502nd Engineer Company
Capt. Nicholas M. Keller
1st. Sgt. Robert A. Passarell
On order, 502nd Multi-Role Bridge Company (MRBC) deploys worldwide to execute strategic-level logistical support to a theater of operations by opening and maintaining critical lines of communication over open-gap, wet-gap, and in conducting active riverine operations.
The 502nd Engineer Company Assault Float Bridge was first constituted on 19 March 1942. In April 1942 the 502nd was activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina as a Light Pontoon Bridge Company. During World War II, the 502nd participated in the following campaigns: Normandy (with arrowhead), Northern France, Rheinland and Central Europe. It led several assault river crossings, making possible the Allied drive across France and into Germany.
After a short period as an Engineer Utilities Company following the war, the 502nd Engineer Float Bridge Company was later reactivated in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1955. Later assigned to the 565th Engineer Battalion in 1969, it remained a key bridging asset for bridging support throughout Europe. On 15 November, 1993, the 502nd moved to Pioneer Kaserne in Hanau, Germany to fall directly under the 130th Engineer Brigade.
In December 1995, the 502nd rafted into the spotlight once again, deploying to the Balkans in support of Operation Joint Endeavor. Once there, the unit played a crucial role in bridging the Sava River. Working for 72 straight hours under harsh winter conditions and extreme international pressure, the 502nd earned its famous motto “Never Quit”. The bridge measured 2,239ft, the longest float bridge in American history.
At the outset of the Global War on Terrorism and in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 502nd Multi-Role Bridge Company (MRBC) deployed from January to September 2003 and constructed the longest float bridge ever in combat: the Birthday Bridge in Tikrit, Iraq spanning 580m.
During its second deployment, from September 2004 to September 2005, the 502nd removed the longest Mabey-Johnson Float Bridge in Iraq, the Hait Jordan. Their third deployment was the busiest yet.
Over the course of 15 months from September 2006 to December 2007, the unit conducted over 100 bridging missions, 30 boat patrol missions on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and led two bridge training courses for the Iraqi Engineer School.
In June 2008, the 502nd moved to Fort Knox, Kentucky and joined the ranks of the 19th Engineer Battalion.
In August 2009, the Company deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as the first Army Bridge Company in that theater of operation. During the 12 month deployment, they established the theater bridging infrastructure as well as multiple fixed and float bridge operations across the country of Afghanistan. The Company returned in September 2010.
Awards & Honors
502nd MRBC has an Army Superior Unit Award for actions in Kosovo, from 1995-1996, and two Meritorious Unit Awards, one for OIF III, from 2004-2005, and a second for OIF VI-VIII, from 2006-2007. She is also nominated for Meritorious Unit Award for her performances during Operation Iraqi Freedom from August 2006 through November 2007 and for her most recent deployment to Afghanistan, from April 2009 through April 2010.