Red Horse squadrons unite in the fight
By Staff Sgt. Andrea Knudson , 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 08, 2006
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFPN) --
Red Horse squadrons from around the globe are combining forces to improve the quality of life for military members and safety conditions for Airmen and aircraft in South Korea.
Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers from Osan’s 554th RHS have worked closely with Guard, Reserve and active duty units from the 307th RHS at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.; 555th RHS and 820th RHS at Nellis AFB, Nev.; and the 254th RHS from Andersen AFB, Guam, on several construction projects since April.
“In total, we have about 170 Horse brothers and sisters supporting us and rotating through Korea from April through September (this year),” said Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Slocum, 554th RHS operations chief. “Some are just doing their two-week annual tours, while others are staying on for a while, which helps provide additional continuity on the jobs.”
The engineers represent a variety of Air Force specialty codes, including civil engineers, services, vehicle maintenance, supply, communications, logistics and personnel.
“Red Horse is all about diversity. Although considered a civil engineer unit, only two-thirds of the squadron personnel carry a (civil engineer) AFSC,” said Lt. Col. Richard Sloop Jr., the Osan REd Horse commander. “The remainder makes up the support element that allows Red Horse to be a self-sufficient operation.
“With our Reserve and Guard component, we also pick up contracting, security forces and medical personnel,” Colonel Sloop said.
Completed projects across the peninsula include construction at air bases at Kimhae, Wonju, Suwon, Kunsan and Osan.
“(At Kunsan), we replaced old expeditionary aircraft arresting systems,” the chief said. “We (also) built access roads, drainage culverts and buildings to house the arresting engines. The new system is motor-driven and provides for a smoother, more controlled engagement. Basically, it improves operational safety for any aircraft with barrier engagement capability which better protects the aircraft and pilot during a barrier engagement.”
One of Red Horse's primary wartime responsibilities is to provide aircraft launch and recovery capabilities wherever the Air Force needs it, said Osan project engineer 1st Lt. Theresa White.
“It was great that we (had) the chance to upgrade Kunsan's barrier system,” Lieutenant White said. “We get to hone our skills for war, and the 'Wolf Pack' now has the confidence advantage during flying missions of knowing they have a better system in place to more safely support sortie take off and landing operations.”
Some of the many projects included two steel arch warehouse buildings at Kimhae that will provide security and weather protection for Red Horse and war reserve materiel; 30 contingency cabins at Kunsan to support air expeditionary force rotations, joint exercises and operations; and a shower, latrine and laundry facility at Suwon which improves quality of life for deployed forces.
“It’s great to have such tremendous support from each of these units. We called for help and they came running,” Chief Slocum said. “The Red Horse community is a very tight-knit family. The camaraderie among the people from all the units is fantastic. They work together, play together, and just blend very well to get the job done. Having all of us working together is definitely a production and morale booster.”
Colonel Sloop said the Red Horse success is a testament to the dedication, skill and ingenuity of each Airman.
“We must have integration of active, Reserve and Guard units as a core competency,” the colonel said. “The unit has been working this process and relationships for nearly five years and all involved believe this year is the most successful so far.
“As I visit each project site, I see nothing but Horse men and women working and learning together to achieve a common goal. The Red Horse motto is 'Semper Ducimus' or 'always lead,' which is instilled in each member of the unit,” Colonel Sloop said.