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Sgt. Luis Delgadillo Multi-National Division-Central
FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU — Opening a new passage in southern Arab Jabour, Coalition Forces moved and set up an armored vehicle-launched bridge and cut 200 meters of new road, Jan 10. The new road is drivable and the bridge makes a 35-foot gap passable for vehicles. Connecting roads from Patrol Base Hawkes to vital canal roads in the west was made possible by Soldiers of Company E, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Stewart, Ga.
“This is the first time I’ve launched a bridge since OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) one,” said Sgt. Jake Morales, combat engineer with Co. E, 1-30th Inf. Regt, who boasts the only combat bridge launch for the 2nd BCT, along with fellow combat engineer Staff Sgt. Tommy Mays.
Morales guided the massive two-piece hinged steel structure to its new location with ease, despite the time lapse since his last bridge launch almost five years ago.
Matthews maneuvered the bridge with the armored vehicle’s large hydraulic lifting arm and transported it to its new location.
With the vehicle’s engine revving and with pressure from hydraulic lines, the giant bridge began unfolding.
Soon, people in the neighboring villages began gathering, questioning the reason for the bridge.
Though land owners were not thrilled with the idea of a bridge being placed through their fields, Capt. John T. Newman, commander of Company B, 1-30th Inf. Regt., assured the residents the bridge was important, and they will be compensated for any land disturbed by the project.
Morales said the bridge’s placement and new road would allow for easier troop movement.
Originally, the bridge was used by Soldiers of Company B to connect PB Hawkes with fellow Soldiers of the 6th Squadron 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th BCT, 3 Inf. Div., from Fort Stewart, Ga., who operate to the west of PB Hawkes.