CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
An M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank can be driven just about anywhere its crew wants to go, but a deep or wide body of water might be enough of an obstacle to stop it in its tracks.
Combat engineers with Improvised Ribbon Bridge Platoon, Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, provided transportation to tanks June 4. The engineers floated the tanks from Weil Point training area aboard Camp Lejeune to Marine Corps Air Station New River – a crossing distance of more than a mile.
IRB platoon transported Alpha Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division across the New River for their semi-annual qualification at SR-10 range, the only range sanctioned for the use of the tanks’ 120 mm cannons. The engineers used platform bridge pieces to transport the tanks across the river.
“Each platform is made of three units, which are 20 feet long and weigh 14,000 pounds,” explained 1st Lt. Robert Zorgensen, IRB platoon commander and the crossing side commander at the training area. “The units are capable of carrying up to 70 tons, the weight of an M1 Abrams, the heaviest piece of ground equipment the Marine Corps has.”
The rafts consisted of three bridge units with two ramps on each end and were pulled by bridge erection boats.
“Regardless of how many units we can put together, the weight limits will always be the same,” said Zorgensen. “These rafts are easy to assemble, and it only takes one hour for each one [to be put together].”
The purpose of the exercise was to train the Marines through scenarios that also adequately test their equipment.
“This is the only active duty bridge company, and we are required to be mission-ready at all times,” said Staff Sgt. David A. Marunowski, IRB platoon staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “The logistics required to put a raft together and to safely transport such a piece of equipment across a river this big are great.”
This was not the first time Bridge Co. had worked with 2nd Tank Bn.; similar training takes place at least once each year at the beginning of summer.