203rd RED HORSE Squadron conducts field training exercise

Four Airmen pull on an arresting cable belt

Airmen assigned to the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron participate in a four-day field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bryan Myhr)

A view of the 203rd RED HORSE memorial

Airmen assigned to the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron participate in a four-day field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bryan Myhr)

A leader addresses a group of Airmen

Airmen assigned to the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron participate in a four-day field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bryan Myhr)

Two Airmen review building plans

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Donaldson, 203rd RED HORSE Squadron HVAC technician, and Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Douglas, 203rd RHS electrical technician, review architectural plans during a field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment.

Two Airmen install parts on a trailer

Senior Airmen Michael Castellow, and Victoria Griffin, 203rd RED HORSE Squadron vehicle maintenance technicians, install an upgraded trailer wheel hub during a field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment.

Sign denoting the simulated location of Atlantis

Airmen assigned to the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron participate in a four-day field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bryan Myhr)

Airmen operate a command center

Airmen assigned to the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron participate in a four-day field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bryan Myhr)

A truck transports part of a mobile aircraft arrest system

Airmen assigned to the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron set up a mobile arresting cable system during a field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment.

Two Airmen set up a mobile aircraft arrest system

Airmen assigned to the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron set up a mobile arresting cable system during a field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment.

Three Airmen set up a mobile aircraft arrest system
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Airmen assigned to the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron set up a mobile arresting cable system during a field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment.

Three Airmen operate a water purification system
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Airmen assigned to the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron set up a water purification system during a field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment.

one Airman responds to a simulated threat
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Airmen assigned to the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron respond to a simulated chemical attack during a field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment.

airmen in MOPP gear respond to a simulated threat
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Airmen assigned to the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron respond to a simulated chemical attack during a field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment.

airmen in MOPP gear respond to a simulated threat
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Airmen assigned to the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron respond to a simulated chemical attack during a field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment.

airmen in MOPP gear respond to a simulated medical emergency
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Airmen assigned to the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron respond to a simulated chemical attack during a field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment.

airmen in MOPP gear respond to a simulated threat
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Airmen assigned to the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron respond to a simulated chemical attack during a field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment.

Airmen operate a backhoe
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Col. Mark D. Piper, 192nd Wing commander, operates a backhoe with the help of Senior Airman Seth Price, 203rd RED HORSE Squadron heavy equipment operator, during a field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment.

Airmen pose in front of a backhoe
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Col. Mark D. Piper, 192nd Wing commander, Senior Airman Seth Price, 203rd RED HORSE Squadron heavy equipment operator, and Command Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Amburn, 192nd Wing command chief, pose in front of a backhoe during a field training exercise on Nov. 16, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise to practice skills they would perform in a deployed environment.

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --

The 203rd RED HORSE Squadron held a four-day field training exercise Nov. 14-17, 2019, at State Military Reservation, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Airmen across more than 20 specialties of the Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers (RED HORSE) Squadron trained for tasks they would be responsible for during deployments. 

“The main goal is just for each [job specialty] to experience what they will do in a deployed environment,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey E. Getz, 203rd RED HORSE Squadron commander. “When we are tasked for a real world deployment, they have experience that helps us get ready [and] hit the ground running and not have to do training once we’re on site, so we’re prepared for our wartime mission.”

More than 150 Airmen participated in the exercise which simulated a deployed environment with a command center and three additional locations acted as off-site operating bases. 

“You give these guys a book of matches and they’ll build you a house,” said Command Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Amburn, 192nd Wing command chief. He isn’t the first to echo this sentiment but the truth is more incredible. Give these Airmen some land and water, and they will enable air power.

RED HORSE units provide highly mobile civil engineering teams to support contingency and special operations worldwide. They are self-sufficient with rapid response capabilities conducting independent operations in remote, high-threat environments. They can create or repair runways and erect permanent structures in a matter of weeks from concept and design to engineering and construction.

“The way that we remain the greatest Air Force in the world is through our training,” said Col. Mark D. Piper, 192nd Wing commander. “Doing real world training like this and watching our Airmen perform at the top of their game is really what makes us the greatest warfighters that America has to offer.”

Piper got to experience the expeditionary power of RED HORSE first hand.

“In December of 2001, I showed up at Al Udeid which was not really a base at that point,” said Piper. “I think the only people who were there before us were RED HORSE.”

A collaboration of active duty and Air National Guard units deployed in October 2001 to upgrade the base infrastructure including concrete taxiways, a ramp for aircraft and other structures. Now Al Udeid has a reputation for being a mega base replete with fast food restaurants, a swimming pool and, at times, host to over 10,000 United States military personnel.

Bringing together reserve components and active duty units to create an expeditionary squadron is a common practice for RED HORSE deployments. Another common practice is to cross train in other shops to increase the knowledgebase of the unit. Some units only award the iconic red cap, unique to RED HORSE squadron uniforms, after new members have done some sort of training in every shop.

“For example, bringing in contract services folks to the dining facility so that the folks that are normally doing that can actually go out and do some other things as well,” said Piper. “It’s a better exercise, better training, which ultimately gets us more ready to do the mission downrange.”

Readiness is a critical component to military strategy, which is especially true for rapid deployable units like the 203rd RHS. The Airmen have to be ready at a moment’s notice for deployments and are expected to have the necessary knowledge and skills needed to execute the mission.

192d Fighter Wing

 

Wing Commander portrait
Commander
Col. Mark Piper

 

Command Chief portrait
Command Chief
Command Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Amburn