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iSoldier looks at disaster aid, Army's best sappers

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (May 01, 2015) -- Earthquake response in Nepal, riot control in Baltimore, and top-of-the-line Soldiers giving their all at the 2015 Best Sapper Competition are all highlighted in the May 1 edition of iSoldier.

The two-minute iSoldier program is a weekly, Internet-based newscast produced by Army Broadcasting at Defense Media Activity.

This edition of iSoldier kicks off in Baltimore, Maryland. There, some 2,000 members of the state's National Guard responded to the call of their governor to help the Maryland State Police and Baltimore City Police bring peace to the city.

The adjutant general of Maryland, Lt. Gen. Linda Singh, tells iSoldier that in Baltimore, the Guard is taking operational cues from the state and city police.

Singh was highlighted in the March 21 edition of iSoldier as being the first African-American and first woman to serve as adjutant general of the Maryland National Guard.

The latest iSoldier also touches on the most recent humanitarian and natural disaster in Asia. A magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, April 25. At the time, 28 Green Berets were in the country conducting training. Those Soldiers have not left Nepal in the wake of the disaster there - instead, they have stayed behind to participate in relief operations

Finally, iSoldier highlights the cream of the crop among the Army's elite combat engineers, who competed for the title of 2015 Best Sapper on Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, April 21-23.

Army broadcaster Sgt. 1st Class Brian G. Rhodes was on scene at the Best Sapper competition to document the event for iSoldier. He said he was blown away by the intensity of the event.

"I didn't know much about the competition at all before I went, and I kind of envisioned they would do a few events, then call it a day and calculate scores," Rhodes said. "But these guys would finish an event at 1 a.m. - take an hour and a half for coffee or a nap - then go on a 20-mile ruck march at 3 a.m. This was consistent throughout the competition."

Rhodes said he came away from the Best Sapper competition with still images, video clips, interviews, and a greater respect for what it is Army combat engineers do.

"I can't even imagine trying to do what they do. These guys are a step above, if not two. I have a lot of respect for these guys," Rhodes said.