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Marine students in the 8th Engineer Support Battalion Bridge Master’s Course lift a bridge bay during a field exercise at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Nov. 4, 2015. The course teaches Marines to lead the bridge building process, and is hosting Marines from 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, based in Camp Hansen, Okinawa. During the exercise, Marines constructed and deconstructed a bridge 11 bays in length. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Paul S. Martinez/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Paul S. Martinez

Week 2: Marines take Bridge Master’s Course to field

4 Nov 2015 | Cpl. Paul S. Martinez II Marine Expeditionary Force

Marines with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, and 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, continued into their second week of the Bridge Master’s Course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Nov. 4.

This week, the Marines left the classroom environment to apply the bridge-building process in the field. It is their responsibility to ensure bridges are properly installed to allow the movement of Marines and equipment over destroyed bridges or rivers.

“This was my first time since our non-commissioned officer’s course that I actually had hands on the bridge,” said Sgt. Anthony Hawkins, a combat engineer with 9th ESB based out of Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan. “As a bridge master, I need to be vocal so that Marines hear, and ensure that no one gets hurt or injured, and are lifting the bridge parts properly.”

Marines converged at Training Landing Zone Dove to apply their bridge-building skills to connect across an approximately 82-foot gap. Left, right, and center crews each played their own part in securing foundation bays and the launching nose, a critical component of the bridge that allows it to balance out as it nears the other side of the gap.

“The purpose of the bridge is to support the movement of troops,” said Sgt. Joshua S. Tisdale, a bridge master instructor with 8th ESB. “This course gives the Marines the capability to build one of these bridges and support operations in combat.”

To properly get the bridge to move across the gap, Marines attached a rig from their end to a seven-ton vehicle, which then pushes the bridge across, until Marines stop it and have room to build again. Once the process is complete and the bridge is ready to be broken down, the seven-ton is again used to pull the entire bridge back.

Marines visiting from 9th ESB felt confident about the course material and the value these skills will impart on their Marines back in Okinawa, Japan.

“We will be able to go back and teach our combat engineers in 9th ESB,” Hawkins said. “And maybe one day we can do our own Bridge Master’s course and certify our Marines.”

The course will next see Marines learning how to attach link reinforcements in Courthouse Bay. The course is slated to continue until Nov. 20.
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