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Fort Hood troops train to get heavy-armored vehicles across water obstacles

Posted at 1:07 PM, Oct 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-28 20:04:29-04

FORT HOOD, Texas — For 20 years, the U.S. sent troops to fight in the deserts of the Middle East, but now the battlefield is changing.

”I would tell you that it’s a little bit more than that,” said Maj. Gen. Christopher Beck, III Corps Deputy Commanding General. “It’s a transition as our Army goes from a contingency fight to a large-scale combat operations fight, which is what we’re seeing right now in Europe and what we’ll do against a near-pier competitor.”

Large scale means a massive amount of equipment and armored vehicles like tanks.

Tanks and other heavy-armored vehicles operate on land, but what if you run into a body of water like a river.

Well, that’s when the engineers come in to set up bridges.

”Each of the segments is individually floated,” said Cpt Carley Lafranchi, commander of the 74th Multi-Role Bridge Company. “So, they will be dropped in individually, one of the boats will come pick it up, and it will be connected all together in multiple ways so that it’s safe.”

It’s more than just linking bridge pieces together.

You have to find a safe location for the bridge and that means sending people across long before the bridge is assembled.

”This isn’t just the engineers you see driving the boats behind you,” said Maj. Gen. Beck. “They're obviously critical, but it takes the armor, the infantry, the artillery, the intelligence, the MP's. It takes everybody to enable success on t complex operation like this.”

It also takes terrain allows for this style of training, something Fort Hood is uniquely suited for.

”Fort Hood is crucial because you have the three things you need for a wet-gap crossing,” Lafranchi said. “You have the Armored Corps, which has armored brigades. You have a body of water to facilitate the wet-gap crossing and you have to Multi-Role Bridge Companies that are able to facilitate the training on the water here.”

That is why Fort Hood is becoming the new home for the Army’s Gap Crossing Training Center.

”To train as a combined arms team at the Brigade Combat Team level and at the Division level and really test thing that frankly, through many of our other training centers, we don’t have the ability to physically do like we do here at Fort Hood,” Beck said.

The Gap Crossing Training Center will be used by active-duty, Reserve, and National Guard units to make sure everyone is ready to take the fight to the enemy no matter where they’re at.