“The highest risk and resource-intensive Mission Essential Task (MET) we collectively train on is port opening and harbor clearance,” 511th Engineer Dive Detachment Commander Cpt. Olivia Schretzman said. “If we do not provide accurate infrastructure assessments, open ports, repair bridge sections, or clear obstacles in inland waterways, we negatively impact all sustainment and maneuver operations. It is a no-fail mission.”
Schretzman commands the 511th Engineer Dive Detachment, a 25-Soldier team that deploys worldwide, performing complex and dangerous engineer tasks at depths of up to 190 feet.
Schretzman explained that simulating a damaged bridge is a difficult task, so when the Memphis District reached out for assistance, both parties would benefit from the job.
“The Ensley Engineer Yard had a partially sunken bridge that needed repairs, and we needed high-intensity port opening training,” Schretzman said. “This operation became known as Operation Mississippi Freedom.”