Story by: Sgt. Calab Franklin, 3ABCT, 1CD, PA NCOIC
FORT HOOD, TEXAS – Engineers, tankers, scouts, and cannoneers with 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division conducted a Combined Arms Breach using the Army’s new Joint Assault Bridge (JAB), Fort Hood, Texas, June 30, 2021.
The breach consisted of three different battalions from the GREYWOLF brigade: 3rd Brigade Engineer Battalion (3rd BEB), 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment (3-8 CAV) and 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment (2-82 FA). The overall objective was to successfully breach and cross a berm using the JAB. This is the first time in history that the JAB was used to cross both the Army’s newest version of the Abrams Main Battle Tank, the M1A2 SEPv3 and the Army’s latest version of the Paladin, the M109A7.
“The fielding of the JAB changes the dynamic of the Combined Arms Breach. The Combined Arms Breach is one of the most complicated missions that an Armored Brigade Combat Team can have in a near peer fight,” said Capt. Meagan Latimer, Bravo Company Commander, 3rd BEB.
Now the GREYWOLF brigade has fielded the JAB and quite literally ‘bridged the gap’ with nearly every type of combat vehicle, increasing their maneuverability on the battlefield.
“The JAB has a military load class of 115, doubling the capability of the Wolverine, its predecessor,” said Latimer. “This can support the new M1A2 SEPv3 to quickly cross over a gap and assault through to the enemy.”
With the U.S. Army's latest modernization changes, this brigade has been at the forefront of it all. Becoming the first unit to field the modernized Abrams and Paladins, working with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command to test new equipment, and now being the third organization in the Army to receive the JAB.
“Not only did this increase confidence in the equipment, but it also allows us to validate marking standards and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to ensure safety over the JAB. As the first modernized unit in the army to field the JAB, we are creating TTPs and best practices that we will share to new units throughout the Army,” said Latimer.
The training event validates not only the unit’s ability to conduct a breach, but also the Troopers ability to adapt and utilize new equipment in a short amount of time with succession.
“This exercise was a success because it allowed many soldiers to get an opportunity to get the feeling of crossing a gap, along with what could be conducted in any upcoming operations in following years,” said Sgt. Yitzhak Barker, a vehicle commander in Bravo Company.
Like any training usually goes, repetition is key, which is why the Troopers put in as many repetitions as they could and are already preparing for the next time they will train with the JAB.
“This sets Soldiers up for success in the future, but it also builds team cohesion, proficiency and helps us understand all the fluid pieces that come with this type of mission…,” said Barker. “Consistency builds perfection.”
Once the fielding concluded, all the hard work and results from the Troopers was sent to the U.S. Army Engineer School as continuity for other units across the Army.