Bridge building in the USA

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A TERRITORIAL Army soldier is back home after joining a 3,500-strong U.S. bridge-building mission.

Andrew Ramplin, from Easington, joined 54 other reservists from 72 Engineer Regiment on a community project in Custer State Park, South Dakota.

The 26-year-old, who works as a security and fire alarm engineer for Durham-based CDS Security in his civilian life and lives with his partner Sophie Turner, said: “It’s fantastic working on projects like this.”

During the two-week training exercise, known as Golden Coyote, the former Shotton Hall Comprehensive School student helped restore five dilapidated bridges, build two new fishing piers, and fit a more than half of a mile of safety fencing.

Sapper Ramplin, who has a two-year-old daughter called Ava-Mae and whose parents Julie and Ken live in Peterlee, added: “What’s really rewarding is knowing that people are going to get the benefit of the work we did, and they came up to us to thank us for all our hard work.

“That’s makes you feel really good about yourself.”