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565th Engineer Battalion FEMs.

The 565th Engineer Battalion has a unique structure that gives us the flexibility to develop diverse engineer modules. The battalion consists of three separate engineer companies: the 38th Engineer Company (Medium Girder Bridge [MGB]), the 320th Engineer Company (Topographic), and the 502d Engineer Company (Assault Float Bridge [AFB]). With these companies, we developed four different FEMs to expand engineer support to the USAREUR IRF or to the SETAF commander.

The four engineer teams include two topographic teams and two bridging teams. The topographic teams are a survey module and a terrain-analysis module. The bridging teams are a fixed-bridge reconnaissance/bridge-construction module and a float-bridge rafting module. All teams use existing equipment and soldiers within the battalion. The only additional equipment required is the 130th Engineer Brigade's deployable TeleEngineering Suite.

Survey FEM. The mission of the survey module (Table I) is to deploy, on order, within the EUCOM area of responsibility to provide survey control points, conduct airfield surveys, and provide points for map orthorectification. Artillery and air-defense units use these very accurate survey control points to calibrate their positioning systems before firing. This is especially important when operating in an environment where civilians are present.

In undeveloped areas, the survey team can lay out airfields and provide aviators with obstruction data for the airfield. Since topographic land maps do not exist in many areas of EUCOM, the survey team will establish control points with which the National Imagery and Mapping Agency can develop military maps from satellite imagery. The survey team operates from a specially configured HMMWV modeled after the Digital Topographic Support System-Survey (DTSS-S), which is still in the concept stage of fielding.

Life Flights: After more flooding in several African countries, the United States Agency for International Development starts food and medical supply shipments via C-130 aircraft. Before the aircraft arrive, the Survey FEM has established survey controls on numerous dirt airstrips so the C-130s can land and deliver their much-needed cargo.

Terrain-Analysis FEM. The terrain-analysis module's mission is to deploy, on order, within the EUCOM area of responsibility to provide terrain-analysis products and small quantities of topographic maps to deployed headquarters. The team creates the terrain-analysis products on-site, operating from the supported unit's tactical-operations center with computers, graphics software, and map-printing capability. Sample products include modified combined-obstacle overlays (MCOOs), lines-of-communication maps, bridge/road maps, elevation maps, largescale (1:25,000; 1:15,000) maps of the area of operations, satellite-imagery maps, anaglyphs (three-dimensional [3-D] redblue maps viewed with 3-D glasses), flythrough videos, and almost any other type of map the commander may want.

If the requirement exceeds the time available or technical capability of the deployed FEM, the workload can be electronically transferred to the 320th Engineer Company's base station for reachback capability. Once an electronic product has been completed, it can be sent secure via the deployable Tele-Engineering Suite and printed out at the remote site for the maneuver commander. The terrain-analysis team operates from a specially configured HMMWV ambulance modeled after the Digital Topographic Support System-Light (DTSS-L) (to be fielded to the unit in FY03).

Deep Strike: As the 173d Infantry Brigade (SETAF) prepares for a counterinsurgency mission in Kosovo, the Terrain-Analysis FEM--a part of the initial deploying forces--identifies drop zones, landing zones, dismounted infiltration, and attack routes and produces limited maps and overlays of the area of operations.

These two topographic module prototypes have been extensively tested in many recent deployments and training exercises. The personnel and equipment for the terrain-analysis module are shown in Table 2.

Fixed-Bridge-Reconnaissance/Bridge-Construction FEM.

The third team from the 565th Engineer Battalion is the fixed-bridge-reconnaissance/bridge-construction module. The mission of this module is to deploy, on order, within the EUCOM area of responsibility to conduct bridge reconnaissance and to provide technical expertise and supervision in the construction of fixed bridges using U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) or host-nation labor. The capabilities of the fixed-bridge module include determining the load classification of existing bridges, estimating the need for and extent of repair to existing bridges, and calculating the materials required for new bridges, specifically the Bailey bridge, the Mabey-Johnson (Compact 200) bridge, and timber-trestle bridges. The soldiers of the team will supervise the construction of the new bridges using DoD or host-nation armed forces or host-nation contracted labor. Because of the cost and size of the medium-grider bridge, the team will generally not use it for host-nation support. This team will operate from a HMMWV.

In February 2001, the battalion exercised the fixed-bridge-reconnaissance/bridge-construction FEM during Operation Ice Bridge, a battalion-level FTX that included a company-level external evaluation (EXEVAL) of the 38th Engineer Company (MGB) and platoon-level. EXEVALs of the 502d Engineer Company (AFB). The MGB company sent the FEM to link up with the "mayor" of a town that needed a Bailey bridge to replace a destroyed bridge. The FEM NCOs directed "unskilled local labor" (soldiers from the AFB company) in the construction of the Bailey bridge. Since most of the soldiers from the AFB company were not proficient with the Bailey, this was a good first test of the FEM. Potential future tests involve sending the FEM to Portugal to examine a collapsed bridge or to Poland as part of V Corps's Victory Strike exercise to examine and improve bridges over which the Multiple-Launch Rocket System (MLRS) vehicles will cross. The personnel and equipment associated with this module are shown in Table 3, page 60.

Bridge the Gap: The series of recent earthquakes in Turkey destroyed most bridges, rendering many roads impassable. With the United States sending fixed bridges like the Bailey bridge into remote areas of the country, the Fixed-Bridge FEM NCOs direct and assist Turkish forces in constructing the bridges. Finally, relief supplies flow into the ravaged towns.

Float-Bridge Rafting FEM The final team from the 565th Engineer Battalion is the float-bridge rafting module. The rafting module will deploy, on order, within the EUCOM area of responsibility to provide a water-obstacle crossing capability to U.S. or host-nation forces The rafting module is designed around a six-float raft that will support both the MIRC in USAREUR (Ml13-based) and the HIRC (Ml- and M2-based). The module can also be used in humanitarian as well as peacekeeping operations. Potential missions include conducting evacuations and river patrols and ferrying equipment and personnel.

The rafting module is much larger than the survey, terrain-analysis, and fixed-bridge modules, as shown in Table 4. Given the size of the rafting equipment, many more airframes are required for transport. This module can be further reduced, if necessary. We will exercise this module during the summer of 2001.

Ride the Wave: The USAREUR rapid-reaction force deploys to a contingency in the EUCOM area of responsibility. The enemy has destroyed the one bridge on the, river dividing the country. The rafting FEM deploys, allowing U.S. forces to cross the river. Later, the rafts transport refugees to safety during a mass exodus from the area of fighting.

The four modules from the 565th Engineer Battalion will significantly enhance the ability of USAREUR's rapid-deployment forces to operate in a contingency theater of operations. The survey and terrain-analysis modules have been tested in both deployments and training exercises, while the fixed-bridge and rafting modules were tested in February and will be again in June 2001. These engineer modules will continue to move the battalion along the road to the more versatile and deployable Army of the future.

Major Simon is the S3 of the 565th Engineer Battalion, Hanau, Germany.
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Article Details
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Author:Simon, Major George
Publication:Engineer: The Professional Bulletin for Army Engineers
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2001
Previous Article:54th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Mechanized) FEMs.
Next Article:Sappers Transformed.

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