Bridge company, MPs highlight MEB diversity

By Sgt. Taylor Tribble, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Public Affairs

Soldiers from the 2061st Multi-Role Bridge Company, 206th Engineer Battalion launch a MK2 bridge erection boat into the Salt River during a wet gap training exercise at Fort Knox, Ky, May 18, 2019. The unit supported the 438th Military Police Company in a collective training exercise to build a bridge over a wet gap and assault an enemy objective. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Nasir Stoner)

FORT KNOX, Ky. — Soldiers with the 2061st Multi-Role Bridge Company (MRBC) and the 438th Military Police (MP) Company conducted Operation Cutlass, a wet gap crossing operation, during their annual training at Fort Knox, May 17-20.  Their mission was to construct a bridge and cross the Salt River while suppressing enemy forces.

“We get to do this about twice a year,” said Sgt. 1st Class David Fox, a platoon sergeant with the 2061st. “For the bridge we are laying, the standard for completion is 30 minutes.”

The bridge is comprised of many different pieces and each dropped into the water from a launch point, also called a slip.  First, the MK2 bridge erection boats are launched so they can catch and maneuver each piece of the bridge.  Then they drop the bridge pieces and move them into place.  Once moved, the build crew attaches the two pieces together, eventually forming a bridge.

“It’s really an adventure,” said Sgt. Raekwon Berry, Boat Commander for the 2061st.  “My role is to catch the raft pieces, move them around in the water and hand them off to the build crew.”

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While the MRBC moved the bridge pieces, the MPs provided an essential task as well.  Their mission, while operating several High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) and two Armored Security Vehicles (ASV), was to protect the engineers and assault the enemy objective across the river.

“During the mission, we provide convoy and site security for the engineers,” said Spc. Alex Whitworth, truck commander for the 438th. “It gives them the security they needed to complete their mission. It was something I’ve never really seen before and I definitely enjoyed it.”

This bridge took a total of eight inner bays and two ramps to successfully cross the Salt River.  Once the bridge was complete and tested, Soldiers with the 438th were able to push forward, attack the enemy and establish security on the opposite shore.

Several Soldiers with the 118th Haul Platoon provided an opposition force (OPFOR) for this mission to simulate an enemy force for the engineers and MPs.

“I’ve been waiting all annual training for this OPFOR mission,” said Pfc. Bobby Robinson, Soldier from the 118th when asked about his role in this exercise.

The 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Operations Officer, Lt. Col. Timothy Starke said the collective training exercise was a small part of a much larger constructive MEB operation the 149th was conducting for this annual training.

“Each unit has an essential mission in the success of the MEB,” said Starke.  “We are the Swiss Army knife of the Army.”