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554th RED HORSE Squadron saddles up for deployment

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shane Dunaway
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
More than 50 554th RED HORSE Squadron members departed from Andersen March 1 and 2 to Fort McCoy, Wis. The Airmen will go through combat skills training for nearly a month in preparation for their deployment to Southwest Asia in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

The six-month deployment, one the largest single-unit deployments in Andersen history, will be the 554th RHS' first outside the Pacific Air Forces' area of responsibility in more than 35 years.

RED HORSE stands for Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers. The 554th RHS relocated here from Osan Air Base, Korea, in February 2008.

"It's going to be a great deployment for the 554th," said Lt. Col. Anthony Davit, 554th RHS commander. "We're developing and building airfields where there were only Army [forward operating bases]. It's not only going to help the Air Force, it's going to help our Army brothers, Marines, Navy SeaBees - everybody in our AORs. Life gets better [when] RED HORSE shows up."

To counterbalance the loss of nearly a third of its manning, the remaining 554th RHS members are currently exploring their options to ensure the mission here doesn't miss a beat.

According to Colonel Davit, the remaining 554th RHS Airmen will continue construction efforts at Northwest Field. Air Force Guardsmen from the 254th RHS and Navy members may be brought in to assist in training and construction projects. The Guam Air National Guard and Army National Guard also have engineering assets which may be used to continue the mission.

Despite the firsts associated with the deployment, the outgoing Airmen were unfazed and mission-focused as they outprocessed Feb. 25.

Staff Sgt. Ryan San Nicolas, 554th RHS pavements and equipment operator, said he's looking forward to gaining more experience in his career field, but it's not what he's looking forward to the most.

"You've got to do what you've got to do," said the Guam native. "Since this is one of the longer deployments I've been on, the thing I'll be looking forward to most is coming home."

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