Magazine article Army Reserve Magazine

Engineers: Bridging the Gap across Land or Water

Magazine article Army Reserve Magazine

Engineers: Bridging the Gap across Land or Water

Article excerpt

Sgt. 1st Class Edwin Stanislawski stood on the bank of the Arkansas River looking across more than 1,000 feet of water surface. Even in the dim early morning light he could see people moving around on the opposite shore.

About an hour later he was able to walk across a bridge and shake the hands of the people on the other bank. The simple act was Stanislawski"s acknowledgement that months of hard work by many people

had paid off with a successful completion of BRIDGEX 00.

The multi-component training event was held in July at Fort Chaffee, Ark. A total of 15 units II Army Reserve, two active Army and two National Guard combined forces to put a floating bridge across the murky water. The standard for such a mission is four hours. The BRIDGEX crew did it in about a quarter of the allotted time.

The portion of the Arkansas River that runs through Fort Chaffee proved an ideal site for one of the most intensive mobile bridge training exercises in recent years.

Nearly one thousand troops participated in the river crossing exercise. Fort Chaffee offers one of the best training areas for float bridge erection exercises, partly because the Corps of Engineers can control the locks on the river and can regulate the river level and monitor the civilian traffic for this type of exercise.

Members of the joint exercise prepared under the cloak of early morning darkness for the mock battle scenario. Soon after, the boats were launched. Five-- ton transport trucks brought the bridge bays, or floating bridge sections, to the water's edge. Some bays were ferried by barges to the pre-plotted positions. At the same time, one by one, 10 of the bays were brought to the river site by CH-47 helicopters.

"This is a Class 70 bridge, which means that it can withhold any vehicle that weighs Lip to 70 tons. And that's pretty much the maximum for any military vehicle we have," said Sgt. …

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