FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
The 299th Multi-Role Bridge Company (MRBC), under the 411th Engineer Brigade, assembled a wet gap bridge for a Brazilian engineer chief and his entourage on 18 November here to demonstrate U.S. Army Engineer capability and versatility.
Gen. Julio Cesar de Arruda, the Brazilian Head of the Department of Engineering and Construction, contently observed multiple presentations of U.S. Army engineering equipment then stated how much the day’s activities surpassed his hopes.
“We were very pleased with the visit,” said Arruda. “It exceeded all my expectations.”
Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, the 55th Chief of Engineers and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Commander, accompanied Arruda throughout the trip. He acknowledged the U.S. shared Brazil’s goals for improved infrastructure military and gear.
“The U.S. Army seeks engineering solutions for our nation’s toughest challenges,” said Spellmon. The 229th provided the final display in the form of a five-float bridge.
Capt. Nicholas McCahill, 299th MRBC Commander, planned and managed the construction with little notice and a few preparation mishaps. Rising above the issues, the unit determinedly showed the bridge’s assembly with the audience none the wiser.
“With all equipment operational and (proper) rehearsals,” said McCahill. “(A trained unit) should be able to build a five-float raft in 15 minutes or less.”
First Lt. Coty Schappert, 299th MRBC 2nd Platoon Leader, concurred with the unit’s accomplishment to overcome shortfalls and perform amicably in front of heavy numbers of brass.
“(We were) able to successfully demonstrate and complete a five-float bridge for the delegation,” said Schappert.
He especially applauded the efforts of his Soldiers in making the event possible.
“With over 10 years of experience working together, the team’s senior (noncommissioned officers) contribute their training, knowledge, and experience to the mission. The teamwork and ethic of the junior enlisted…overcame setbacks and accomplished the mission.”
McCahill stated that the unit would take the win forward as it prepares for future missions. The 299th’s next large mission will be next summer at Fort Drum for Mountain Peak, a multi-component exercise with active duty’s 10th Mountain Division.
Amongst the crowd of other personnel who accompanied the Brazilian general, USACE Military and International Relations Deputy Commander Jeffrey Milhorn, USACE Mississippi Valley Division Commander Maj. Gen. Diana Holland, and USACE South Atlantic Division Commander Brig. Gen. Jason Kelly enjoyed the event.