820th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers expand Andersen’s capabilities

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Suzie Plotnikov
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs

The 820th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., have deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to expand Agile Combat Employment capabilities as part of a “Set the Theater” effort.

The squadron will set the stage for future operations in the Indo-Pacific theater by designing, repairing and constructing infrastructure projects at three airfields in the Mariana Islands enabling future ACE operations and the Air Force’s future operating concept.

“Setting the theater is essentially making sure that the maximum amount of bases that we can use are available and ready to go,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Samuel Parker, 820th RED HORSE project engineer. “That’s where RED HORSE and our heavy construction ability comes into play. RED HORSE is really one of the first teams that makes this base useable.”

The team prepared months in advance to be able to effectively accomplish their mission.

“We did a series of troop training projects back at home station,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Andrews, 820 RED HORSE heavy earthwork craftsman. “We milled and did an overlay of asphalt in our parking lot and a security forces parking lot to prep and get the training needed for these airfields that way we were ready to go once we landed.”

The first project they are working on is the repaving of a 250,000 foot parking apron, which is part of a larger effort to reconstruct pavements on the Pacific Regional Training Center – Andersen. This will expand the PRTC-A’s capabilities for future aircraft and missions that ACE will be operating under.

“As we expand into future construction projects on PRTC-A, we will be rebuilding taxiways, aprons and runways, so that we have the maximum amount of airfield pavement and the PRTC-A can be used in the event of any operations against our near peer adversaries in the Pacific,” said Parker. “For example, here on the PRTC-A as we make this pavement usable and expand that to other islands we’ll be one of the first teams in to make sure that the base is ready for aircraft to be able to land and operate on.”

The current team has approximately 12 air force specialty codes breaking ground, setting the scope of the project and setting up for the main body to come out, however, with Typhoon Mawar ravaging the island on May 24, it pushed the timeline further back.

“In general right now for multi-capable Airmen, we have a small team,” said Andrews. “We have power projection troops, vehicle maintenance helping out dirt boys, which they normally don’t do out here, on this project until the main body of pavements and equipment operators get here. We’re using that day to day.”

With establishing a new airfield on the PRTC-A and in Tinian, it gives multiple airfields of airpower to be distributed into the Indo-Pacific Command theater.

“The message this sends to our enemies is no matter where we’re at and what threats emerge, we’re always agile and able to pick up and move wherever the threat may be at a moment’s notice,” said Andrews. “We’re ready to go.”