MOUNDSVILLE, Ohio –
An Army Reserve engineer and military police unit spent a cold weekend on the shores of the Ohio River during their November battle assembly. The 459th Engineer Company, a multi-role bridge unit, built a bridge allowing Soldiers from the 363rd Military Police Company and the 336th Military Police Battalion to cross from the West Virginia side of the water to the Ohio side.
Soldiers from both engineer and military police units played a critical part of the exercise as the engineers were able to construct seven Improved Ribbon Bridges into one floating vessel, allowing up to two vehicles to cross. At the same time, the military police pulled security during the operation.
This training prepared the units for their wet-gap crossing training, scheduled for later in the summer at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, and Fort Drum, New York.
“For our annual training, we are going up to Fort Drum to assist the 10th Mountain Division for their gap crossing training,” said 1st Lt. Louis Hatcher, commander of the 459th. “So, this is like a dry run of a tough, realistic training that mimics our environment as closely as possible.”
This is the first time Soldiers from the 363rd have trained with the engineer unit, as they have only practiced such an operation utilizing tape laid in a field simulating a river.
“We are trying to have good training that is exciting for the soldiers, and it is good to see them working with the engineers,” said 1st Lt. Brett Lancaster, commander of the 363rd Military Police Company. “It really brought the reality of some of these training aspects that we have been working on as well.”
The operation started early in the morning as the 459th placed five MK2 Bridge Erection Boats into the river. The engineer unit then placed the Improved Ribbon Bridge as the engineers placed the pieces of the bridge together with the help of the boats. Once the pieces of the bridge are constructed into one floating piece, the boats can navigate the bridge along with the vehicles and Soldiers from one side to another. At the same time the military police units were able to pull security on all sides of the operation.
Once the vehicles cross, units are able to continue on with their mission.
“I am very excited to finally get a more realistic, tough training for our guys to be able to learn how to interact with another command,” added Hatcher.