RED HORSE team modernizes Maxwell’s training sites



by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs


8/17/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Members of the 823rd RED HORSE Squadron have spent the past two weeks renovating field training sites for Maxwell AFB. The 17-Airman crew demolished tents, set up the Alaska Small Shelter Systems and installed electricity and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

Lt. Col. John Blackwell, commander of the 22nd Training Support Squadron, asked the skilled Airmen to modernize the Vigilant Warrior and Blue Thunder sites by installing up-to-date shelters and ensuring electrical and HVAC systems comply with current Air Force standards. "They're awesome, the best of the best," he said of the RED HORSE crew.

The 823rd RED HORSE - Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer - is assigned to the Air Combat Command and is an associate unit on Hurlburt Field, Fla. The squadron is self-sufficient and mobile, able to complete construction missions for the Air Force, Department of Defense and civilian community.

Master Sgt. Charles Smith, RED HORSE project manager, said the Maxwell projects reinforced their preparation and knowledge. "It gives our young Airmen an opportunity to train," he said.

For Senior Airman Ryan Peters, the two weeks provided him a chance to apply his skills and develop teamwork. "It's nice to get out here and do some work," he said.

The RED HORSE crew completed projects that had been tabled for years due to fiscal and contractual restraints, Blackwell said.

"It's a big deal for us, and a big deal for them," he said. "This is a two-year problem they're solving in two weeks."

Blackwell credits the combined efforts of the RED HORSE team, 42nd Contracting Squadron, the 42nd Civil Engineer Squadron and Ed Boykin from the Holm Center with ensuring the renovations' success.

"Without every one of them, this would have fallen through," he said.

About 3,200 students each year will benefit from the modernized cantonment areas. "These projects will significantly improve their training experience," Blackwell said.

In fact, the RED HORSE team completed the mission at Vigilant Warrior just in time for a Basic Officer Training exercise this past week.