567th RED HORSE heads to Arkansas to prepare for Beyond the Horizon
By Airman 1st Class Brittain Crolley, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 05, 2014
FORT SMITH, Ark. (AFNS) -- More than 150 Airmen from the 567th RED HORSE out of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, arrived for a weeklong field training exercise here, Nov. 2.
The exercise provides upgrade and preparatory training for an upcoming operation in support of Beyond the Horizon. The training also included Airmen from the 560th RED HORSE out of Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, and the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB.
Beyond the Horizon, conducted annually, is part of U.S. Army South and U.S. Southern Command's humanitarian and civic assistance program, which works closely with host-nation forces and civilian organizations to provide medical, dental, and engineering support.
RED HORSE stands for Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron Engineers.
"This week's activities will provide fantastic opportunities for our guys to demonstrate their wartime skills as well as practice the hub-and-spoke concept that RED HORSE typically operates in," said Lt. Col. James Ballas, the 567th RED HORSE deputy commander. "Our goal is to prove we're combat ready by utilizing all of our resources and specialty knowledge to remain self-sustained."
The hub-and-spoke operation requires a centralized control location to carry out missions and projects from forward operating locations. According to Ballas, the concept depends heavily upon effective communication to account for all resources and manpower.
"One of the greatest challenges for us as reservists is to maximize our time together in order to make communication more fluent and effective," Ballas said. "With more than 20 Air Force specialty codes working in congruence with one another, being able to exchange information and ideas is paramount in our success."
One of the primary objectives the units hope to meet is building a structure out of concrete masonry unit (CMU) blocks, more commonly known as cinder blocks. The structure will be similar to the project they will be tasked to complete when they support Beyond the Horizon.
According to the project manager for the Beyond the Horizon CMU block, Master Sgt. John Waizmann, an NCO in charge of structures with the 560th RED HORSE, the hands-on training the Airmen receive during the exercise will be critical to their success down the road.
"When we hit the ground in support of Beyond the Horizon, we want to make sure these guys know exactly what they're doing," Waizmann said. "We're not going to have a lot of time and everyone will need to know how to work proficiently to get the job done."
Units will complete a myriad of projects and training throughout the exercise, concluding Nov. 6, to ensure they're combat ready and able to support worldwide contingencies.