The first RED HORSE training squadron is up and ready to run

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tiffany Del Oso
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 823d Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, Detachment 1, inactivated and the 801st RED HORSE Training Squadron was activated during a ceremony at Tyndall Air Force Base, April 26.

This is the Air Force’s first RED HORSE training squadron and their mission is developing and delivering integrated, realistic training and exercises to combat support teams.

“As the Air Force continues to move forward with its readiness posture, prepare for the future fight and integrate programs such as agile combat employment, the importance of realistic, integrated, relevant training becomes more and more important,” stated Maj. Craig Poulin, 801st RHTS commander.

The detachment was previously a geographically separated unit of the 823d RHS located at Hurlburt Field, Florida, but the two had vastly different mission sets. Department of the Air Force RED HORSE Squadrons are highly capable and deployable units of civil engineers. The 801st RHTS, on the other hand, has a specific mission to provide contingency support training not only to civil engineers, but other Air Force specialties as well.

“It’s important to recognize the mission we do here,” said Staff Sgt. Pablo Gavillan, 801st RHTS heating, ventilation and air conditioning contingency instructor.  “When we don the red hat, the word training embroidered alongside the red horse symbol will exemplify our capabilities.”

The 801st RHTS provides multiple sections of training to include Silver Flag, rapid airfield damage recovery training, the civil engineer officer field experience and the Air Force Civil Engineer Readiness Challenge. As a premier combat support training location, they also support research, development and fielding new assets.

The 801st RHTS hosts several courses and exercises for career fields like ground transportation, civil engineering, manpower, contracting and force support.

 “We are an integrated training site, which is one of the most invaluable things Airmen can get,” said Senior Master Sgt. Amy Gray, 801st RHTS combat support training flight chief. “It’s student driven training, so when they arrive it’s not just home-station training where they are in their own career field bubble. They have to integrate and work together to solve the problem.”

The shift from detachment to squadron allows the unit to report directly to the 800th RED HORSE Group and promotes an environment of maximum efficiency.

“We’ve always had a training mission,” said Chief Master Sgt. John Agnew, 801st RHTS senior enlisted leader. “We are going to continue that mission, but what the change from detachment to squadron is, its recognition and acknowledgement of the importance of our role.”

Approximately 3,000 students are slated to cycle through the 801st RHTS every year to participate in exercises and hands-on training with a team of highly skilled instructors. With the 801st RHTS activated, the training mindset will continue to allow these instructors to research and develop the most accurate curriculums, ensuring Airmen who train under them are combat-ready and prepared for any contingency support mission.

“RED HORSE squadrons build things; they build infrastructure, they build runways,” stated Poulin. “We are a RED HORSE training squadron and what we build here at Tyndall is confident and competent Airmen.”