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New Bridge Erection Boats provide more power and maneuverability to US Army Reserve Engineers

By Capt. Sara Morris | 102nd Training Division | May 10, 2018

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — “We’ll take this training back to the students, and facilitate their ability to operate the new machinery when they go out to their units,’ said Sgt. 1st Class John Reyes, combat section instructor with 1st Engineer Brigade, 102d Training Division.

The Bridge Erection Boat supports tactical float bridge and rafting operations of the Multi Role Bridge Company.

“With the new program of instruction that we are trying to field in the next couple months, we really can’t get started on that, until we get trained on these boats and then train the incoming students,” said Reyes.

The primary differences between the MKII Bridge Erection Boats and the M30 model are maneuverability, the main control system and total maximum personnel capacity, which is reduced from 15 to six. The M30 is fully capable with a crew of two personnel, and a max speed of 24 knots, or around 28 mph.

Sgt. 1st Class Colby Peterson enjoyed the instruction on the new equipment. Peterson said, “It’s a great refit for the boat with the M30. The training we’ve received here has helped me out as an instructor but also will help out our future students here.”
Birdon America has provided a week long operator new equipment training course to members of the 102d Training Division’s 12C, bridge crewman, course instructors and their Active Duty counterparts. Dan Wassum, Engineer Supervisor for Birdon America led the training.

“The best thing about the new boats is that they are safer, have more power and are user friendly. With the ease of operation, and the new controls, you can spin and maneuver the bay sections with ease, which increases the capability of bridge assembly,” said Wassum.

The ease of operation also enhances the instructor’s ability to teach new trainees on the equipment. “We’re going to be able to teach our soldiers how to operate the proper way, how to do the preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS) and troubleshooting which will make us better instructors,’ said Sgt 1st Class Richard Rainey, 12C instructor.

The new ease of operation and capabilities of the M30 Bridge Erection Boats look to increase the operational speed of Multi Role Bridge Companies. The training provided to the instructors during this week long course only benefits the readiness of the nation’s Army Reserve.