An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Celebrating 50 years of Can Do Will Do

     Fifty years ago, Air Force civil engineering became a full partner in providing direct combat support for the Air Force. In a 12-month period between 1964 and 1965, both the Prime BEEF and RED HORSE programs were established. The programs changed civil engineering by giving engineers a wartime/contingency mission.

     Prime BEEF began in October 1964 following a lengthy base-by-base analysis of the 43,000 military engineers and assigning each to a mobile team ready to respond to natural disasters, humanitarian work or wartime duties. Since their first deployments in 1965, Prime BEEF members have carried on the tradition of excellence set by their predecessors and have been a part of every major conflict or contingency.

     RED HORSE was established in October 1965 when the first two squadrons --554th and 555th -- were activated. These units were trained and then deployed to Vietnam in early 1966 to provide a heavier engineering capability than Prime BEEF. The first two units were so successful that more squadrons were established. By 1968, there were five units in Vietnam, one in Thailand and one in South Korea. There was also a unit at Eglin AFB, Fla., that trained RED HORSE replacements.

     Both Prime BEEF and RED HORSE engineers have displayed their "Can Do, Will Do" attitude from the start. In October 2014, we will begin celebrating "50 Years of Can Do, Will Do." This website has information and products for your use. We invite you to hold your own celebration of these milestones at your base using the items available on this page.

First 25 Prime BEEF deployments to Southeast Asia
Significant Prime BEEF historical events

Did you know ... What's in a Name?
Did you know ... The Father of Prime BEEF
Did you know ... Prime BEEF's First Deployment
Did you know ... Prime BEEF in Vietnam
Did you know ... Prime BEEF responds to Alaska flooding
Did you know ... Mission to Antarctica

CE Compass Prime BEEF 50th Anniversary video
Air Force Civil Engineer Prime BEEF article from 1964
History of Prime BEEF slides
History of Prime BEEF slides with notes