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Marines of 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), await the command to continue constructing a bridge in Garmser District, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Jan. 14, 2011. 8th ESB Marines provide engineering support for coalition forces throughout the province in support of the International Security Assistance Force.

Photo by Sgt. Brandon M. Owen

Engineers bridge gaps for infantry Marines

15 Jan 2011 | Staff Sgt. Jennifer Brofer

Marines from Bridge Platoon, Company B, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), recently built two bridges near the village of Durzay in Garmsir District to assist infantry Marines.

The medium girder bridges were constructed to assist the Marines of 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Forward) during a one-day clearing operation that aimed to provide enhanced security in and around the village.

Once the area was cleared, Marines intended to build patrol bases in the village to ensure that Taliban forces didn’t return, said 1st Lt. Robert Jorgensen, platoon commander, Bridge Platoon, Co. B, 8th ESB, 1st MLG (FWD). The only things standing in the Marines’ way were two canals that had to be crossed in order to access the new patrol bases from the main supply route.

“There were local land bridges in place over these canals, providing crossing points for local traffic, but these bridges were not capable of supporting the heavy military traffic required to construct and supply the new patrol bases,” said Jorgensen, 25, from Colonia, N.J.

The Marines worked for 14 hours straight in order to complete the bridges, “providing access to follow-on engineer forces and allowing the infantry to continue with the momentum they had generated by swiftly clearing Durzay,” said Jorgensen after the Marines returned from the mission, Feb. 1.

Once the platoon’s mission was complete, the 2/1 Marines were able to continue to do what they do best: securing the population from the Taliban and building the Afghan security forces, he said.

“The Marines of my platoon performed extraordinarily during this mission,” said Jorgenson.“The Marines knew that the infantry and their associated engineer forces were waiting on us to build these bridges so that they could continue the operation, and I believe this inspired the Marines to work as hard as they did.”


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