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Cpl. Kevin S. Major, heavy equipment noncommissioned officer with Bridge Platoon, Company A, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), guides a bulldozer during a bridge replacement project in Marjah, Afghanistan, Oct. 23. The Marines removed an old medium girder bridge and replaced it with a newer one, to be used by coalition forces and local nationals.

Photo by Cpl. Shannon E. McMillan

Marine engineers replace bridge for Marjah residents, coalition forces

23 Oct 2010 | Cpl. Shannon E. McMillan

Marines with Bridge Platoon, Company A, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward) worked the night away as they replaced a medium girder bridge outside here, Oct. 23.

The Marines removed a 4-bay double story medium girder bridge that had been there for more than a year and replaced it with a new bridge, allowing for the safe passage of Afghan residents and military forces.

The previous bridge sustained some damage due to regular traffic from military and civilian vehicles, so they replaced it for the safety of local nationals as well as Afghan and North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops, said 1st Lt. Cameron Wolf, mission commander with Bridge Platoon, Company A, 9th ESB, 1st MLG (FWD).

Not only do the military personnel utilize the bridge as a way to transport goods and other types of logistics support to fellow comrades, but it also allows Afghan villagers to pass through more safely and efficiently.

"It adds to the quality of life for the civilian population; they are able to use it to go to work, visit the market and relatives," said Wolf, 28, from Florence, Ore.

The Marines worked more than 14 hours.

"These Marines worked really, really hard,” said Wolf. “They do an outstanding job under very trying conditions, especially poor visibility and working in unfriendly areas. There is a constant risk [to] their lives."

But no matter what the risks were, the Marines were dedicated to completing the mission and weren't going to walk away until it was finished.

“We never leave a mission unless the Marines personally feel that it meets the criteria,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph A. Caughey, assistant patrol leader with Bridge Platoon, Company A, 9th ESB, 1st MLG (FWD). Each bridge is only considered complete after it has met the high standards the Marines in the unit uphold, he added.

As the Marines left, tired and worn out, they left with a sense of accomplishment knowing they had contributed not only to their comrades but also to the local community.


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