1438th Engineer Company (AFB) (MRBC)
The 1438th is a Multi-role Bridge Company (MRBC) with the mission of providing combat support and rapid river crossing capabilities in support of Corps operations. The Company Headquarters, Support Platoon, and 2d Bridge Platoon are located in Rolla. The 1st Bridge Platoon is located in Warrenton.
The unit was organized July 3, 1946 as the 1438th Treadway Bridge Company. The company began active federal service at Rolla , Missouri in August 1950 and was activated and mobilized during the Korean War (1950-1953).
The Rolla armory is home to Army Reserve units and to the National Guard's 1438th Engineer Company, which is attached to the 35th Engineer Brigade stationed at Fort Leonard Wood.
Working together was one of the keys to success in a combined arms exercise between engineers and military police held in Macon in late 1998. At that time, a water crossing exercise was conducted by the 1138th Engineer Battalion, Jefferson Barracks, 1438th Engineer Company, Rolla, Division Rear Operations Center, Kansas City, 175th Military Police Battalion, Fulton, 2175th Military Police Company, St. Clair, and the 1139th Military Police Company in Harrisonville. Taking a lot of planning, the exercise nonetheless provided a good day of training, and the unit planned another one for the following year, and to make it an annual event.
The wartime mission of the 1138th would be to oversee four or more companies like the 1438th, whose specialty is bridge building. While the two units would not deploy in war together, training together gives each a chance to fill their role in a river-crossing mission. The 250 military policemen that participated in the exercise provided security and traffic management as well as the bridge crossing element.
For the exercise, the units gathered at the Macon training site and gathered at a tactical staging area about two kilometers from the water crossing area. The military police set up checkpoints and maintained the security of the area. At the water, a military police element crossed first to secure the shore on the other side. With security established, the 1438th went to work putting together the bridge.
A group of volunteers from the 1438th Engineer Company, Rolla, deployed to Ecuador for two months in mid-1998. Because of El Nino, all the local bridges were flooded and boat operators were needed to help move people, buses and military equipment from one side of the swollen rivers to the other. The 1438th wasn't the only Missouri National Guard presence in the country. A contingency of 14 soldiers from the 203rd Engineering Battalion, Joplin, was also in the South American country. The units were both there to support the Kentucky National Guard which was in the country for operation "Nuevos Horizontes," or New Horizons. It was the state's first joint Air and Army National Guard deployment and their mission was building clinics, latrines and schools for rural communities. The members of the 1438th, mostly from Detachment 1 in Salem, spent two months in the tropical country during mid-1998. The 203rd had volunteers from all across southwest Missouri who spent a month on the deployment.
The unit was again mobilized on January 21, 2003 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit conducted extensive training at Ft. Leonard Wood and Camp Crowder, Missouri becoming proficient in all of its critical tasks in preparation for overseas deployment. In addition, the Company assisted in the training of several other bridge units before being demobilized in June 2003.
In July, 2004, the unit was mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After training for 3 months at Fort Hood , TX , the 1438th flew to Kuwait in October and entered Iraq shortly thereafter. The unit works out of LSA Adder which is located just outside of An Nasiriyah in southeastern Iraq and is engaged in supporting Lines of Communication missions throughout southern Iraq . During their tour in Iraq , the 1438th installed or removed 10 bridges, more than any other bridge Company in Iraq during the same time period. Upon return from OIF, the unit was scheduled to be moving to new armories in Macon and Kirksville , MO.
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