An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Feature Search

RED HORSE frames for future

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
A master sergeant once said, "I think it's important these guys learn to build." At the time he was referring to Iraqi citizens learning vocational skills to rebuild their city. The same noncommissioned officer, now a chief master sergeant, repeated the same words, but this time in reference to the Airmen he trained in wood-framing right before they deploy.

Chief Master Sgt. Rodney Kilby, 307th RED HORSE Squadron cantonments chief, recently conducted training with the 554th RHS at Northwest Field on building wood-framed structures prior to the squadron's upcoming deployment. The hands-on class was meant to prepare the Airmen to deploy in support of contingency and special operations worldwide.

"In technical school I was confused in some of the lessons, and it felt like everything was just getting pushed along," said Senior Airman David Leman, 554th RHS structures. "Having the Chief here helping us out and teaching us one-on-one on aspects we didn't understand immediately has made learning the material much easier."

Chief Kilby, an Air Force Reservist from Barksdale Air Force Base, works as a building contractor in his civilian profession. His background in framing also includes taking part in the Village of Hope project in 2008, a project designed to teach Iraqi citizens vocational skills such as carpentry.

With time running out until 554th RHS deployed, Chief Kilby volunteered to teach the wood-framing refresher course to Airmen fresh out of technical school and those who have worked primarily with concrete during their careers.

"I've built many of these buildings downrange," said Chief Kilby. "This training is not only going to benefit the Airmen but also people downrange. They could be the next ones training others on how to rebuild their home."

Chief Kilby said that this training is for applying, fine tuning and going more in depth with wood-framing skills that the Airmen learned from text books in school.

"We are making sure these Airmen are ready to go out there and do their job," said Chief Kilby. "These guys are going to build structures completely out of wood. They build huts in Southwest Asia that could be as big as 3200 sq. feet ."

On deployments, there will be project managers that know the job, but it will benefit the Airmen to know how to execute the basics.

"Even if they couldn't be proficient in a short amount of time, being able to know the basics and have an idea and actual feel of how to do the project will help them in the long-run," said Chief Kilby.

Chief Kilby said that the structure that they built for this training is tiny compared to what they are expected build during their deployments. Anything from military housing to staff offices, RED HORSE Airmen build wood-framed structures both in home bases and austere environments.

With the experience from building downrange and teaching in humanitarian missions, noncommissioned officers like Chief Kilby continue to pass their knowledge along to a new generation of RED HORSE Airmen, making the Air Force's mobile civil engineering response force highly-capable in providing a plethora of engineering capabilities in support of missions worldwide.