View Full Version : Bridge Company keeps units connected

06-29-05, 07:56 AM
Bridge Company keeps units connected
Submitted by: 2nd Force Service Support Group
Story Identification #: 200562492944
Story by Pfc. Wayne Edmiston

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (June 25, 2005) -- Witnessing an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank float is something that may seem to many as impossible, especially when it weighs more than 68 tons.

Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Force Service Support Group, makes the impossible possible, the Marines can make the largest mechanical “monsters” cross any body of water. All any unit has to do is request their services.

“We are the only active duty Bridge Co. in the Marine Corps,” said Sgt. Jerry B. Griffin, a company raft commander. “When any unit needs to cross a body of water, we will be there.”

The company has numerous ways to get units, equipment and vehicles across bodies of water, said Griffin, an Ashland, Ala., native.

“Ideally in combat we [transport] tanks, but our rafts, which are comprised of multiple bridge pieces attached to two Marine Corps watercrafts, can also hold 15 personnel with a full combat load,” Griffin remarked.

Bridge Co. is also able to construct and build temporary floating bridges that connect large land masses together, said Griffin.

“While I was in Iraq, we built bridges across the Tigris [River],which have been there for almost two years,” Griffin remarked. “Now [the bridges] are used for civilian and military traffic.”

Bridge Company’s services are not only tactical, but they also prove to be practical for the units they serve, such as Delta Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, which is the most recent client.

“Today we saved [2d Tanks] a lot of time and money by moving their tanks on the rafts,” said Lance Cpl. Justin L. Lester, a combat engineer with Bridge Co. “This keeps them from driving them around the entire base to get them where they need to be.”

Reliability is something the Marines of Bridge Co. try to provide units they serve, the Houston native explained.

“The units know they can rely on us to get them where they need to go on time,” Lester said.

Another reason Bridge Co. is unique every Marine is trained while actually performing the job, Griffin said.

“These Marines don’t learn about rafting in [combat engineer school],” said Griffin. “This is something that has to be taught to them when they get to the company.”

With new Marines coming in and out of the company keeping the Marines trained has the highest importance, Griffin said.

“This training is a good way to get a feel for each other,” said Griffin. “It helps us to teach Marines this new skill before we deploy.”

Even though learning the job while working may seem strenuous and different compared to normal Marine Corps standards, the Marines of Bridge Co. still enjoy getting to do something different from the rest of their comrades

“It’s great to just get out on the water,” said Alvarez, a Kansas City native. “Doing it so many times, it’s not even like work anymore.”

So every job that Bridge Co. is assigned is one they can write down in the books as another day of training.