New Mexico RED HORSE Commander Dies at Al Udeid

The commander of a New Mexico-based RED HORSE squadron died June 26 in a non-combat related incident at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, the Pentagon announced.

Lt. Col. James C. Willis, 55, of Albuquerque, N.M., died during a deployment to support Operation Inherent Resolve. He is the commander of the 210th RED HORSE Squadron of the New Mexico Air National Guard, at Kirtland Air Force Base.

The incident is under investigation.

“The entire New Mexico National Guard is deeply saddened by the loss of Lt. Col. James Willis,” New Mexico Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Kenneth A. Nava said in a Facebook post. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and the unit. Please keep all of them in your thought and prayers during this difficult time. May he Rest In Peace.”

The squadron deployed April 16 for missions across Southwest Asia, according to a Kirtland press release.

The Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers (RED HORSE) provides mobile civil engineering support for contingency and special operations.