RHS Airmen train unique mission skill-set during ANG Deployment for Training

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Meghan Skrepenski
  • Virginia Air National Guard Public Affairs
Airmen from the Virginia Air National Guard's Virginia Beach-based 203rd RED HORSE Squadron and the 202nd RHS from Camp Blanding, Florida are training and refining essential skills from March 24-June 24, 2015.  The Red Horse Airmen are improving their abilities and readiness by constructing a Facilities Systems Training facility here, under the Air National Guard's Deployment for Training program.

"As a trainer, the project presented challenges to everyone here as the "Tilt-up" construction is different than the construction we usually work with, it made for an interesting, dynamic environment to train in," said Tech. Sgt. J. Trevor Sprinkle, the FST project structures lead from the 203rd RHS. "It was a unique experience as a trainer when 3, 5 and 7 levels are all working together on a project learning how to complete it together, when you can't reference past experiences."

"Throughout this trip we have learned how to merge the RHS' from the 202nd and 203rd with the active duty operations and have discovered the best way to meet the needs of the mission," said. Lt. Col. Jaime A. Rios, 202nd RHS Director of Operations and Supervisory Civil Engineering, and project OIC.  "This was a very large project, for seven weeks the entire project was horizontal as we created the separate panels for the 'tilt-up' design using forms and reinforced concrete. Then in just one week, the construction went from horizontal work to vertical. After this the worksite became three-dimensional and we have been working on further development of the building and site."

This training mission presents the opportunity for the RED HORSE squadron Airmen to focus on multiple RED HORSE specific skill-sets: project planning, design, surveying, site development with cut and fill operations utilizing heavy equipment, vehicle maintenance and repair, project and troop management, logistical and personnel support, food preparation and lodging procedures, utility systems, and electrical and fire alarm installation.

"This training mission has provided the opportunity to train on the installation of a Fire Suppression System," said Senior Master Sgt. James E. Young, the 202nd RHS utilities superintendent. "This is a very unique opportunity for ANG personnel as we don't have the chance to utilize the skills needed for a FSS installation often. Within this environment, most of the 202nd RHS have trained outside of the scope of what they do within their own Air Force Specialty Code. A few of the Airmen have received specialty-specific training with active duty members from the 554th RHS for HVAC planning and design, and the 554th has also trained side by side with 202nd and 203rd RHS personnel, said Young."

When viewing the worksite as a whole, multiple skills are often demonstrated within a small working area, during a short period of time. For example, on the afternoon of June 3, Airmen engaged in site excavation and restoration to improve drainage, drilled holes for installation of an electrical meter, dug a trench to connect the grounding for the Lightening Protection System, and shot site elevation to ensure the LPS was 12 inches below final grade. Meanwhile, on the other side of the worksite, Airmen worked on site cleanup, installation of conduit for lighting, external receptacles and devices, assembly and installation of "eyebrows" for doorway rain protection, grounding rod burial, and reinforcement of seals on the roof to prepare for a large-scale concrete pour to finish the roof.

"The Airmen are using skills upon which they have previously trained and have adapted in a unique way as they train others with less experience," said 1st Lt. Jason C. Dodge of the Virginia Air National Guard's 192nd Fighter Wing Support Squadron Civil Engineer Flight and FST Project Site Officer. "During the past few days, we have returned the site grade to original elevation to prevent pooling of water and flooding of the building, trained on multiple pieces of equipment across multiple AFSC's and continue to perform quality control on the work already completed." 

"Overall, the training has been really good and it's been a rewarding trip," said Senior Airman Alexander "Bud" Nolan, a Water and Fuel System Utilities maintainer from the 202nd RHS.  "I have enjoyed working with the multiple RHS units."

RED HORSE stands for Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers; the unit mission is to provide a highly mobile civil engineering response force to support contingency operations worldwide.