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 Twenty Airmen from the 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron began construction on a new RED HORSE headquarters here.
 The 9,000-square foot complex will bring administration, logistics, contracting, finance, engineering and personnel support sections under one roof.
 The 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group manages construction projects throughout the U.S. Air Forces Central Command Area of Responsibility.
 
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RED HORSE Airmen build new home to sustain deployed operations
SOUTHWEST ASIA – Airmen from the 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron attach walls to the frame of a new RED HORSE facility here Dec. 27, 2011. The facility is the new home of the 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group, which oversees all Air Force construction operations throughout Southwest Asia. RED HORSE stands for Rapid Engineer Deployable, Heavy Operations Repair Squadrons, Engineer. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon)
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RED HORSE Airmen build new home to sustain deployed operations

Posted 12/30/2011   Updated 12/30/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


12/30/2011 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Twenty Airmen from the 557th Expeditionary Rapid Engineer Deployable, Heavy Operations Repair Squadron Engineer, better known as the 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron, are accustomed to sawing, drilling, paving and building from the ground up; but, unlike other projects RED HORSE is working on around Southwest Asia, one task hits close to home.

The task: consolidate all 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group Headquarters' assets under one roof.

"We began this project on Oct. 4 and there has already been significant progress," said Master Sgt. Christopher Belknap, 557th ERHS project manager and native of Rochester, N.Y. "This facility will allow us to centralize our operations and our leadership into one facility instead of the four facilities they currently occupy."

The 9,000-square foot complex will bring administration, logistics, contracting, finance, engineering and personnel support for contingency operations together to better coordinate planning and operations between sections, Belknap said, who is deployed from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

RED HORSE is a self-sustaining unit that can mobilize and deploy around the world at a moment's notice. They specialize in heavy construction, whether on runways, taxiways, new forward operating bases, water-well drilling or practically any other facilities warfighters need.

The 1st ERHG manages construction projects throughout the U.S. Air Forces Central Command Area of Responsibility.

According to Belknap, better coordination and planning means that the Airmen building bases in Afghanistan can focus on their job and know that the headquarters will quickly and effectively get them everything they need to accomplish the mission.

"The most gratifying part is building something for RED HORSE," he said. "Usually we're out building stuff for somebody else, but this one time we're able to build something for ourselves."

The RED HORSE units here consist of 26 different Air Force Specialty Codes, which makes the 1st ERHG essentially a small mission support group. Regardless of the AFSC, RED HORSE Airmen are able to work together to get the job done, said Col. Tim Lamb, 1st ERHG deputy commander and native of Savannah, Ga.

"We stand out as RED HORSE Airmen," said Lamb, who is deployed from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. "We have a lot of pride in our ability to go to a location that basically has no support whatsoever and be able to bed down at that location and begin construction to build the place up for whatever type of mission might be coming later."

Leadership and key players will soon have a place where they can work more closely together to coordinate the many diverse projects ongoing across the AOR.

"I feel honored knowing that my work is going to be here for years," said Senior Airman John Saigbah, 557th ERHS team member who is deployed from Seymour Johnson AFB and native of Lowell, Mass. "If I ever come back here, I can say that I put this building up. It gives me a real sense of pride."

The new RED HORSE compound should be completed in the spring of 2012 -- just in time for a new unit to rotate in and begin work in Southwest Asia.

"It's great to know that the next RED HORSE unit will be able to come in and utilize a building that was built by their peers," Belknap added. "That's a good feeling."



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