RED HORSE Airmen pave the way

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Tong Duong
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
No project is too heavy to handle for the 1st Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron Engineer Group, a group that specializes in making something out of nothing.

While building bare bases is one of the primary missions of the 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group, they also assess, plan, and establish facilities and infrastructures to support contingency operations and combat missions.

"We get our taskings from Air Forces Central and based on the request, we take the necessary steps to put together a plan and list of supplies, equipment, personnel and skills needed to complete the project," said Master Sgt. Douglas Geigle, 1st ERHG additional duty first sergeant, deployed from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. "There's probably not too much we can't build."

Designed to be a self sufficient unit, the 1st ERHG's 150 Airmen are pooled from different Air Force career fields.

"RED HORSE has personnel from as many as 35 to 40 different career fields. Primarily we are engineers but we also have logistics, comptrollers, security forces, safety, communications and administration, airborne and medical personnel who provide support to the heavy construction mission," Sergeant Geigle said. "They all do the same type of work they were trained to do when they went through [technical training], but when they come to RED HORSE, they directly support the heavy and expeditionary type of construction that RED HORSE specializes in."

More than 500 RED HORSE Airmen are deployed to as many as eight or nine different Forward Operating Bases throughout the region in support of contingency operations and combat missions.

When not deployed, RED HORSE Airmen maintain their proficiency through "Troop Training Projects." Troop Training Projects are opportunities to train younger Airmen in the trade secrets of RED HORSE in preparation for large-scale deployments. Examples of more recent RED HORSE projects include an aircraft parking apron at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. and a vehicle parking lot for the Military Personnel Flight at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

It doesn't stop there though, we have done other taskings, such as "New Horizons projects" in South American countries, said Sergent Geigle. These are more humanitarian type missions where schools, churches and hospitals are built. 

Similar to a rancher branding his cattle, RED HORSE has marked their logo on products they have produced, a lone red horse, to reflect the pride they take in their projects.

"If you were to look at many of the arched structures on base, like the arched K-Span buildings in Ops Town and the Coalition Compound movie theater, you'll see our logos," Sergeant Geigle said.

Unity and team work is the driving force behind the RED HORSE group's success.

"The biggest thing that makes it work is the team work. We have so many different AFSCs that they fall under a big umbrella called RED HORSE," Sergeant Geigle said. "They all have specialties and crafts that they bring to the table; without each of those skills RED HORSE would not work."

"The diversity of skill sets and Air Force specialties creates great synergy that makes the RED HORSE machine work so well," said Maj. Dayton Nooner the 1st ERHG commander. "The variety of projects we are able to accomplish in theater clearly showcases this. The new Munitions Storage Area is just one of many projects we have been able to accomplish to define our 'can do, will do, have done' mentality. I am extremely proud and certainly privileged to command the fine men and women of the 1st ERHG. "