National Guard prepares for hurricane season - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

National Guard prepares for hurricane season

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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5)-- With hurricane season upon us, the Army National Guard is preparing for bridge damage and closures. News Channel Five's Steven Maxwell takes us out to the water with the 225th Engineer Brigade.

Versatile is one way to describe the Improved Ribbon Bridge.

"To Respond to any situation we may encounter," said 2nd Lt. Justin Bryson, Army National Guard.

A mobile dock, a rescue boat, a ferry and a bridge....That's put together piece by piece in the water--and today, the Army National Guard is preparing and practicing for hurricane season.

"The really important thing is making sure the unit is trained to respond to any situation that may arise," said Bryson.

They are performing their annual training exercise on the Red River. Those participating say this training is vital.

"We can knock out all that training at one time and we have all the assets available that we need," said Bryson.

If a bridge is destroyed or becomes unserviceable the IRB can act as a bridge or ferry to transport vehicles and personnel. With three bridges connecting Alexandria and Pineville, Lieutenant Colonel Chad Herndon says this is a perfect place to train.

"If one of them went out it would definitely put a strain on the traffic here in the Pineville Alexandria area," said Herndon.

Herndon describes the IRB as Lego pieces being put together in the water... After being assembled, the boats maneuver the IRB to be used as a ferry or bridge--and although the training is serious, for 2nd Lt. Bryson - it's always fun.

"It is really just exciting for us. We are comfortable out here on the water, and where myself and all the soldiers would like to be," said Bryson.

The Army National Guard says Louisiana is the only gulf coast state with an Improved Ribbon Bridge.

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