Combat Dive and Sapper school Questions

bt18

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
271
Hey everybody,

I was looking through the USMA website and I couldn’t find any further information on combat dive school or sapper school for cadets choosing to take them as a military individual advanced development school, so I have a few questions:

How competitive are the schools to get selected to go?

How many cadets are chosen to go each year (I heard somewhere sapper only takes 30, but I don’t know how accurate it is)?

How is it taking these schools as a cadet as opposed to being an officer?

Are there any special requirements cadets must meet to be selected to take these schools?

Can cadets do both throughout their West Point career?

How many schools can cadets take throughout their West Point career?
 

prospective2019

USMA 2023
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
488
1. These schools are extremely competitive to get selected to. I don't know anyone who isn't in the top 10% of the class who has gone. Many host a tryout but many are chosen by one woman in charge of all summer training and it is largely luck.

2. Sapper ~10 with alternates, CDQC probably about the same. I've only known of two cadets to get their Sapper tabs while here (mind you I'm a yearling) and one to actually get the CDQC badge.

3. I can't really answer that, but in general it is a weird dynamic to go to schools (ABN, AASLT not at USMA, etc) where the majority of trainees are enlisted/officer.

4. Both require a tough train-up and previously required a tryout (though see #1--one woman dictates most of it now, not those who run the tryouts).

5. I suppose. But it would be tough to fit in. You have to do ABN or AASLT prior to doing an advanced MIAD, so your summers would be jam-packed.

6. You must have one AIAD or MIAD to graduate. Usually cadets will do one of each. Anything above that is fairly extraordinary. I would not come here expecting to do both Sapper and CDQC.
 

JDCUBE

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Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
23
For what it is worth, I went through Airborne as a 2LT with a number of cadets at the school. It did not appear as if attending as a cadet made any substantial difference. Frankly, the black hats were rough on everyone.
 

bt18

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
271
For what it is worth, I went through Airborne as a 2LT with a number of cadets at the school. It did not appear as if attending as a cadet made any substantial difference. Frankly, the black hats were rough on everyone.
That’s interesting and relieving to hear. I’ve heard a lot of the time cadets get it extra rough.
 

bt18

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
271
1. These schools are extremely competitive to get selected to. I don't know anyone who isn't in the top 10% of the class who has gone. Many host a tryout but many are chosen by one woman in charge of all summer training and it is largely luck.

2. Sapper ~10 with alternates, CDQC probably about the same. I've only known of two cadets to get their Sapper tabs while here (mind you I'm a yearling) and one to actually get the CDQC badge.

3. I can't really answer that, but in general it is a weird dynamic to go to schools (ABN, AASLT not at USMA, etc) where the majority of trainees are enlisted/officer.

4. Both require a tough train-up and previously required a tryout (though see #1--one woman dictates most of it now, not those who run the tryouts).

5. I suppose. But it would be tough to fit in. You have to do ABN or AASLT prior to doing an advanced MIAD, so your summers would be jam-packed.

6. You must have one AIAD or MIAD to graduate. Usually cadets will do one of each. Anything above that is fairly extraordinary. I would not come here expecting to do both Sapper and CDQC.
Really appreciate this info, it’s super insightful. Out of curiosity, who is the woman in charge? Is there anyway to prep specifically for either of these schools while at West Point prior to the try out or the selection process?
 

prospective2019

USMA 2023
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
488
There is a civilian who controls the allocations of all summer assignments to cadets who is notoriously difficult to work with. If you can get on her good side you are much more likely to get what you want. I will not drop her name on a public forum but you'll know once you get here. It is an unfortunate reality of this place, but knowing the right people is always beneficial.

There is a SCUBA team that has a very similar and rigorous tryout phase. They send a lot of kids to CDQC, to my knowledge. The cadet I know that went (c/o 2020) was on the swim team. The "tryout" they do every year will be posted on Mess Hall slides etc and you will be able to find the point of contact when you get here.

Sapper doesn't really have this sort of thing, from what I know. Doing things like Sandhurst will help you prep, but there isn't a tryout. Being very high in class rank (military, physical, academic) is what you need to get there.

If you want to do any of these, you effectively MUST attend Airborne or Air Assault school after your Plebe year. You will have a chance to do so, just talk to your TAC and state your intentions.
 

UHBlackhawk

5-Year Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2015
Messages
1,489
If you are an athlete it may be tough to do anything other than airborne or air assault due to time commitments. I knew football players who never went home for a summer break.
 

bt18

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
271
There is a civilian who controls the allocations of all summer assignments to cadets who is notoriously difficult to work with. If you can get on her good side you are much more likely to get what you want. I will not drop her name on a public forum but you'll know once you get here. It is an unfortunate reality of this place, but knowing the right people is always beneficial.

There is a SCUBA team that has a very similar and rigorous tryout phase. They send a lot of kids to CDQC, to my knowledge. The cadet I know that went (c/o 2020) was on the swim team. The "tryout" they do every year will be posted on Mess Hall slides etc and you will be able to find the point of contact when you get here.

Sapper doesn't really have this sort of thing, from what I know. Doing things like Sandhurst will help you prep, but there isn't a tryout. Being very high in class rank (military, physical, academic) is what you need to get there.

If you want to do any of these, you effectively MUST attend Airborne or Air Assault school after your Plebe year. You will have a chance to do so, just talk to your TAC and state your intentions.
Great info to know prior to arrival thanks @prospective2019.
 
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