Building a Bridge in a Pinch

Throughout August, we’re talking about the many engineering military occupational specialties (MOS) that are available in the Army National Guard. This week, On Your Guard flashes back to a particularly interesting disaster exercise that took place near Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, last year. Did you know Guard Soldiers can construct a floating bridge that’s 44 yards long in a mere 90 minutes? Check out the details in this excerpt from GX magazine

Members of the 125th Multi-Role Bridge Company (MRBC), S.C. Army National Guard, construct a temporary floating bridge to support Operation Coastal Response, a joint training exercise between local authorities and the National Guard.  (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brian Calhoun/released)

Members of the 125th Multi-Role Bridge Company (MRBC), S.C. Army National Guard, construct a temporary floating bridge to support Operation Coastal Response, a joint training exercise between local authorities and the National Guard. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brian Calhoun/released)

Engineers from the 125th Multi-Role Bridge Company (MRBC), South Carolina Army National Guard, were tasked with constructing a temporary floating bridge to ferry equipment and supplies from the landing to Sandy Island to support Palmetto Thunder, a joint training exercise with local civilian authorities and the South Carolina National Guard.

Agencies from Georgetown and Horry counties, along with units from the South Carolina Guard, participated in the training exercise that depicted response efforts in the aftermath of a mock commercial airliner crashing on approach to Myrtle Beach International Airport near Sandy Island.

Due to the location of the simulated crash site and debris field, the South Carolina National Guard was called to train with various support capabilities, including rotary aircraft, water purification, security, and hazardous materials response. Almost 300 personnel from different units in the State National Guard supported Palmetto Thunder.

The 125th MRBC is equipped with the Dry Support Bridge System (DBS) and can deploy a 40-meter (44-yard) bridge in under 90 minutes during daytime. The bridge sections are palletized and transported by a 600-horsepower Palletized Load System (PLS).

“This scenario provides us with the opportunity to gain real-world experience so that we will be prepared to provide relief to our community,” said Private First Class Serenia Thatcher, a 12C Bridge Crewmember with the 125th MRBC.

South Carolina is prone to hurricanes, which pose a concern to residents annually with a storm season that runs from June until November. One of the major missions of the 125th MRBC is to provide support and relief to the State coast and neighboring islands.

“We can go out and build our bridges and transport any civilians who need our help,” said PFC Thatcher. “My family lives in Charleston, and it could be my relatives who are in need of help. It makes me feel good to know that I can go out and help, and save lives.”

“It’s moments like this,” said (now retired) Brigadier General Darlene Goff, (former) director of joint staff for the South Carolina National Guard, “… that make a difference. While we provide lifesaving capabilities and train to accomplish missions, it’s really about people. That’s what the National Guard is about.”

If you’d like to make a difference for the people in your community by pursuing an engineering career in the National Guard, visit our jobs board and contact a recruiter today.

Original story and photo, by SGT Brian Calhoun and courtesy of GX magazine, were first published online on Feb. 6, 2014. GX magazine is an official publication of the Army National Guard.

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STEM in the Guard: A Focus on Engineering

This summer, during the first week of every month, we’re taking a closer look at Army National Guard careers in each of the four STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and math. Why? Because these jobs are in demand, both in the Guard and in the civilian workforce. Candidates with expertise in these fields are needed right now and well into the foreseeable future. In fact, the U.S. Department of Commerce predicts that STEM opportunities will increase by 17 percent over the next three years.

Next up, Part 3 … engineering.

STEM_engineeringDo you like taking things apart and putting them back together, just to see how they work? Are you fascinated by electricity and wiring? Would you love to run a construction site with bulldozers, cranes, and other heavy equipment?

If so, an engineering career may be a smart choice for your future. Starting down one of the many engineering career paths by pursuing one of the Guard’s many engineering military occupational specialties (MOS) is also a smart choice, for three important reasons:

  • The skills you learn in the Guard will give you a head start on qualifying for civilian positions in civil, electrical, electronics, computer, mechanical, industrial, nuclear operations, environmental, transportation, construction, or structural engineering.
  • As with most Guard careers, your service is part-time, so you can earn a degree and/or work in that civilian engineering job at the same time.
  • Finally, the Guard offers money for college and other great benefits like healthcare and life insturance.

Just as important, the National Guard’s engineering forces are charged with vital missions. At home, they improve the safety of civilians, like when they are called upon to rebuild after a natural disaster. In times of combat, they support the troops, like when they are called upon to design defensive positions, erect bridges, fix avionics, or set up mobile computer networks in the field.

The following are just a few of the Guard’s engineering military occupational specialties. Click the links to view nationwide job openings and read a more detailed description for each MOS.

12B Combat Engineer – Provides engineering support to troops by designing and building roadways and bridges; securing perimeters and tactical firing systems; and detecting and safely neutralizing mines and other dangers

12N Horizontal Construction Engineer – Uses and supervises the use of heavy equipment to dig, clear, and level earth for paving and other construction projects

12R Interior Electrician – Installs and wires electrical hardware – like transformers, junction boxes, service panels, electrical boxes, switches, and circuit breakers – found in offices, repair shops, airplane hangars, and other buildings

12T Technical Engineering Specialist – Supervises construction site development and directs technical investigations, like surveying, drafting, quality control inspections, and the development of construction plans/specifications

12W Carpentry and Masonry Specialist – Performs heavy carpentry, structural steel, and masonry duties, like fabricating, constructing, repairing, and maintaining all framing and rigging devices, trusses, and other structural assemblies

If you aren’t sure which of these career paths is best for you, don’t worry. One way to narrow it all down is to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. All Guard applicants take the ASVAB to help align their strengths with the military occupational specialties that best capitalize on those skills.

To learn more about STEM careers in the National Guard, check out our STEM Career Guide, visit our jobs board, and contact a recruiter today.

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