Thought I would throw my :2c: in here since I have gone to the school. It was 20 years ago (Nov-Dec '87) but the school still produces better Soldiers. The SLC began in 1985 and two of it's strong supporters (back then) were LTC's Flowers and Strock. Both were Ranger tabbed and one was S.F. They both made it to the rank of LTG. I served under both of them in Division and they were outstanding examples of Leaders.
Some hard earned recognition for Combat Engineers is long overdue. All one has to do is a little research and see what accomplishments they have made but they are always overshadowed. Most C.E.'s have accepted this and it is the reason why we enjoy singing our Engineer song over and over! It pisses people off!
The word Sapper is French for Sap or one who Saps or destroys others fortifications. That is still our primary mission but, todays battlefield is changing.
Here is how we primarily operated when I was in Division. One Squad of Engineers were attached to an Infantry Company. In my Squad I had 8 men. SL, RTO, and 2 fire teams of 3 C.E.'s.One fire team had a 90mm recoiless and the other had an M-60 and the TL's both carried 203's. We typically made a Jump at 0-dark thirty and moved to our objective with out Infantry Company. If there was an obstacle to be breached, we would exchange our crew served weapons with someone in the support by fire element and lead the assault team thru the breach. If there was no obstacle, we were attached to the support by fire element. When the Infantry element (BN size) went into a defense, we often reorganised as a Platoon and our PL laid out a plan to strengthen the defense. Then we were often let loose and roamed thru the BN area setting in obstacles. Minefields, wire etc. All the while, everyone else was digging in. Then when we finished, we would go take our place on the lines of our Infantry Companies and dig in. We were often placed at the most likely avenue of approach because we had the 90mm. When in garrison, our days were typical. PT in the morning with long runs, motor stables, weapons maintenance, battle drills etc.
The SLC currently has a 53% washout rate for those that think the washout rate is a measure of the school. Although it is only 30 days long, it is FAST paced and intense. Believe me, everyday is physically demanding! There is a 6 week train up that is HIGHLY recommended before you go to the course. The 2 areas that fail most students are the physical tarining and the land nav course.
Now i'll try to address a few of the comments on this thread.
1. Females: I too cringed when they started allowing females in the course. To this day though, many have tried and only five have passed. My thoughts are: In todays "BIG ARMY", females are getting closer and closer to the battlefield. Why not at least give them some additional traing that will boost their confidence and make them better Soldiers.
2. BAC is not harder than the SLC. Nuff said on that.
3. Sappers Lead the Way. I don't agree with that battle cry but, there are times when they do!
4. Wannabes: We arent wanna-be anythings. We are asked to missions as C.E.'s and to reorganize and fight as Infantry if need be. We try to stay on top of both aspects with equal attention. This is why we are organized similar to the Infantry into Fire Teams, Squads, Platoons, Companies etc. In the event that we do fight as Infantry, we just drop our Engineer kits and grab more ammo.
The biggest downfall is that we have no organic fire support. As far as Ranger wanna-be's. The instructors at the SLC have to be Ranger and Sapper qual'd to be instructors. I think it is nothing more than the instructors putting their Ranger standards on everything. Personally, i don't see anything wrong with it. I have seen unit motto's with the Ranger tab above the unit patch. So, if it nothing more than the standards we are taking, that should be a compliment. Plus, there is some history between Combat Engineers and Rangers.
5. 28 day course. Believe me, the course could be longer given the material you are expected to learn in the short time but, the funding just isn't there.
6. Plagiarism. That is loud word to use, and I don't think it has merit. (refer to #4). In addition, what self respecting E-5 or E-6 Squad Leader who just graduated Ranger school doesn't come back to his unit and try to make every one of his squad members just like him? Is he plagiarising?
Lastly, my comments are not intended to start a war. I'd be more than happy to discuss anything about the course and take the lumps if need be. But if we resort to the: my "JOHNSON is bigger than your JOHNSON" i'll have to whip out my JOHNSON cause I got a big-un!
In addition, the following link is to the bio of the current Company Commander. The course truly does try to produce better Soldiers with some extra skill sets.