Military News

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Self-sustaining unit builds improvements

by Staff Sgt. Timothy Boyer
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


12/16/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Throughout the Air Force, units depend on each other to successfully complete the mission. For example, without supply, maintainers wouldn't have the parts needed to make repairs.

Very few units can function independent of other support elements. Here at the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, there is one unit that can - the 577th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron.

"We are an all-encompassing, fully self-supported unit," said Tech. Sgt. Zachary Peters, 577th ERHS structural journeyman. "RED HORSE is comprised of 21 different trades capable of going into a combat environment and constructing buildings, runways and just about anything you need built."

RED HORSE is a unit specifically designed for building capabilities in contingency environments as their name - Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron Engineers - suggests.

"Typical civil engineer (squadrons) maintain existing base facilities, whereas RED HORSE goes forward and deploys to remote areas, or even existing bases, and builds new facilities," said Senior Airman Dominick Thompson, 577th ERHS structural apprentice.

Like any other unit, support is needed to maintain it. For this reason, the RED HORSE squadron has specialized Airmen assigned to it.

RED HORSE has what it needs - security, finance, structural and heat and air - to go where there is nothing and build just about anything, Peters said.

The squadron is currently working on a pair of two-story, concrete-block buildings that will provide much-needed room for those who run the nearby hangars.
It is not without a lot of work and coordination that a project of this type can be accomplished.

"You've got (an engineer) who does the planning and drawings, without which we wouldn't know what the building should look like or which materials to use," Thompson said. "We need supply and logistics to be able to get the materials and equipment necessary for the job. You've got to have the storage, manpower and experienced people."

The best part of being in RED HORSE is the sense of accomplishment upon completion of the jobs, Peters said.

"We get to build everything from the ground up," he said. "It's something different every time."