Magazine article Army Reserve Magazine

Bridge Connects Nations

Magazine article Army Reserve Magazine

Bridge Connects Nations

Article excerpt

KLAIPEDA, Lithuania - The smell of freshly cut wood surrounds the construction site where U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from a New Hampshire engineer unit and engineers from the Lithuanian Army built a timber trestle bridge near the towns of Rumsai and Lauciai, 40 miles southeast of the Lithuanian city of Klaipeda.

According to SSG John B. Zayhowski, noncommissioned officer in charge of the U.S. troops from the 368th Engineer Battalion headquartered in Londonderry, N.H., the bridge will provide easier access for farmers to reach their fields and will considerably shorten local students walk to school.

"The idea for the bridge came from the Lithuanians at the planning stage of the exercise and the blueprints were also made by Lithuanian engineers," said Zayhowski. Before the bridge was built the locals used a makeshift foot bridge and a ford to cross the river.

"This is something we never get to do in America. In the United States we have all steel and concrete structures. Here we work with wood. In times of war a timber bridge is an easy solution," said Zayhowski.

"The new bridge is almost 11 feet wide, and rests on timber pillars," said CPT Dovidavicius Vaidas, the officer in charge of the Lithuanian troops from the 2nd Engineer Battalion, 2nd Engineer Company of the Lithuanian army. Vaidas went on to say, "Approximately 220 cubic yards of timber was used for the project. An average size truck can drive across it easily."

This humanitarian project is part of the RESCUER/MEDCEUR 2004 Exercise, and fits right into the exercise's motto: "security through Partnership. …

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