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USMA Class of 2021 Couple Earns Back-to-back Sapper School Leadership Awards

Category: Grad News
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Rachel Kicklighter ’21 To Compete in Best Sapper Competition Alongside West Point Classmate West ’21

Just a few years into their marriage and their Army careers, 1st Lieutenants Rachel and Samuel Kicklighter ’21 have completed some of the Army’s toughest challenges, including Airborne, Air Assault and Ranger schools.

Being Army Engineer officers — Samuel, originally from Brevard, North Carolina, is stationed with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment’s Regimental Engineer Squadron, and Rachel, from Tucson, Arizona, is with the 15th Engineer Battalion, both units at U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria, in Grafenwöhr, Germany — they next decided to add the Sapper Leader Course to their list of accomplishments. When class 05-24 graduated earlier this year, Rachel was the Distinguished Leadership Award recipient, and when class 06-24 graduated a few weeks later, Samuel received the Distinguished Leadership Award.

With the 17th LTG Robert B. Flowers Best Sapper Competition set to kick off on April 19, Rachel is hoping to add another title to the list of Kicklighter accomplishments — she will return to Fort Leonard Wood from Germany to represent her unit in the competition alongside one of her West Point classmates, 1LT Lexi West ’21. The Best Sapper Competition challenges and tests service members’ knowledge, physical prowess and mental fortitude over the course of three days, and Rachel said she and her teammate are “excited to compete.”

“Our mutual interest in participating in this event started over a year ago, and the timing this year was ideal, as we both finished our platoon leader time and had the ability to focus on preparing for the competition,” Rachel said. “I admire Lexi for her exceptional physical fitness, discipline and resilience, qualities that I believe are essential for success in the train up and during the competition.”

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