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Photo Information

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- An M1A1 Abrams tank from Delta Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division backs up onto a raft to be transported from Landing Zone Jaybird to Camp Devil Dog on Oct. 10. The tankers teamed up with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group to conduct a river-crossing exercise to hone their skills and move heavy equipment in the most efficient manner.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Juan Vara

2nd Tanks stay afloat with semi-annual training

21 Oct 2008 | Staff Sgt. Juan Vara

Marines from Delta Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division made waves in the New River on Oct. 10, when they teamed up with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group for a river-crossing exercise.

The exercise involved moving 10 M1A1 Abrams tanks and one M88 tank recovery vehicle from Landing Zone Jaybird aboard Camp Lejeune to Camp Devil Dog.

Tankers and tanks, on their way to semi-annual gunnery qualifications in the Greater Sandy Run Training Area, sailed across the river on rafts pulled by Mark III Bridge Erection Boats.

“This was something new for me,” said Lance Cpl. David R. Moore, a tank loader from Tishomingo, Okla.  “Everybody in the unit should do this to gain the experience because it’d be very beneficial if we have to cross a river when we’re deployed.”

Cpl. Joshua J. Pelletier, Bridge Company’s maintenance noncommissioned officer, said the Mark III boats are very new to the company and this type of training helps the mechanics work out any bugs with them.  The exercise also provided the operators and crewmen with experience to carry out these assignments.

“We always maintain these boats so that we’re ready for the mission,” he said. “We also have to know what we’re doing to be ready to give these guys a ride whenever they need it.”

Pelletier, a native of Milford, N.H., said rides are usually needed twice a month, when the various tank companies in the battalion go to the range and after they’re done.  “It’s more efficient to just take them across the water,” he said.

Capt. Cornelius D. Hickey, operations officer for 2nd Tanks Battalion, said the alternative to taking the tanks across the water would be to haul them on heavy equipment movers.  “This training served two purposes,” said the East Hampton, Conn., native.  “It maxed out the rafts’ load at 70-tons and gave the Marines in the tank company a chance to do something they don’t normally get to do.”

Staying afloat when it comes to job proficiency requires countless hours of training.  The two companies worked together to accomplish the mission at hand and helped each other provide their Marines with invaluable experience.