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RED HORSE in the 21st Century

Members of the 202nd RED HORSE Civil Engineering Squadron repair the roof on a foster child care facility in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Members of the 202nd RED HORSE Civil Engineering Squadron repair the roof on a foster child care facility in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Senior Airman Julia Dodge, 820th RED HORSE, Nellis AFB, Nev., helps take down tents prior to departure from Grenada in 2000. RED HORSE supported the U.S. Southern Command’s (USSOUTHCOM) humanitarian exercise NEW HORIZONS 2000 in various Caribbean and South American locations. They were tasked with constructing a community center, barracks and a school. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Senior Airman Julia Dodge, 820th RED HORSE, Nellis AFB, Nev., helps take down tents prior to departure from Grenada in 2000. RED HORSE supported the U.S. Southern Command’s (USSOUTHCOM) humanitarian exercise NEW HORIZONS 2000 in various Caribbean and South American locations. They were tasked with constructing a community center, barracks and a school. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The 823rd RED HORSE Squadron (RHS) levels out an area and construct a new aircraft parking ramp support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The 823rd RED HORSE Squadron (RHS) levels out an area and construct a new aircraft parking ramp support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Senior Airman Pratt Vivekanandan, an engineering journeyman with the 819th/219th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadrons (ERHS), uses a global positioning system (GPS) rover and data collector to check the elevation during a runway construction project in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Senior Airman Pratt Vivekanandan, an engineering journeyman with the 819th/219th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadrons (ERHS), uses a global positioning system (GPS) rover and data collector to check the elevation during a runway construction project in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Air Force personnel with the 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group (ERHG) take advantage of the cool night air to repair sections of the runway at Tallil AB, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Air Force personnel with the 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group (ERHG) take advantage of the cool night air to repair sections of the runway at Tallil AB, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo)

RED HORSE personnel are trained and equipped to defend themselves on deployments. Here, Staff Sgt. Luke Oaks provided security on Contingency Operating Base Speicher at Tikrit, Iraq, as his convoy prepared to return to Forward Operating Base Marez after transporting construction supplies September 2006. Oak was with the 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo)

RED HORSE personnel are trained and equipped to defend themselves on deployments. Here, Staff Sgt. Luke Oaks provided security on Contingency Operating Base Speicher at Tikrit, Iraq, as his convoy prepared to return to Forward Operating Base Marez after transporting construction supplies September 2006. Oak was with the 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Tech. Sgt. Chris Belknap adjusts the spacing between roof trusses June 22 at at Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq. Sergeant Belknap is the site foreman with the 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron, one of the Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, or RED HORSE, Airmen who are forward deployed from Balad Air Base, Iraq and tasked to build four tactical operations centers for the Army's 2nd Brigade combat team, 3rd Infantry Division headquartered here. The 2/3 ID is currently running operations out of tents. The RED HORSE unit, made up of Air Guard, Reserve and active-duty Airmen, was requested by the Army to come into this "Triangle of Death" location because of their self-suffiency and for the multiple skill sets they bring to a project. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi)

Tech. Sgt. Chris Belknap adjusts the spacing between roof trusses June 22 at at Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq. Sergeant Belknap is the site foreman with the 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron, one of the Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, or RED HORSE, Airmen who are forward deployed from Balad Air Base, Iraq and tasked to build four tactical operations centers for the Army's 2nd Brigade combat team, 3rd Infantry Division headquartered here. The 2/3 ID is currently running operations out of tents. The RED HORSE unit, made up of Air Guard, Reserve and active-duty Airmen, was requested by the Army to come into this "Triangle of Death" location because of their self-suffiency and for the multiple skill sets they bring to a project. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi)

DAYTON, Ohio -- RED HORSE exhibit in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- RED HORSE exhibit in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

USAF Civil Engineering in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and Beyond

Following its successful construction efforts during and after the Southeast Asia War, the U.S. Air Force's RED HORSE (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron, Engineer) squadrons continued their legacy into the twenty-first century and the war on global terror. 

In the years after Vietnam, RED HORSE units participated in world-wide humanitarian efforts and contingency actions. They have provided assistance in the wake of natural disasters like hurricanes and tornados, repaired levies after floods, and supported recovery and repair efforts after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. Through numerous deployments around the world, RED HORSE personnel kept their civil engineering skills sharp by completing projects in underdeveloped regions. 

During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, RED HORSE responded by completing construction projects across the Arabian Peninsula. Among other projects, they supervised the construction of an air base capable of supporting five fighter squadrons in a matter of weeks, constructed munitions storage areas, erected facilities, carved out roads, and built taxiways and hard stands to accommodate fighter aircraft. 

After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, RED HORSE units again sprung into action to support first Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and then, Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. During Iraqi Freedom, they demonstrated a new capability when they deployed Airborne RED HORSE teams to Iraq.

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