Answering the Call

Air Force Reserve Command, starting this year, is creating 446 new authorizations for RED HORSE squadrons to address a lingering shortage for rapid-response civil engineer skills. “The combatant commanders requested more RED HORSE capability,” said Lt. Col. Joe Ballard, chief of the civil engineer’s readiness division at AFRC headquarters. “A lot of the work going on in Iraq and Afghanistan is reconstruction and force beddown.” In October, the command will start converting prime base engineer emergency force squadrons at Charleston AFB, S.C., and Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., to RED HORSE units. The Air Force picked Charleston and Seymour Johnson because the bases are near major ports for moving the RED HORSE’s heavy building and repair equipment and have excellent recruiting and combat readiness histories. Officials expect these new units to absorb some Reservists that lost positions under BRAC 2005. AFRC also plans to restructure existing RED HORSE units, moving the 556th RED HORSE at Lackland AFB, Tex., to Hurlburt Field, Fla., where it will associate with Air Combat Command’s 823rd RHS, and formally linking the 555th RHS at Nellis AFB, Nev., with ACC’s 820th RHS at Nellis.(Robins report by SSgt. Drew Nystrom)