed/U.S. Army

Another 300 lawsuits against 3M flooded federal courts this month as more military veterans accuse the behemoth manufacturer of knowingly making defective earplugs that caused vets to lose hearing during combat in Iraq or Afghanistan or while training on U.S. military bases.

On another front, 3M also is fighting lawsuits related to a class of chemicals known as PFAS, with the state of Michigan filing a lawsuit last week against the Maplewood-based company.

To date, nearly 2,000 U.S. veterans from Minnesota to California and Texas have filed more than 1,000 lawsuits.

Read More

GENEVA (Reuters) - North Korea said on Tuesday it was no longer bound by commitments to halt nuclear and missile testing, blaming the United States' failure to meet a year-end deadline for nuclear talks and "brutal and inhumane" U.S. sanctions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set an end-December deadline for denuclearization talks with the United States and White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said at the time the United States had opened channels of communication.

O'Brien said then he hoped Kim would follow through on denuclearization commitments he made at summits with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Read More