Rapid Engineer Deployable, Heavy Operational Repair Squadron, Engineer (RED HORSE) squadrons provide the Air Force with a highly mobile civil engineering response force to support contingency and special operations worldwide. The 819th RHS is a self-sufficient, 240-person mobile squadron capable of rapid response and independent operations in remote, austere environments worldwide. It provides heavy repair capability and construction support when requirements exceed normal base civil engineer capabilities and where Army engineer support is not readily available. In addition to virtually every civil engineering discipline, the 819th RED HORSE squadron has individuals in the following specialties: vehicle maintenance, supply, logistics plans, services, security forces, communications and medical personnel.
RED HORSE's major wartime responsibility is to provide a highly mobile, rapidly deployable, civil engineering response force that is self-sufficient to perform heavy damage repair required for recovery of critical Air Force facilities and utility systems, and aircraft launch and recovery. In addition, it accomplishes engineer support for beddown of weapon systems required to initiate and sustain operations in an austere bare base environment, including remote hostile locations.
The primary RED HORSE tasking in peacetime is to train for contingency and wartime operations. It participates regularly in Joint Chiefs of Staff and major command exercises, military operations other than war, and humanitarian civic action programs. RED HORSE performs training projects that assist base construction efforts while, at the same time, honing wartime skills.
The 819th was originally activated as the 819th Installation Squadron June 15, 1956, and deactivated June 25, 1961. On Jan. 12, 1966, the squadron was activated and redesignated the 819th Civil Engineer Squadron, Heavy Repair, at Phu Cat AB, Vietnam. On Aug. 31, 1990, at RAF Wethersfield, England, the 819th was deactivated. Throughout its distinguished history the 819th has been the recipient of many awards, including seven Vietnam campaign honors, 10 Outstanding Unit Awards, including three with valor, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
The 819th was reactivated as a RED HORSE Squadron Aug. 8, 1997, at Malmstrom AFB, Montana. The Malmstrom squadron is the first "associate" RED HORSE squadron in the U.S. Air Force where approximately 75 percent is active duty and 25 percent is Air National Guard. The Air National Guard part of the 819th team is the 219th RED HORSE Squadron, which incorporates the former 120th Civil Engineer Squadron of the Montana Air National Guard.