Camp Lejeune --
Marines with Improved Ribbon Bridge platoon, Bridge Company,
8th Engineer Support Battalion conducted river crossing exercises in which they
transported M1A1 Abrams tanks across New River aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C.,
Over a span of eight trips, the Marines successfully
transported 16 tanks from 2nd Tank Battalion from Rhodes Point to Wells Point.
“Our raft we have setup right now can transport two tanks at
a time across the river,” said Cpl. Chad Burnett, a combat engineer with 8th
The raft is comprised of five interior bays and two ramps on
each end. There are two boats anchored to each side in order to steer the raft
in a designated direction. The raft is capable of being made as long as
possible by attaching more bays and may also serve as a bridge if anchored on
either side of the waterway.
“It takes about two hours on average to set up the raft,” said
Cpl. Joshua Hutton, raft commander for Bridge Company, “We’re capable of deploying
our services anytime mobility over a waterway is needed.”
The Marines conduct the training approximately two to three
times per month or whenever 2nd Tank Battalion needs to get from one point
along the river to another.
“We’re saving the Marine Corps thousands of dollars by
transporting the tanks across the river,” said Burnett, a Columbus, Ohio
native, “It would cost them a lot more money and gas if the tanks were required
to go around and use the trails.”
Marines with 2nd Tank Bn. had previously finished a training
exercise and relied on Bridge Company to get them back to where they needed to
go. In a matter of hours, the raft was up and running, getting the tanks safely
to their destination.
“The skillset behind training is extremely perishable,” said
Burnett, “but we do it so often that it has become normal for us.”