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Marines with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group put the finishing touches on an improved ribbon bridge Feb. 6, 2012, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C. The IRB was used to transport vehicles from one side of the waterway to the other. This event was part of exercise Bold Alligator 2012, an exercise that tested the Marine Corps’ amphibious readiness. (Photo by Sgt. Rachael K. A. Moore)

Photo by Sgt. Rachael K. A. Moore

Bridge Co. critical to amphibious assault

7 Feb 2012 | Sgt. Rachael K. A. Moore

The Marine Corps has been America’s expeditionary force in readiness since 1775, but with the wars raging so far inland for the past decade the Corps’ amphibious war fighting capabilities weren’t utilized or highlighted often.

Marine Corps Forces Command and United States Fleet Forces teamed up for a multinational amphibious exercise known as Bold Alligator 2012, which will test those tactics and skills the Corps’ is known for.

During one part of the exercise aboard Camp Lejeune, 18 Amphibious Assault Vehicles stormed the shores of Onslow Beach Feb. 6. In addition, multiple landing craft air cushions transported light armored vehicles to the beaches.

The vehicles had to cross a water way once they made land fall. Marines with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group were responsible for getting the vehicles across the water.

“This was really big for us to cross 220 meters of continuous span where we’re closing the gap from one shore to the next,” explained Chief Warrant Officer 2 Griffith Ruskin, a Spartanburg, S.C., native, and the improved ribbon bridge platoon commander. “We raft vehicles all of the time, so we decided to set up an improved ribbon bridge.”

If the Marines would have elected to ferry the vehicles across, it would have slowed the process down because the raft can only carry one or two vehicles at a time.

“We came in and set up the IRB pretty quick,” said Cpl. Eric Maynard, originally from Granite Falls, N.C., and a combat engineer with 8th ESB. “It’s a lot easier than trying to ferry them across. With the IRB, it’s continuous traffic.”

The improved ribbon bridge took approximately a day and a half to set up.

“This is expeditionary,” explained Ruskin. “The IRB can be taken apart and transported elsewhere just as quickly as we put it down.”

The IRB is rather new to the Marine Corps, as it has only been around for about five years.

“This was outside of the box for them,” said Ruskin. “The majority of my Marines haven’t done this, haven’t seen this, and haven’t touched this, to include myself.”

Maynard, who has worked with the IRB for almost three years, was the bridge commander during the exercise.

“Overall, the Marines did really well, I’m proud of them,” said Maynard. “I really wanted to stress how important safety is during set up and use. We’ve got a lot of moving parts, got a lot of tight cables, anything could go wrong at anytime. You really have to watch out for the guy next to you. They did well.”

The combination of expeditionary bridging assets and skills of the Marines with Bridge Co. allowed the vehicles to cross the water way and continue on with the mission inland.


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