☷Minnesota South Dakota Guard Conduct Wet Gap Crossing
U.S. Army ( By Press Release office)
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The 200th Engineer Company of the 153rd Engineer Battalion , South Dakota National Guard , worked with the 1st Battalion , 147th Field Artillery , also from South Dakota , and the Minnesota National Guard’s 2nd Battalion , 135th Infantry , to erect a floating bridge in a Wet Gap Crossing exercise over Ferrell Lake at Camp Ripley Training Center , Little Falls , Minn . , July 18 - 19 , 2022 . ( Courtesy Photo ) LITTLE FALLS , Minn . – The South Dakota and Minnesota National Guard joined forces to conduct a Wet Gap Crossing exercise at Camp Ripley Training Center July 18 - 19 . Crossing a wet gap means crossing a water obstacle significant enough to prevent traditional ground maneuver , a logistical challenge at any time , but a complex and major operation during war . For this exercise , the 200th Engineer Company of the 153rd Engineer Battalion out of South Dakota provided the rafting , bridging and boat systems to cross a water obstacle . The 1st Battalion , 147th Field Artillery , also from South Dakota , along with elements of Minnesota’s 2nd Battalion , 135th Infantry , served as the maneuver unit and provided the combat forces to be moved across Camp Ripley’s Ferrell Lake . A division tactical command post serves as the command - and - control element of the crossing site . The DTAC contains a fraction of the unit headquarters and controls operations for a limited time . Detailed planning and preparation can ensure success in the fundamental elements of a deliberate wet gap crossing: surprise , flexibility , traffic control , organization and speed . “From a brigade perspective , what we’re looking at is teaching our leaders today the importance of synchronizing and coordinating our efforts with other units , ” said Col . Phillip Stiles , commander of the 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade , South Dakota Army National Guard , the 153rd’s higher headquarters . “[Everything] has to happen in synchronization in order for us to be able to get across . ” Soldiers of the 200th moved quickly in their bridge erection boats and advanced forces to the far bank to secure the landing area . The 200th then swiftly placed bridging sections in the water , assembling several floating “rafts” that enabled them to transfer additional firepower , including M1 Abrams main battle tanks , Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems , over the water to the far - side bank . After rafting significant combat power across the lake , CH - 47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters from Minnesota’s 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade ( ECAB ) sling - loaded additional bridging sections into the lake , allowing the engineers to assemble a floating bridge from one bank to the other . Follow - on maneuver forces then crossed the completed span , which in wartime would allow the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division to continue taking the fight to the enemy . “The hardest mission that we do as the 34th Infantry Division , the Red Bulls , is to cross a river under combat conditions . There are so many things that have to go right , from your intelligence to your fire support , shaping the enemy , to the actual technical crossing , ” said Brig . Gen . Charles Kemper , commanding general of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division . “There’s a lot of things that can go wrong , which means there’s a lot of preparation we have to put in to make it go right . ” Senior leaders from the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division were on hand to observe and show appreciation for the unique capabilities of the 153rd Engineer Battalion , soon to align under the 34th as the division shifts its focus to the European Theater and a more traditional battlefield . For more National Guard news National Guard Facebook National Guard Twitter
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