554th RHS celebrates 44th birthday

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. David Sommers
  • 554th RED HORSE Squadron
The 554th RED HORSE Squadron celebrated its 44th birthday October 12. 

The 554th RHS, or Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron Engineer, is the oldest RED HORSE squadron in the U.S. Air Force. The squadron was first activated Oct. 12, 1965, at Phan Rang Air Base, Vietnam. 

Currently, there are four active duty RED HORSE units and several Air National Guard units within the Air Force. The 554th RHS is the only active duty RED HORSE unit assigned to the Pacific Air Forces. 

The squadron was deployed to Vietnam in 1966 and again in 1971, moved to Thailand in 1972 and then to Osan Air Base South Korea in 1976 where it remained until the entire unit moved to Andersen AFB, Guam, in 2006 as a tenant unit under the Strategic Policy Initiative. In 2008, the squadron re-organized under the 36th Contingency Response Group. 

RED HORSE squadrons provide the Air Force with a highly mobile response force to support contingency and special operations worldwide. As a self-sufficient unit, RED HORSE is capable of rapid response and independent operations in remote, high-threat and austere environments worldwide. 

Some of the capabilities include but not limited to cradle-to-grave engineering, aircraft launch systems, beddown of operations required to sustain war fighters, heavy equipment, K-Span, water well drilling, concrete asphalt batch plant, quarry operations, explosive demolition, airborne air assault, weapons, logistics supply, vehicle maintenance, medical operations and food services. 

The squadron recently completed its first expeditionary deployment outside of PACAF in 35 years in support of Operation Enduring Freedom throughout Southwest Asia. Additionally, some members of the squadron recently deployed throughout the Pacific theater in support of earthquake and typhoon recovery operations. 

Throughout its military history, the 554th RHS has been awarded 19 Outstanding Unit citations, 16 Vietnam Service Awards and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Award. A mere walk through the halls of the squadron speaks volumes about its history through its timeless photographs and numerous awards and citations. 

As a financial analyst and support superintendent with a non-engineer background, it gives me great pleasure and pride to be assigned to such an honorable and distinguished squadron. Its leadership, "can-do" attitude, dedication and care of its members make it the best assignment I have had in my 19 years of service, by far. 

I am very proud to be a member of the oldest most prestigious RED HORSE unit in the US Air Force. Happy Birthday to the 554th RED HORSE!