Fort Hood soldiers train for crossing water obstacles - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Fort Hood soldiers train for crossing water obstacles

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)
FORT HOOD, TX (KXXV) -

Fort Hood held an exercise Thursday morning that was just one small part of a much larger training operation. An operation with a lot of moving parts including bridge engineers, combat teams, aviation and scouts all to make sure our troops are ready to overcome any obstacle.

One at a time tanks cross a river on Fort Hood.

It looks like they're on a bridge to nowhere, but it's a bridge that could bring them closer to the enemy, closer to safety or closer to victory.

"If you imagine every time that you've been going somewhere and had to look for a route to go around something, this is something that we just create a bridge wherever we want," CPT. Steven LaFave of the Lancer Battalion said. 

It's a bridge that only four companies in the US Army can build, and one of those is on Fort Hood.

"Since Fort Hood has the armored brigade combat teams here, it's the armored brigade combat teams that would need to use them," CPT. LaFave added. 

But to use them efficiently and effectively, the soldiers must practice wet-gap training, a rare and specialized maneuver.

 "This is the first time I've ever seen one actually done in my career," CPT. LaFave said. 

It's like a line of lilly pads. To build it soldiers bring the pieces in on trucks, then they drop them in the water, bring in boats and put the pieces together while snipers and scouts keep watch.

"There's a lot of rivers in Europe, so for our defense forces that are stationed in Europe, it's important that rivers not be a hindrance to them," CPT. LaFave added.

Thursday's training was a scaled-down version. But in a real-war situation an entire division made up of hundreds of trucks and tanks plus thousands of soldiers would need to bottle-neck to cross the water to avoid becoming sitting ducks.

"One vehicle or one person not doing the right thing could literally throw off the entire operation," CPT. Dale Braxton of the 62nd Engineer Battalion said. 

So, one at a time, this practice could save lives on the battlefield and bring soldiers home to their families.

Currently, the Army mainly uses the bridges for operational deployments rather than combat because the wars we are fighting are mainly in the desert.

***The wet gap training today was not connected to the devastating drowning of nine fort hood soldiers when their vehicle overturned at a flooded creek last June. 

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