Reserve RED HORSE Squadron to be activated at Beale|
by Dana Lineback
940th Wing Public Affairs
2/7/2013 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Air Force has formally announced the activation of the 583rd RED HORSE Squadron here.
The mobile heavy construction civil engineering unit will be the sixth such squadron in the Air Force Reserve Command and the first on the West Coast.
The squadron will stand-up in March, according to a memo released by Headquarters AFRC.
The activation of the new unit coincides with the mid-January redesignation of the 940th Civil Engineer Squadron as the 940th Civil Engineer Flight. An official ceremony acknowledging the change will take place here March 3.
"Our current CE squadron will down size by about 100 positions with most of those positions being absorbed by the new 583rd," said Col. Patricia Brewer, 940th Mission Support Group commander.
"Many of our current CES reservists will simply transition to the new unit," said Brewer. "So, while they'll no longer belong to the 940th Wing, the majority of the members of the 583rd will be familiar faces."
The RED HORSE squadron's projected end-strength is slightly less than 200, which includes civil engineering positions, logistics, security forces, support personnel, as well as a medical team.
"In essence, a RED HORSE squadron is a civil engineering unit with an added mission support group element," Brewer said, adding that it will represent a growth opportunity in both manpower and resources for the base.
Previously, the 940th CES mission focused on base maintenance. In contrast, RED HORSE is not a wing mission, but a capability focused on providing the Air Force a highly mobile response force supporting contingency and special operations.
"Our civil engineers are excited about this change," said Lt. Col. Michael Onines, 940th CES commander. "RED HORSE is a heavy construction team, trained and equipped to take on large projects in remote, high-threat environments worldwide. It's a capability that combatant commanders have been asking for more and more."
"The deployment footprint of a RED HORSE unit is huge," said Onines. "As this new squadron becomes fully capable a few years down the road, they'll take their place in line for mobilization, and this base will see the movement of large groups of people."
The community should be excited about acquiring the new squadron, Onines said.
"Beale was selected because of the surrounding community," said Onines, referring to a highly competitive base selection process that first began in September 2005.
According to Onines, the base was chosen as the location for the new RED HORSE unit because of Beale's expansive real estate and the local economy's ability to support the unit's requirements for construction materials, as well as skilled tradesmen.
"This area offers a nucleus of heavy construction engineers to draw from," Onines said. "And there will be opportunities for these professionals to join the Reserve."
"The new squadron will also afford high school graduates from around Northern California outstanding apprenticeship opportunities to enter the construction trade," he continued. "If they'd like to join the Reserves, we'll provide them with the training they need to develop very marketable skills in all construction trades."
A RED HORSE unit provides yet another benefit to the local area, assistance in recovery from natural disasters. As opposed to most Air Force Reserve assets, RED HORSE units can respond to civil emergencies, such as floods, tornadoes and earthquakes. The unit is capable of everything from removing rubble to repairing levees.
"RED HORSE units bring unique capabilities and skills that are indispensable in both war and peacetime. The 583rd RED HORSE Squadron at Beale will carry on a proud tradition of service to the Air Force and the nation that spans more than a quarter of a century," said Chief Master Sergeant Stephen Nnodim, 940th CES Chief Enlisted Manager on special assignment to assist with the transition.
"In the very near future, you'll start seeing the distinct red ball caps with the RED HORSE emblem around Beale and a big red stallion monument erected somewhere on base, then you'll know the 583rd has arrived," Nnodim said.