JEFFERSON CITY, MO -- Soldiers from the 1438th Engineer Company of Macon work to piece together parts of a bridge they have set up on the river as part of a training exercise for Vigilant Guard. The Vigilant Guard exercise is a disaster response exercise that allows Soldiers and Airmen to train in a worst-case scenario, a mock massive earthquake along the New Madrid fault line. (National Guard photo by Spc. Mike Shaw, 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment).
By Spc. Mike Shaw
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo - The 1438th Engineer Company of Macon conducted a training mission at the Ike Skelton Training Center this week.
The 1438th was conducting some bridge building missions as part of the Vigilant Guard exercise.
"We're going to put in a two-bay platform for some of the dignitaries to stand on," said Sgt. 1St Class Christopher Mincher, a noncommissioned officer with the 1438th. "Then we are going to build a six-bay assault bridge, dock it and put a humvee on it. Then we are going to take it out in the middle of the river and turn around, bring it back and tear it apart."
The unit has trained to rapidly deploy their unit assets like the boats and parts of the bridge.
"From the time of arrival on-site to the time we get out it should be a little over an hour," Mitchem said.
Spc. Joseph Meyers, a bridge crew member with the 1438th, oversees the Combat Bridge Transporter trucks, which carry the Improved Ribbon Bridge Platforms and Mark II boats, which move the bridge parts into place when they are put on the water.
Meyers said he, along with the other Soldiers from the 1438th, constantly train on maneuvering and working with bridge parts, especially during annual training.
"We do it mostly for annual training, five or six times a day," Meyers said.
Meyers added that it is important they keep the equipment in top shape.
"You can't do it without maintenance," Meyers said. "We always have to make sure our trucks are prepped and ready to go whenever we go out for a mission."
The 1438th is one of the many units participating in the Vigilant Guard exercise.
Vigilant Guard is a training exercise prepping both Soldiers and Airmen of the Missouri National Guard for a worst-case scenario natural disaster.
Soldiers were informed that a mock earthquake took place along the New Madrid Fault Line, and communities around the state prepped as if the event actually happened.
The state of Missouri has experienced many forms of natural disaster over the last ten years, stemming from flooding, ice storms and the tornado in Joplin. Bridge building missions are an important process in the wake of natural disasters, as bridge crews can erect bridges to cross ravines and rivers that may have been washed out due to flooding or any other form of natural disaster.
The Missouri National Guard is a force of nearly 11,500 Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen in the state who act both on a national and state levels.
For more information about the Missouri National Guard, please visit www.moguard.com and our social media sites: www.facebook.com/Missouri.National.Guard; www.twitter.com/Missouri_NG; www.youtube.com/MoNationalGuard; www.myspace.com/missouri_ng; www.flickr.com/photos/missouriguard; www.moguard.com/blog; www.pinterest.com/monationalguard/
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo -- Soldiers from the 1438th Engineer Company of Macon secure a piece of a bridge that has just unfolded in the river as part of a training exercise for Vigilant Guard. The Vigilant Guard exercise is a disaster response exercise that allows Soldiers and Airmen to train in a worst-case scenario, a mock massive earthquake along the New Madrid fault line. (National Guard photo by Spc. Mike Shaw, 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment).