Nearly 5,000 soldiers are getting training to prepare them for real-world battle.

Some 1st Cavalry Soldiers are playing the opposition forces. The training is the final exercise before the 1st Cav Division soldiers go to the national training center in California in November.

A ribbon bridge over a narrow part of Lake Belton was constructed by the soldiers under the cover of darkness Tuesday night.

It takes a lot of planning to get to this point in the Pegasus Forge II Exercise, but the wet gap crossing is just the beginning.

“As soon as we can get enough of the brigade north of the bridge, and as they fight north, and create space between this obstacle on the water and the northern line, they’ll have to start retrograding back to their logistics hub which is still south of the river, so at some point, we will have to start managing two-way traffic,” LTC Chad Caldwell, commander, 62nd Engineer Battalion.

Engineers told Channel 6 the wet gap crossing has seven bays or segments, along with two ramps to help vehicles get on and off.

The exercise involves a battle strategy with Abrams tanks, Bradley vehicles, Apache Attack helicopters, ground to air artillery and unmanned aerial systems. Each soldier and vehicle on the ground are equipped with a laser system – something like laser tag to simulate real world strikes.

“That’s what I owe this formation,” Major General JT Thomson, Commanding General of the 1st Cav Division said. “a rigorous, challenging, training experience, give them repetition, give them good feedback.

Thomson said success on this event is three things: to learn, to get better and to do it safely.