RED HORSE squadron moves to Andersen

ANDERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Being an Airman Basic and the highest ranking member of your unit is not typical. But with the recent announcement of plans for the 554th RED HORSE Squadron to to move here and the subsequent arrival of its first permanent party member, an Airman Basic is currently the highest ranking member of the 554th RHS at Andersen.

Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) provide the Air Force with a highly mobile civil engineer response force to support contingency and special operations worldwide. There are seven active-duty, Air Force Reserve Command, and Air National Guard RED HORSE squadrons.

RED HORSE units are self-sufficient, 404-person mobile heavy construction squadrons capable of rapid response and independent operations in remote, high-threat environments worldwide. They provide heavy repair capability and construction capability when requirements exceed traditional civil engineer unit capabilities.

The primary mission of RED HORSE units is to assess, plan and establish contingency facilities/infrastructure to support contingency operations and combat missions. Activities include rapid damage and requirements assessment, heavy damage repair, bare-base development, and heavy construction operations such as aircraft parking ramps and munitions pads.

The 554th is the oldest active duty RED HORSE Squadron in the Air Force. The 554th is also the only RED HORSE Squadron to be activated and forward deployed for more than 30 years now.

“The mission of the RED HORSE Squadron here on Guam will be to maintain readiness and continue to be a regional asset to the Pacific Command theater of operations,” said Lt. Colonel Richard Sloop, 554th RHS commander. “We will also contribute to the Air Expeditionary Force rotations supporting Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom as well as exercises in the Philippines.”

Once all members and equipment arrive, which should be in the next two years, the 554th RHS will begin construction of their very own home on Northwest Field, said Colonel Sloop.

Colonel Sloop explained the benefits of being assigned to Andersen. “The extended tours are going to be a nice change,” said Colonel Sloop. “The one-year tours at Osan just aren’t enough time for members to get to know each other and work together to their full potential.”

“The move is really starting to take shape,”said Colonel Sloop. “Now that the first 554th RHS member has arrived at Andersen and will be here for the next two years of our relocation.”

Being the highest ranking member of a squadron and coming in right out of technical school isn’t a common occurrence, and Airman Rich couldn’t be happier about it.

“I had no idea I would be in this position. It was hard to believe I was going to be the highest ranking member of my squadron,” Airman Basic Rich said. “I’m honored to be a part of the 554th RHS and I am looking forward to building our new home here at Andersen.”