Adam Chesser, California High School Class of 2009, recently deployed to Afghanistan with the Missouri Army National Guard 1438th Multi-Role Bridge Company (MRBC). The company is based in Macon.
Chesser joined the National Guard in 2010. He has also been employed by the Missouri Department of Corrections.
The unit usually trains on the Missouri River, but trained at Fort Leonard Wood before deployment. Sgt. 1st Class Chris Mincher said "the river is a good place to train," but said he knew the experience at Fort Leonard Wood would "make or break" the success of their deployment.
"Each lake, pond or river is different; and each bay fits together different," Mincher said.
Commenting that the best way to learn to do the job is to do it over and over.
He said the standard to deploy and construct the bays and ramps into a Ribbon Bridge is 20 minutes. On July 22, it took 44 minutes, but Mincher said of the 55 soldiers, 30 were new to the bridge company, since they were soldiers who volunteered from the Military Police Corps and Chemical Corps. In two days, they had the time to 13 minutes.
National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. Will Pierce spoke to the company face-to-face. He commented that less than half of the soldiers have "been there before."
He said that even if they have been there before, the situation has changed.
"In my consideration, self discipline is the number one attribute they need to follow - for their own survivability," said Pierce. "I don't want them to get complacent."