556th, 560th and 567th RED HORSE Squadrons aid Andersen in Typhoon Mawar recovery

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Akeem K. Campbell
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Following the wake of Typhoon Mawar, members from 556th, 560th and 567th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) from the 622nd Civil Engineer Group, under Air Force Reserve Command, assigned to Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Marietta Georgia, sent more than a dozen Airmen, June 10, 2023, to provide assistance to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and the local community.

“Our initial mission was to construct munitions support pads, but after Typhoon Mawar occurred we pivoted our mission to backfill Andersen AFB active duty 554th RED HORSE, enabling them to conduct Task Force RISEUP,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Lawrence Shemetulskis, the deputy director of operations with the 556th RED HORSE assigned to Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Task Force RISEUP is short for Roofing Installation Support Emergency Utilization Program. The program was created to assist local families with homes that needed metal roof repairs after sustaining serious damage from the typhoon back in May.

While at Andersen AFB, Airmen from the 556th, 560th and 567th RED HORSE assisted with base cleanup and specific tasks. They cleared and repurposed 56 Andersen Elementary School rooms resulting in the integration of 120 children dislocated from the closure of the Child Development Center. They also cleared 178 tons of debris including the removal of 16 trees and demolished two 1,575 sq. ft. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) support shelters.

During the recovery efforts, members here in support with the three RED HORSE units worked through challenges.

“The weather was interesting,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Juan Moreno a structures shop craftsman with the 560th RED HORSE, assigned to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. “When we started doing the clean-up, we thought it was going to be just clean sunshine, but when we started it actually poured down on us, we were soaked from head to toe. The weather was challenging, but it didn’t stop us. It only meant that we had to do things a little more deliberately.”

Despite the challenges and circumstances, this mission did provide its benefits.

“I think it’s been a good opportunity to just network amongst each other across the units,” said Senior Airman Matthew Garcia, 556th RED HORSE pavements and equipment apprentice. “I also think it was a good opportunity to show what the Air Force Reserve side has to offer as well as help the people here in Guam and helping to get the mission back to where it needs to be.”

The base recovery efforts are ongoing, but once completed the 556th, 560th and 567th RED HORSE will pivot back to their original mission.

“That’s what we do,” Shemetulskis said.  “We come together as a total force and help one another, we bring total force integration because that is how we’re going to fight.”