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Military


671st Engineer Company (MRB)

The 671st Engineer Co is a bridging unit that uses the ribbon bridge.

In August 2002 the 671st took part in Kootenay Castle 2002, an engineering exercise that took place in Canada. Military engineers from Great Britain, Canada and the United States arrived in the mountains of British Columbia Aug. 11 for a joint, combined exercise to "close" the fast-moving waters of the Columbia River. "Closing" the river is a term used by engineers when they have successfully bridged a river.

Dubbed "Kootenay Castle 2002," the exercise is unlike any that many of these engineers said they have seen. The units will combine, and the multinational soldiers will construct a bridge in center of the small town of Trail, nestled in the Kootenay mountain range north of Spokane, Wash.

Canadian Reserve soldiers from the 44th Field Engineer Squadron in Trail, and U.S. Army Reserve troops from the 476th Chemical Battalion in Fort Lawton, Wash., and the 671st Engineer Co. in Portland, Ore., first met for "Kootenay Castle" in Trail in 1992. The forces conducted engineering operations in the same locations, but not together.

"Kootenay Castle 2002" is different because it provides a unified scenario in which the Canadian and U.S. forces will work together toward a single goal, culminating with a ribbon bridge crossing of the Columbia. More than 600 soldiers from 11 different U.S. Army Reserve, National Guard and active Army units and a platoon of U.S. Marines are participating in Kootenay Castle 2002. Also involved are six different Reserve and regular units from the Canadian armed forces along with a number of soldiers from the British Territorial Army and an Australian Army officer.

Canadian and U.S. reserve forces from the Washington and British Columbia region are hosting this exercise and contributing most of the soldiers participating in it. A three-day field training exercise starting Sunday will be conducted with Canadian and British forces moving and constructing multiple fixed and float bridges in the Trail, Castlegar, and Nelson, B.C., area. At the end of the exercise, the units will clean up, pack, and move to their home stations.

Bridging operations are not the only actions to take place during the exercise. Canadian and U.S. soldiers will train on force protection, decontamination and smoke concealment operations, food service, bulk fuel transport and delivery, aviation operations, supply operations, medical support operations, and public affairs operations. Community legacy projects will also be completed.

Soldiers from the 671st returned to Portland in mid-February 2004, following a year-long deployment to Southwest Asia and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Roughly 150 soldiers returned. The unit lost one soldier, Specialist Brandon Tobler on March 22, 2003.




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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:30:57 ZULU