MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
The morning was brisk aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, and the ocean’s tide was high on the coast, setting the space for Marines from Bridge Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group.
Combat Engineers with 7th ESB hosted and trained in tandem with Marines from 6th ESB out of Battle Creek, Michigan, Dec. 11-13 to conduct rafting operations in order to simulate shore-to-shore logistical capabilities.
Through the use of Mark III Improved Ribbon Bridges, Marines from both battalions trained in surface mobility by constructing rafting capabilities for tactical vehicles over non-passable waterways.
The 2nd Platoon commander with Bridge Company, 1st Lieutenant Thomas Benge, said that the exercise’s goal was to train newer Marines in the battalion and offer sustainment training with the Marines from 6th ESB.
“We’ve had quite a bit of turnover with personnel within the past few months so it’s become imperative that we make the junior Marines proficient in the basics of the job when it comes to rafting operations,”
Benge said. “Second platoon has the base of experience for the IRBs but we try and use our time wisely since we’re also training the guys from 6th ESB.”
Over the course of the three-day training period, 2nd Plt. ran the 6th ESB Marines through every aspect of conducting successful rafting operations: Pre-safety inspections of all equipment and vehicles, movement of water craft to a staging area, final inspections before launching, and movement of personnel to the raft and boats on the water.
Following such extensive preparation, 2nd Plt. began shore-to-shore construction and practical application using the IRBs.
“In order to keep furthering our training and getting our Marines better, we make it a point to push ourselves and push our equipment,” said Sgt. Chris Piette, a squad leader with 2nd Plt. “We do this so that we know what our capabilities are and the areas that we need to improve on.”
Benge also said that their main effort is to supply logistical combat power through the battlefield in both aquatic and land-based areas of operation.
“The success of these kind of movements create smoother capability within the confines of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.”
Bridge Company’s continuous training enables them to be more technically proficient and better prepared to provide logistical support for future maritime operations.