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U.S Marines with Bridge Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, conduct joint rafting operations alongside Navy Sailors with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 on Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 9, 2016. The purpose of the operation was to conduct cross-training within the Navy and Marine Corps team on proper rafting operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Zabolotniy, Combat Camera 1st MLG/ Released)

Photo by Cpl. Rodion Zabolotniy

Walking on Water: 7th ESB builds river bridges alongside NMCB-5

27 Jun 2016 | Sgt. Carson Gramley 1st Marine Logistics Group

The Improved River Bridge is a modular design that can serve as an expeditionary bridge or a raft to move gear and personnel across moving or standing water. It's able to be launched and constructed to various lengths depending on the requirements that need to be met.

Second Platoon's commander, 1st Lt. Brian Graham, was on scene throughout the training supervising and directing his Marines.

"We're doing rafting operations with a four-bay improved river bridge and then using the bridge-erection boats to pull a HMMWV [High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle] and raft it from one shore to the far-shore."

Assembling the two middle sections and the ramps on either side of the bridge and using that to raft the truck across was easy work for the Marines and Sailors, but they're working up to bigger and better things, explained Graham.

"We're currently in the ‘crawl, walk, run' phase, but this gives the Marines more time on the bridge-erection boats, learning hands-on skills and doing practical applications," said Graham. "This is a small step as we move up to developing tactical situations."

NMCB-5 and 7th ESB used this opportunity to not only conduct sustainment training with their engineers, but also to share knowledge between the Navy and Marine Corps team and improve and refine their methods, explained Chief Petty Officer Brenton Heisserer, a chief steel worker.
 
"I think that the joint training reaffirms the necessary joint ops environment," said Heisserer. "They came together and it's been eye-opening seeing what we can take back to our unit from what the Marines had to offer and what we had to offer them."

After a hard day's work out on the water, Graham could express nothing but satisfaction in what had been accomplished.

"The Marines and Sailors did very well today," said Graham. "We were able to complete the mission and it was great having the Sea Bees onboard with us, they were very eager and willing to learn."


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