Thirty-six Canadian Army Reserve combat engineers. Five hours. One bridge.
Hundreds of reservist sappers from across Western Canada and Ontario were in Chilliwack last weekend to take part in Exercise Paladin Response 2012. The exercises were meant to test and improve the leadership and technical skills of the sappers, with a focus on water and gap crossings.
The reservists used three different bridge and raft methods to maneuver obstacles.
At the Combat Engineers' Canada Education Park compound, three dozen sappers worked together to build a 12-metre bridge by hand.
The skills would come in handy for a scenario in which rising waters posed a flood threat, similar to that seen in Newfoundland following Hurricane Igor. "No guns, no kit, this is what combat engineers thrive at," Capt. Dan Wowryk said.
Elsewhere, dozens more sappers constructed an even larger bridge that, when finished, would span a more-than-40-metre gap.
And on Cultus Lake, engineers used boats to bind pontoons together to construct a floating platform that could either be used as a fixed crossing, or pushed across a body of water like a raft.