Calling all Combat Engineers


Mar 11, 2011
Alberta, Canada
So If anyone remembers im trying to enlist, and I was told by my recruiter that Combat engineers are an open postion. I was just wondering if anyone had hands on exprience in the field. I know what the paper work says, but I just wanted Info from people who BTDT. Thanks
Every Combat Engineer I know is batshit crazy. ;) But then again, most people that know me say the same.

I have worked with them in the past and have a lot of friends that work with them. It seems like it has some cool moments, just like any job and it has a lot of moments that are very physically entensive (ie. very heavy lifting). But just like any job in the CF, it is short spurts of action followed by hours of boredom. And your first few years will entail the menial BS jobs and probably a lot of floor sweeping.

Where in AB are you? If you can wait, ask the recruiters when their next "events" are? The Stampede, Klondike Days or some other events. They usually have a big display and chances are there'll be one or two Engineers kicking around that you can ask questions. Check out Army News, there should be some vids on there about them or search Canadian Army Engineer on YouTube and there'll be vids that might give you a better idea.

If you have any specifics on general life in the CF, etc.; feel free to ask and I'll try to answer best to my knowledge. I've been out a couple years now but if I don't know, I know people that can answer it for you.
I have a lot of respect for “combat” engineers, I trained a combat engineer btn in MOUT/CQB at FT Hood and IMO they were as good as any Infantry unit. They were GTG on ballistic breaching and had a good handle on the basics for MOUT, and they were a Mech unit at that. I was impressed at their abilities and their willingness to learn.

I have also worked with combat engineers in Iraq, some of them were a bit weird (I just want to build stuff) where the masses just wanted to get out and mix it up with the enemy. I received an award from a Combat Engineer btn for some joint work on the early beginning of the counter IED stuff; they played a huge role in keeping IED’s off the routs (saved a lot of soldier’s lives). A lot of 12B’s were outside the wire finding and blowing up IED’s, as well as conducting full spectrum ops in the major cities.

Very respectable MOS to go into IMO.
I wanted to be a combat engineer all through college, until I went to Advanced Camp and saw what they actually did (they had a pretty bad-assed demonstration with body breaches, bangalore torpedos, etc.). :eek: I decided to commission into the Infantry, where it was safe...:D
Are there any pre-requisites, in terms of High School classes (chemistry?), to up your chances of being chosen? From what I've read there isn't anything mentioned, but I'm sure some type of knowledge must help..

I'm considering Combat Engineer as well. 2nd choice, after medic.
I think it just comes down to the aptitude testing but a recruiter could tell you for sure; even on the web chat off their website. You wouldn't get into anything that requires "chemistry" until later on in your career any way and that would be a specialty course.
Are you interested in the Marine Corps combat engineers or the Army? I was a combat engineer in the Marines. The Marines set up for that MOS is a little bit different then the Army's is.

I am not crazy :)
Ok well horrible SA on my part haha. I'll throw in my .02 anyways. Just understand that this is coming from a U.S. Marine combat engineer and things may not be the same up in Canada. I've done work with combat engineers from other countries though and for the most part everything related to the job itself is the same.

I don't know too much about the construction side of the MOS due to the fact that I spent the majority of my time with infantry units. The basic gist of the job though is you spend a lot of time learning how to find IED's. As a combat engineer you are there to support ground forces with mobility and defenses.

Traditionally you would provide mobility by clearing minefields and breaching any obstacles that would obstruct and/or channelize friendly forces. Nowadays since mine warfare isn't as prevalent, combat engineers are utilized to sweep for IED's either using cool high tech vehicles, or metal detectors. We do a lot of work right alongside EOD, however you have to understand that just because you have an understanding of how IED's work and a knowledge on doesn't mean that you're an EOD tech. No need to go messing around with stuff in the ground that you are not thoroughly trained on disarming. This task can be quite long and boring. Sometimes you'll have an idea where IED's are in the ground and can tailor your search accordingly, but most of the time you're spending hours and hours searching and not finding very much. The most important thing to do with this MOS is to fight complacency. Complacency will DEFINITELY get you killed with this line of work. You have to be able to perform the role of an infantrymen as well as do your own job. You do pack some extra weight in regards to carrying explosives etc but it's really not all that bad.

Breaching/demolitions is definitely the sexy side of the job. You get trained on how to do all sorts of things with explosives. If you want to throw a door into a room with a certain charge, you can. The demolitions side is fun because you deal with larger amounts of demo and you just make some really big booms. I personally am more fond of the breaching side, because you're up close and personal with the charge and everything is a lot more fast paced. If there's anything more you'd like to know about this let me know and I'll do my best to answer your questions.

Everything you need to know will be taught to you. In the U.S. the requirements for being assigned this job were a high ASVAB score (I forget what the score was), 2nd class swim qual, and no color blindness. I can't speak for Canada, but in the U.S. it didn't help if you'd had a chemistry class at all. Demolitions is more about your knowledge of engineering than it is about chemistry. You have to know how much explosives you are going to need to take down a structure, and where the most effective placement of those charges will be. The same goes with breaching. You need to know how large your charge is and what the correct standoff distance will be so you don't get yourself or others around you injured. You'll need to be pretty decent at math in order to do things quickly and more effectively.

Again, if you have anymore questions let me know and I'll clarify/answer anything I can.
Great post fox1371! From my perspective, I think the job is very similar and what you said is very relative.

As well on the Canadian side, our Combat Engineers have the ability to go to Combat Dive School and become Combat Divers. Underwater Demo, Construction, Infiltration, Search, etc.
Great post fox1371! From my perspective, I think the job is very similar and what you said is very relative.

As well on the Canadian side, our Combat Engineers have the ability to go to Combat Dive School and become Combat Divers. Underwater Demo, Construction, Infiltration, Search, etc.
I take it there is no Canadian Sapper school?
I take it there is no Canadian Sapper school?

Yes there is a Sapper School, Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering but Dive Training can be done "in house" at which ever Regiment they are posted to.

Here's the low down on the trade from the recruiting site.

Your job is to ensure that friendly troops can live, move and fight on the battlefield, and deny the same abilities to enemy troops.

Pay Scale

What They Do
Combat Engineers are members of the Military Engineer branch of the Canadian Forces. Their job is to ensure that friendly troops can live, move and fight on the battlefield, and deny the same abilities to enemy troops. They also perform duties in aid of the civil power and civil authority; participate in peace-support operations; perform construction and maintenance tasks in support of the CF and other government organizations; drive and operate vehicles and equipment in support of Engineer Operations; and maintain field installations and facilities.
Combat Engineers have the following primary duties:
  • Construct and maintain roads, airfields, heliports, bridges, causeways, rafts, permanent and temporary buildings;
  • Construct field defences and obstacles;
  • Provide drinking water by testing, purifying and filtering local supplies and by constructing local distribution systems;
  • Detect and dispose of mines, booby traps and bulk explosives;
  • Deny mobility to the enemy on the battlefield by demolishing roads and bridges, and laying minefields and booby traps;
  • Maintain and operate engineering equipment, including weapons, vehicles, heavy equipment and supplies;
  • Provide engineer communications on the battlefield; and
  • When necessary, fight as infantry (includes use of personal weapons, reconnaissance and section-level tactics).
Qualification Requirements
Combat Engineers should enjoy outdoor work, be physically fit and mechanically and technically oriented, and be resourceful, innovative and self-reliant in nature. They should also be good learners with good hand-eye co-ordination and manual dexterity. Above-average mathematical ability is required for promotion to the higher ranks.

Career Development
Career advancement requires development of both skills and knowledge and the fields of leadership and combat engineering. Opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training are good for qualified Combat Engineers.

Initial Employment
On successful completion of Basic MOC Training, Combat Engineers can expect to be posted to one of the following units:
  • 1 Combat Engineer Regiment (1 CER) in Edmonton, Alberta;
  • 2 Combat Engineer Regiment (2 CER) in Petawawa, Ontario;
  • 4 Engineer Support Regiment (4 ESR) in Gagetown, New Brunswick; or
  • 5e Régiment du génie de combat (5 RGC) in Valcartier, Quebec.
Specialty Training
As their careers progress, Combat Engineers who demonstrate the required ability and ambition will be offered (through formal courses or on-job training) advanced MOC training such as the following:
  • Radio Communications – Field Operations
  • Carpenter – Field operations
  • Electrician – Field operations
  • Plumber – Field operations
  • Water Supply – Advanced
  • Power Boat Operator
  • Heavy Equipment Operator
The following specialty training courses may also be available:
  • Combat Diver
  • Soils Analyst
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal
  • Instructional Techniques
Working Environment
Both in training and on operations, Combat Engineers normally work outdoors, where they may be exposed to extreme environmental conditions for extended periods, by day and by night, without rest or shelter. Working conditions often include risk of bodily injury and exposure to noise, vibration, dust and fumes. Considerable physical and mental exertion is required of them, especially when working in difficult conditions with explosive ordnance, or with limited time to complete an assignment. Appropriate training, environmental clothing and equipment are provided, and Combat Engineers’ health, safety and morale are closely monitored.

Related Civilian Occupations
  • Highway Construction Foreman
  • Blaster (Construction)
  • Heavy Equipment Operator
  • Carpenter (Rough)
  • Construction Engineering Technician
  • Construction Millwright
  • Civil Engineering Technician
Basic Military Qualification

The first stage of training for everyone is the 13-week Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) course at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. It is also physically demanding. A primary goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits attain the CF physical fitness standard. BMQ covers the following topics:
  • policies and regulations of the Canadian Forces;
  • CF drill, dress and deportment (the “three Ds”);
  • basic safety;
  • first aid;
  • personal survival in nuclear, biological and chemical conditions;
  • handling and firing personal weapons;
  • cross-country navigation; and
  • personal survival in field conditions.
Soldier Qualification

On successful completion of BMQ,Combat Engineers go to a MilitaryTraining Centre for the Soldier Qualification (SQ) course, which lasts 20 training days and covers the following topics:
  • Army physical fitness;
  • dismounted offensive and defensive operations;
  • reconnaissance patrolling;
  • advanced weapons-handling (working with grenades, machine-guns and anti-tank weapons); and
  • individual field-craft.
Basic Military Occupational Training

On completion of SQ, Combat Engineers go to the Canadian Forces School of Administration and Logistics at CFB Borden, Ontario for two weeks of driver training. On successful completion of driver training, Combat Engineers go to the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering at Gagetown, New Brunswick for Basic Military Occupational (MOC) Training, which takes about 20 weeks. It covers the following material:
  • Construction of field defences and obstacles;
  • Construction of roads, airfields and helicopter landing sites;
  • Construction of rafts and bridges
  • Operation and maintenance of water points;
  • Radio communications for combat arms operations;
  • Mathematics, military writing, basic military organization, and military history;
  • Personal camouflage and camouflage of section positions;
  • Operation of troop weapons and section defensive tasks and procedures;
  • Basic procedures of rigging and firing of explosive charges, minelaying and booby-trapping; and
  • Use and care of section tools and safety equipment.
So I just dropped by the Recruiting office and they took my application. I hope that my experience is enough.. It's tough to put down the best/strongest assets of yourself in that tiny little box and it's unnerving to not know what/who your competition is... (Say Wolfman, what have you done..... ;) j/k) Combat Engineer is (or at least was..) open.

Not to jack your thread, so I'm going to end with, one 25m target down, on to the next one.(hopefully)
I always thought Combat Engineer was a good job with great skills learned. The explosives are particularly sexy.
However I watched Combat Engineers build a Baileys bridge for 12 hours and thought fuck that lol
I always thought Combat Engineer was a good job with great skills learned. The explosives are particularly sexy.
However I watched Combat Engineers build a Baileys bridge for 12 hours and thought fuck that lol
Yes, bridging royally sucks. I only did it at the school house and a few times for training, however from my limited experience I will say that I hated it. Some of the pieces weigh in excess of 600lbs. When you're moving about 100 of those, you tend to hate your life haha.