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Marines attached to 2nd Marine Logistics Group’s 8th Engineer Support Battalion and Folsom, Pa.-based Bridge Company Bravo, 6th ESB navigate a seven-bay raft across an approximate 2.4-mile expanse of the New River adjacent to Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 17, 2012. The training is part of the 6th ESB Marines’ pre-mobilization training and they are scheduled to attach to the 2nd MLG’s Combat Logistics Battalion 2 once activated later this year. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin J. Shemanski)

Photo by Sgt. Justin J. Shemanski

8th Engineer Support Battalion mentors reservists during raft operations

18 Apr 2012 | Sgt. Justin J. Shemanski

A portion of the New River adjacent to Camp Lejeune was home to an afternoon of raft operations hosted by the Marines of 8th Engineer Support Battalion’s Bridge Company, April 17.

Several Marine Corps reservists attached to Folsom, Pa.-based Bridge Company Bravo, 6th ESB partnered with their active-duty counterparts as part of their pre-mobilization training.

The unit is scheduled to activate and attach to Combat Logistics Battalion 2 later this year for a deployment to Afghanistan. Any hands-on training they receive before then is invaluable.

“… We are helping facilitate that when it comes to bridging,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Griffith Ruskin, a Spartanburg, S.C. native and Bridge Platoon commander. “They have one day with us and they are shadowing us to see how we do rafting ops.”

This particular operation included the assembly, embarkation and operation of a seven-bay raft across an approximate 2.4-mile span of water, or “wet gap,” as the Marines referred to it, between Weils Point and Rhodes Point training areas.

Depending on the mission, rafting is an extremely efficient means of transporting cargo and personnel across large expanses of water vice the alternative of a more time-consuming and labor-intensive bridge build.

The raft itself is made of seven sections of actual Ribbon Bridge components - two ramps and five interior floating compartments - and is guided by two MK III Bridge Erection Boats.

2nd Lt. Azriel Peskowitz, a Queens, N.Y. native and platoon commander with Bridge Co. Bravo, noted the training evolution provided a couple of his newly-licensed boat operators with valuable “stick time,” while one of his noncommissioned officers gained experience as a raft commander.

“Any [military occupational specialty] training is a good thing and we’ll work to get any time we can,” he said.

Peskowitz noted the training was just one part of a week of scheduled unit projects, which also include carpentry and construction activity.

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