News: SC National Guard trains for flood response
Story by Maj. Cindi King
PLUM BRANCH, S.C. - Members of the 125th Multi-Role Bridge Company, 122nd Engineer Battalion, S.C. National Guard, are demonstrating their ability to establish a “floating road” on Lake Strom Thurmond during annual training held Aug. 3-17, 2013.
The engineering unit, headquartered in Abbeville, S.C., conducted their flood response training at the Clarks Hill Training Area in Plum Branch using five bay rafts, a working boat, a hold boat and safety boat. The equipment, when linked together, created a floating platform for vehicles, equipment and personnel to cross over water. It’s referred to as an “improved ribbon bridge”
“If our S.C. coastline experienced heavy flooding, our unit could establish a bridge to help get supplies to water-locked areas and help people,” said Spc. Andrew Fort, of Batesburg-Leesville, S.C., the section leader of the unit.
The 125th MRBC was established less than three years ago and members have been training to become proficient with their equipment, especially as the state of S.C. enters the middle of hurricane season.
Using less than 20 soldiers, the unit was able to launch their boats off trailers into the lake, deploy and link rafts, anchor the equipment to shore, and have it ready for a wheeled vehicle to drive on the floating platform.
Their record to accomplish these tasks was 17 minutes.
“As long as there are defined anchor points, these rafts can be linked together with additional rafts to make a floating road at any length needed,” said Fort.
The unit, after loading a Humvee on the platform, demonstrated the ease of driving and maneuvering the floating raft around the lake.
Boat operators helped guide the platform back to shore, as soldiers worked together to ensure everything was safely anchored back on land for the Humvee to disembark.
“The 125th, as a new unit, has made tremendous improvements and I look forward to seeing them expand their training to swift water,” said Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr., the adjutant general for S.C. “This resource in our Guard is vital to our state and nation, not only for its life saving capability, but for the dedication and great skills of our soldiers who operate it.”