SEA huts at Wolf Pack replace tents, compliments of RED HORSE engineers

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea – Tech. Sgt. Paul Cucchiaran (right), 555th RED HORSE Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev., and Staff Sgt. Jonnie Jordan, 307th RHS Barksdale AFB, La., place corner trim on a new SEA hut at Wolf Pack Park in May. The $320,000 project replaced the usual tents constructed by deployed personnel and allows for additional electricity, air conditioning and lighting. (Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Demetrius Lester)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea – Tech. Sgt. Paul Cucchiaran (right), 555th RED HORSE Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev., and Staff Sgt. Jonnie Jordan, 307th RHS Barksdale AFB, La., place corner trim on a new SEA hut at Wolf Pack Park in May. The $320,000 project replaced the usual tents constructed by deployed personnel and allows for additional electricity, air conditioning and lighting. (Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Demetrius Lester)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- It's the 21st century and living accommodations at Kunsan's Wolf Pack Park, normally inhabited by those deployed in support of various Air Force Expeditionary assignments, have been brought into the new century.

Thirty South-East Asia huts, commonly referred to as SEA huts because of their popularity during the Vietnam War, were recently finished in time to house approximately 300 Air National Guard servicemembers. The huts replaced the long-standing tradition of tent construction that greeted arriving forces at Kunsan.

"Follow-on forces [to the Wolf Pack] will have a better quality of living," said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Slocum, 554th RED HORSE squadron chief enlisted manager at Osan AB. "Because of the SEA huts, these forces will not have to put up and tear down tents when they arrive. With an increased capacity for power, lighting and air conditioning, Wolf Pack Park provides for a more ‘civilized' living area."

The $320,000 project, with each hut costing approximately $8,000, began in late 2005 with a survey of the park to determine construction needs. With concrete slabs for tents already in place, RED HORSE teams began construction in January and ended in late May in time for follow-on forces arriving at Kunsan.

Once the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron placed a request to construct the huts, Chief Slocum said RED HORSE chose the project because of the benefit to both the Wolf Pack mission and the unit's training program.

"The 8th Civil Engineer Squadron asked RED HORSE [to take on the project] because we can do the work cheaper than a contractor, and it provided us with a great training opportunity for our craftsman to develop and improve their skills," he said.

But the work did not come from just the engineers at Osan. More than 20 personnel from the Guam ANG as well as 52 from the 307th RHS located at Barksdale AFB, La., and 56 personnel assigned to the 555th RHS at Nellis AFB, Nev., deployed in support of the project. The chief said in then end the project was a total force effort.

"We had many challenges [during the project] including the integration of Guard and Reserve troops who came over to help us with our construction this year," he said. "It all went well, but maximizing available skills and manpower against a tight schedule was a daily challenge. The credit goes to the entire crew for the great workmanship and tremendous teamwork."

RED HORSE is the term coined for rapid engineering deployable heavy operations repair squadron engineers. According to RED HORSE historical Web site redhorseassociation.org, the 554th is the only known "Total Force" squadron in the Air Force.

Chief Slocum said the work the RED HORSE team performed at Kunsan held true to its motto of "Semper Ducimis," or always lead.

"Everyone worked together very well as one RED HORSE team and we're very proud of what we accomplish in that ‘'one team, one fight' mindset."