VIETNAM MISSION HISTORY
PRIME BEEF AND RED HORSE HEAVY REPAIR
Limited personal observations from: 1966 to 1974
On October 11, 1965, the United States Air Force added a newly chartered combat heavy operations repair and construction capability in support of the mission. In addition, to the Prime BEEF Teams, which were utilized as immediate support of the mission in Vietnam until a period nearest to the second campaign of the Vietnam Defensive: March 2, 1965-January 30, 1966. Following this was a third campaign Vietnam Air: January 31, -June 28, 1966. The USAF activated Seventh Air Force in place of the 2d Air Division. The 1st Civil Engineering Group [1st CEG] was activated to coordinate engineering efforts in Vietnam with Colonel Kristoferson serving at Headquarters, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon. On March 9-10, 1966 the Viet Cong overran the Special Forces Camp in the A Shau Valley. An Air Training Command [ATC] Prime BEEF Team #10 was sent to Vietnam with a reporting destination for Nha Trang AB, but was diverted to Da Nang AB to work on barracks for the 366th TFW, the "Gunfighters". Weeks later this same team would arrive at Nha Trang AB as originally directed. The Team members while at Da Nang listened to the silence on the field radio as the Special Forces were killed. It was an unbearable reminder of the war, and of the dieing taking place over there.
The prior campaigns in a total number of seventeen  for Vietnam Service beginning with the first campaign the Vietnam Advisory: November 15, 1961-March 1, 1965. The 2d Advanced Echelon was activated in Saigon as part of Thirteenth Air Force and reported to the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Vietnam. The directive for the activation began the buildup of USAF presence in Vietnam at bases Tan Son Nhut, Bien Hoa AB, located 15 miles North of Saigon, Da Nang AB, Pleiku AB, and Nha Trang AB. Later the Military Assistance Command Vietnam [MACV] was activated on February 8, 1962. A few months later on October 1962, the USAF activated the 2d Air Division, which replaced [2d ADVON] which then became an air component of MACV. The continuing campaigns from November 15, 1961-through January 28, 1973 included campaigns for Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam-the Theater of Operations for Vietnam Service.
The years of March 1965 to January 1966 were pivotal years when the Vietnam War was beginning to expand rapidly throughout the countryside. There was an immediate civil engineering need for supporting the U. S. Air Force airpower strike force capabilities from inside the few existing Vietnam in-country airfields and air bases. The building phases and modernization tasks were about to begin. However, there were not enough capable and fully trained military civil engineering personnel having the necessary field experience or complex job proficiency in the various enlisted career specialist field to meet the many challenges for bare base equity, and also aid in the procurement of the necessary heavy equipment assets to support their needs.
Most of the newer military construction type projects built from the ground up had not been given much of a priority by headquarters for providing some necessary training opportunities for the active duty military forces at stateside bases, during the late nineteen fifties and early sixties. Since new construction at the more traditional USAF existing major command's air bases were mostly contracted out programs for new base housing, either Capehart or Wherry types of base living quarters, and that program alone as did many other Military Construction Projects (MCP) were accomplished and mostly programmed for construction by civilian contractors. On-The-Job-Training [OJT] requirements were necessarily hands on required enlisted skill knowledge activities that provided an opportunity only for learning maintenance and repair techniques. It was mostly learning from doing it. New construction and the layout phase of building new structural projects were absent from the equation resulting in limited training opportunities for the military specialist. And that meant those limited gaps in learning specific career field-training tasks were being performed dependent upon geographical location and types of air base wide mission support. A job order repair project, or a larger work order project was often limited in scope and size of a task having a short duration for repairs made either in concrete, wood, brick, or mortar. The enlisted forces could not rely upon their few acquired construction skills since they had not built anything substantial completely from the basic layout phase, nor either on the ground vertically. Often the few published technical training guides, or visual aid career training resources were not compiled into a single source format in any known reference book form to help educate the trainee so single source documents alone depicting examples of new construction study were limited to what was readily made available to them. Air Force Pamphlets and Technical Manuals were two of these resources, but those were often limited to central control and availability located within a base or squadrons own limited library. In short, the enlisted force was not well prepared to go to war.
Nevertheless, the Vietnam War would not wait. So in mid 1965, Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense, asked Dr. Harold Brown, Secretary of the Air Force the single most important question. He asked the Secretary, Quote: "If the military units in the Air Force Civil Engineering Squadrons could move into a remote area of Vietnam, begin then complete, a viable project to build permanent Air Force bases on which to conduct air operations and aircraft recovery as could and were the U.S. Marines, U.S. Army, and the U.S. Navy." Unquote. The response from Dr. Brown was immediate and to the point, but still incomplete of fact, or substance. It also was not a complete denial either. A promise was loudly and clearly stated and heard by all. Then the message spread throughout the engineering community worldwide a notice that an important decision was made on the spot, swiftly and decidedly, as he replied: "Not as yet, but we Can-Do and Will-Do! This short but brief statement said it all. For with his rendered comments to the Secretary, the United States Air Force leadership would soon begin a rapid planning session and undertake an innovation process discussion at higher command level policy events. Base Civil Engineering personnel were ordered to move rapidly away from its mindset of the more traditional individual Service's long held belief on the well known past established mission role for the use of Airmen in wartime. And such a change was made for the better. An idea made for now at least, for getting the troops deployed away from the more well established air bases stateside into a newer and more effective modern, but timely approach for troop usage when the USAF Engineers conducted operations and provided a new but most effective engineering support role in combat. But still it was only the beginning of a conceptual phase of how to provide some additional Department of Defense heavy construction support tasks while also going off to war, "anywhere-at anytime". Civil Engineering's most current mobility plan existed only for fulfilling the much shorter periods of worldwide emergency mission readiness capabilities, but even that was dependent upon it being well exercised, equipped, maintained, staffed, and provided with true and long tested task implementation processes while in deployment status with those actions also developed a long time ago. But times had changed events, and the Vietnam War had overextended the limits of the Nations military construction resources, which held additional burden and consequences if sufficient lack of engineering issues of equal support tasking were not resolved between the different branches of the military services. With limited benefits gained from not receiving any required full measure of proper utilization of the combined workforce that would play an important role in not sustaining a more robust active model of support by, which forces were dedicated and in place at the time for accomplishing demonstrated worldwide commitments of the nineteen sixties and seventies. The mission rudiment deployment method of the past fell short of expectations and it had to change immediately. In effect to a more advanced mode and method, also with a more modern applied way of thinking could produced a workable plan timely tested then implemented with much care and forethought.
Suddenly, it was as if this change in mindset had been duly undertaken overnight. All of the previously held thoughts and set aside ideas, and viewpoints would help to bring about more positive and improved changes in the way worldwide deployments were activated and supported. Some real good higher command level analysis and thought went into the making of a new workable plan along with the many detail facts of how Airmen were being deployed occasionally, in support of real world contingencies when sent to overseas areas providing support only to the most well established local areas of any potential conflict. The USAF leadership began planning expeditiously for the movement of larger numbers of the troops sent overseas to serve longer in real wartime. Eventually, entire squadrons of C.E personnel would be ordered to the Vietnam theater-of-operations acting entirely independent and self-sustaining when each of these seven RED HORSE squadrons deployed on their own living, building, and mostly operating in a primitive existence, but sometimes at remote site locations in hostile areas to build, equip, and establish fully a new operational combat air base. If this were not done proper and promptly, the collective U.S. military engineering communities of the combined forces of the Army, Navy and the Air Force military construction services would become bogged down with each other's own worldwide mission support type construction requirements. This would surely result in unrealized but urgent and emergency combat commitments?
The active duty military personnel and reserve component type of combat forces' most current build up, and then with their urgent deployments to Vietnam in late 1965 with a joint makeup of land, sea, and air combined forces then of course, close behind them came each services' own aircraft movements, which some increases in strengths had already began. Still there were not enough fully trained enlisted support personnel ready to deploy in theater and to successfully help with the largely immense C.E. tasking so necessary to aid in the furtherance of swift and continued combat actions for accomplishing the higher increased mission levels to sustain the numbers of a joint command's major war tasking. An effort conducted with any proven certainty, or with any combat urgency expected but instead were kept well within the medium range of having an intent for satisfying all of the commands heavy type construction needs during the build up of the ground forces. However, United States Air Force, C.E., Officers, Airmen and NCOs were urgently required additions and were necessary in support of the much greater air operations effort expected also for a renewed war expansion plan so critical to the United States Air Force Vietnam mission. This is the period when the original concept might have first appeared as the initial idea for a "Team Spirit Exercise", but one having a real world combat urgency to build "tent cities" that were of the uppermost of importance with a high delivery priority within the Vietnam theater of operations. Thankfully, this was also the period when all of the many command Prime BEEF teams were most valuable in accomplishing the basic military skills known as the bed down phase of providing temporary and permanent field housing and services. Minor repair and maintenance tasks were also standard practice and in keeping with the limited scope, and job knowledge of the already acquired skill levels of the entire enlisted workforces. A time when the officer engineers, carpenters, painters, sheet metal and welding specialist, electricians, plumbers, masons, water and waste operators, site developers, pavements, grounds, and equipment operators could be most effectively utilized mostly in Vietnam to augment the assigned host Base Civil Engineer personnel. It was another critical period in time, where successful C.E. personnel achievements were often demonstrated while working in unison with each other towards meeting the stated objectives. Many actual task completions well exceeded the collective daily goals of many a dedicated team's personal effort and commitment for working on a specific project's completion such as renovating latrines, providing aircrew quarters, the development and construction of additional permanent barracks structures, many of which were already under construction, and providing fresh potable water for cooking, drinking, and daily showers. Additionally, they also provided and built many wooden type two-hole seat crappers and had to deal with the daily human waste removal and sanitary burn procedures, and also provided base wide shelter protection bunkers for all of the assigned personnel.
Nevertheless, Prime BEEF teams filled the gaps magnificently between the early periods of contained warfare until countrywide expansion war plans were exercised due to the more rapid advancement and success of the Viet Cong in late 1965 when they made significant insurgent headway into the South, and until the implementation period and phase training of the more capable and highly supported RED HORSE Squadrons as they were assigned to Vietnam as skilled technicians, and having the heavy construction equipment necessary for total bare base development. The major differences between the two units were not the people but the additional training received and administrated in the field type training they received on the equipment, systems, and advanced techniques they learned then used as standard methods for new and modern construction. Both the Prime BEEF and RED HORSE assigned personnel served with distinction as professionals and many then served once more in both types of endeavor while serving another tour in Vietnam. USAF Civil Engineering is best served when all it's individual personnel are specialized career field trained and equally capable of serving as interchangeable members, which also are "BEEF" knowledgeable individuals multi-tasked to take on any and all missions assigned to it regardless of the risk shared or the sacrifice endured in the spirit of competition and comradeship.
For the blue suit officers and enlisted member workforce to achieve such a mission, they would have to suit up in jungle fatigues, wear spike protected jungle boots, be issued an M-16 weapon, and don a flack vest to meet the newly stated: Headquarters, USAF, C.E. Charter mission statement implementing a new organization and Acronym: Rapid Engineering Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron Engineering [RED HORSE] and of course, Acronym: Base Engineering Emergency Forces [Prime BEEF] teams. Maj. Gen. Robert H. Curtin, USAF, Director of Civil Engineering, in September 1965, directed that the Tactical Air Command equip and staff two initial squadrons of USAF, C.E. unit designations of the 554th and 555th CESHR Squadrons for training and their swift field deployment to Vietnam.
The more traditional military combat engineer's land forces of both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Navy SEABEES found they could no longer provide timely command support for any greater size USAF air base expansion plans, nor support any major expansion for increased air campaign commitments in any major monumental way from having many other additional commitments and urgent requirements themselves. The continuing heavy workload expected with each of the total combined services commitments now broadened to all areas throughout Vietnam so as to meet all of the wartime requests for support missions soon delayed the process. Something else was urgently needed. With some greater urgency to be expected for timely meeting the support needs of their own branches of military service each of them would become, not purposely, but nonetheless, saturated with demands made for additional requirements and maybe over committed with many other contingencies of some major project duration. So the additional requirements added up for more, not fewer, centralized work plans for building newer but necessary Vietnam USAF air bases in country it proved to be at the time unthinkable and unworkable.
Then to have these new air bases completed in a timely manner it would be an almost impossible task to ask of them in support of the newly deployed USAF, Tactical Fighter Wings. Support personnel were neither finite, nor limitless with having their own missions to achieve. With both the Army and the Navy's dual sets of computation each other's job requirements for competing personnel, supplies, and dedicated heavy equipment this would become a sudden degrading factor, and one not easily overcome. These difficult but necessary and timely additional workload requirements would all become major construction projects for the set up and delivery of air power support type activities personnel with those in assigned levels of much greater number increases reaching well into the thousands of new personnel required at any proposed new air base. Then with manning support activities provided like Base Supply, Security Forces, Personnel Offices, Finance, Base Civil Engineers, Field Maintenance, Medical Clinics, Services, Communications, Transportation, Base Operations, and the construction of hardened airfield runways, parking ramps, and taxiways. With the additional necessity to construct electrical power production plants, installation of BAK-12, aircraft arrestment barriers, build maintenance hangers, storage warehouses, fuels operations and storage sites, and a network of connection roadbeds built throughout. The new construction efforts would become most time consuming and tremendous if there were no comparable increases in skilled engineering support coming from other sources like the USAF Base Civil Engineers. The need for housing would once again become a major morale lowing factor if the troops would be placed in tent cities for longer periods of time, but those skill alone are well learned and could be applied expeditiously by the first to serve personnel on the Prime BEEF teams who would volunteer, then returned to Vietnam, in support of the many civil engineering squadrons as time between deployment cycles allowed, or were permitted.
After the very first initial eight hundred  personnel strength requirement was met, to staff and then man, the two RED HORSE Squadrons, the 554th CESHR [a/k/a Penny Short] and 555th CESHR [a/k/a Triple Nickel] in late 1965, and having trained then deployed in January 1966 to Vietnam, a pioneer era began. The 819th CESHR was also fully trained and deployed to Phu Cat Air Base in 1966. With the 823D CESHR assigned to Bien Hoa AB as well, and the 820th CESHR assigned to Tuy Hoa AB. A forth campaign began the Vietnam Air Offensive: June 29, 1966-March 8, 1967. Phu Cat Air Base was one of the newer bare base concept areas where a RED HORSE Squadron helped to generate some of these new beginnings of innovated thinking and learning to complete a test of "will and skill" to make a red clay hilly area into a thriving combat tactical fighter wing and USAF supported air base. The 819th CESHR along with contractors from RMK-BRJ, and 37th Civil Engineer Squadron personnel would in a very short time make this remote area of central Vietnam into a modern forward operations base located near, but not at the larger U.S. Army Logistics post located in the city of Qui Nhon, South Vietnam. The Headquarters 37th TFW building on Phu Cat AB was constructed by the 819th CESHR. Additionally, noteworthy and labor intensive for the 819th CESHR work team members, who laid out rolls of underlayment type membrane and installed forty-six acres  of Aluminum plank mats to form the parking ramps and taxiways on Phu Cat AB. What a remarkable endeavor this was and one of such professional realized quality of engineering work; if there was any doubt, for the completed achievement resulting in the new model tested of the USAF C.E combat demonstrated capabilities. The 819th CESHR also installed the BAK-12 and later added the BAK-13 Arrestment Barriers on the active runway just prior to it being completed. An 819th RED HORSE NCO, TSgt Claude Zimmerman was the NCOIC in charge of the runway barrier installation crew. The 819th Cantonment area was one of the very best in country. Individual single story "hooches" were bricked up with locally made onsite individually pressed laterite brick to form hardened walls serving as bunkers installed around each. Each single story building was encased in laterite bricks up to four feet high on the vertical sides and end walls of the structures. They served as personnel bunkers to keep out the shrapnel of an exploding 122mm rocket. Compared to the other bases in country, only Tan Son Nhut AB, located in Saigon, had better accommodations. The earthen clay of Phu Cat AB was dry, and very sticky when wet, but all in all it was a dusty place in Vietnam most of the time, but it was still the choice of places to be. Other than being stationed at Saigon, Qui Nhon was a nice place to spend some time and be treated fairly by the local Nationals. Missions change, wars end, and nothing really ever lasts forever, so on March 15, 1970 the USAF inactivated the 37th TFW at Phu Cat Air Base, and once again on December 1, 1971 inactivated the 834th Air Division at Phu Cat AB. It was a time also when the USAF began withdrawing civil engineering units in April 1970.
Colonel John B. Rose Jr. was the 819th RED HORSE, Commander, and also he was selected even before he rotated from Phu Cat Air Base in 1967 to become a 560th Training Squadron, Commander for RED HORSE at Field #2 Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. All C.E. personnel trained at Eglin AFB after the class of 1967-68. Colonel Rose and his cadre of experienced NCO leaders possessed real world combat training experiences that they shared with the replacement troops. They also shared with them the benefits and the personal knowledge of their own time spent in Vietnam, which the cadre and personal trainers conveyed during the July 1968, field-training effort for new replacements for the 1967-68-class change out at Bien Hoa AB in October 1968-69. Then later the training squadron at Field #2 was designated as the 557th RED HORSE Squadron in 1971 years after the 557th returned to the states from a year assignment to the Republic of South Korea.
The fifth campaign began as the Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase 11: March 9, 1967-March 31, 1968. The sixth campaign began as the Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase 111: April 1, -October 31, 1968. A call went out in 1968 from Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, and a short notice request for volunteers for RED HORSE assignments. DAVID S. CHAMBERLAIN, Brigadier General, USAF, DCS/Civil Engineering, Quote, "He stated that due to our recent call for RED HORSE volunteers it was commendable. The total volunteers against the command's quota exceeded 600 percent, with all bases except one responding. He said, "In the final screening we were able to meet our quota utilizing 65.3 percent volunteers. General Chamberlain continued, " Skill and/or grade limitations prevented us from using more," he said. This was remarkable since by this time many Prime BEEF teams had already been deployed to Vietnam, and the five RED HORSE Squadrons now operated in Vietnam. "Such was the positive response we received, and is the evidence of an outstanding initiative and willing attitude. It also contributed greatly to C.E.'s ability to accomplish a direct role in combat initiatives in Vietnam," he said. Unquote. Well! Our own incomplete Air Force History written about the period has not fully attempted to explain to my satisfaction anyway, this highest-level of response shown of a single personal sacrifice and commitment in support of the wartime civil engineering mission, and of the persons generating as many resulting achievements. Without a doubt the highly important construction projects that were assigned to, worked on, and completed forthright; the USAF Combat Engineer could, and did fulfill any and all expectations, and ably served well in the fifteen  Vietnam Campaigns of some major involvement with sustained endurance over the ten-year period of achievements each having some major historical importance. Most combined joint efforts would not have been as successful, and without civil engineering actions some situations may have ended badly with additional losses in aircraft, and more lives taken of individual combat personnel. Aircraft shelters and steel revetments alone saved many a warrior and their high value military combat assets. Repeated tours of duty made excellent use of a volunteer's acquired field experience, and the squadrons received the most from their practical applications of learned training opportunities. Such projects like the hardened Aircraft Protection Shelters [Project Concrete Sky] the first one was completed in Vietnam at Bien Hoa AB, by the 823rd CESHR, a RED HORSE squadron, commanded by Lt. Col. Leroy C. Porter Jr. Important yes, but just one of the many shelters that protected the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing's aircraft at Bien Hoa AB, and those at many other Tactical Fighter Wing bases each constructed or added to by the additional four RED HORSE Squadrons assigned to other bases throughout Vietnam. This one single standard example when it is applied historically, nevertheless, is a noteworthy achievement hardly ever mentioned, but we were in a tight race with RMK-BRJ, civilian contractors, and the other RED HORSE squadrons doing similar types of construction. One other important project was the Wing Headquarters building for the 3rd TFW at Bien Hoa AB, constructed by the 823rd CESHR. The seventh campaign the Vietnam Summer/Fall 1969: June 9, -October 31, 1969, realized the first U.S. troops to leave Vietnam on July 8, 1969, but the RED HORSE Squadrons were still busy at work in Vietnam. With more important projects on Bien Hoa AB like constructing a computer operations center facility, 3d Tactical Fighter Wing Command Post, base theater, post office, cafeteria, a 100X100 foot size supply warehouse, renovating a VNAF facility, and cementing the steep drainage ditches' bottom and sidewalls. The eighth campaign was the Commando Hunt Vl: May 15-October 31, 1971; United States of America forces continued to withdraw from South Vietnam. On July 12, 1971 the 35th TFW inactivated at Phan Rang AB. Shortly afterwards on August 31, 1971 the USAF transferred operations of Bien Hoa AB to the Vietnamese Air Force [VNAF].
On October 31, 1971, less than 200,000 U.S. Troops remained in South Vietnam. The ninth campaign was the Commando Hunt VII: November 1, 1971-March 29, 1972. By the end of December 1971 only 158,000 U.S. troops of all services remained in South Vietnam. The 554th CESHR RED HORSE Squadron was also assigned to Da Nang AB but was reassigned to U-Tapao, RTNAS where they would establish a Thailand Headquarters. In March 1972, the 315th Tactical Air Support Wing inactivated at Phan Rang AB and the 504th Tactical Air Support Group inactivated at Cam Rang Bay. The 366th TFW was in the process of inactivation at Da Nang AB and the 366th Civil Engineering Squadron was phased out and turning the engineering mission over to Philco Ford, a civilian contractor, including the duties of Bomb Damage Repair [BDR] of which six Korean Nationals members of the team would be killed, and the ex-marine American supervisor would received shrapnel in the chest area near his heart. Less than a dozen U.S. military contract monitors stayed at Da Nang AB in engineering to monitor contract activities. The Structural Superintendent slot would be filled with an ex-Navy civilian Superintendent. The Da Nang Air Base, Carpenter Shop was threatened with being blown up so the base security forces and the OSI evacuated, and searched the building finding no explosives. The USAF, Structural Superintendent's living quarters received a direct Viet Cong rocket hit for his part in compiling a list of certain Vietnamese, but not all-current USAF hired civilian employees, to keep their employment with the contractor. The Superintendent, fortunately, was out of his quarters at the time leading the BDR Team on Da Nang's runway repairing the crater hits made on the flight line. It was less than two weeks later when he departed Vietnam for Thailand when the six Koreans were killed. A second rocket hit the same crater and it exploded. The Tenth Campaign was the Vietnam Ceasefire: March 30, 1972-January 28, 1973. In July 1972, the military Structural Superintendent left Vietnam for an assignment at Udorn AB, Thailand.
On January 23, 1973, North Vietnam and the United States agreed to a cease-fire, effective within 5 days. From February 12, to March 29, 1973 following the Vietnam Cease-fire, North Vietnam released 565 American POWs. In Operation Homecoming, the 9th Aeromedical Evaluation Group flew the POWs from Hanoi to Clark Air Base in the Philippines. On August 15, 1973, the U.S. Congress mandated an end to U.S. bombing in all Southeast Asia. The fighting had ended for the American Forces. On April 30, 1975, North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam and unified the country. The 554th CESHR RED HORSE Squadron was the first to arrive in Vietnam, and the last to leave out of Southeast Asia from U-Tapao Royal Thai Naval Station. An advance party of eight 554th CESHR personnel departed U-Tapao Royal Thai Naval Station in March 1973 and took the "Horse" back to South Korea to reestablish the 554th CESHR new construction RED HORSE effort's build up in the defense of South Korea. The Headquarters, 554th CESHR came to Osan Air Base, South Korea in October 1975, but retrograde teams stayed in Thailand until November 1975. Headquarters, United States Air Force in December 1975, issued the movement order for HQ. 554th CESHR to leave from U-Tapao RTNAS, Thailand.
The many newer Prime BEEF teams and RED HORSE Squadrons, initially those serving on active duty back in 1965, did not share in or was given the very same historical credit for any longer past military history, or they could not take best advantage as equals of being a proven combat unit as were the proud members of the other two military organizations well formed a very long time ago in our American military history. Also those outfits were rich in military ceremony, tradition, and were often battle tested in other numbers of passed wars like were the Army Engineers and Navy SEABEES, but of course: Now today-We do! We did have one distinct advantage, however, whereas, we could make up the rules as we achieved them. We were never exposed to the sad old saying that: "This is the way it has always been done". There was for us no corporate memory to rely upon. Our leaders were tolerate and understanding with some elbowroom allowed for our own individual but vivid imagination and the development of some new innovations. They commanded and relied upon a much younger enlisted workforce, both in age, experience, and lower enlisted rank structure since the Air Force with exception of the flight line personnel; the support troops usually came up short more often than not on receiving some of those higher-grade promotions. This was most prevalent throughout the late nineteen fifties and middle sixties. Then at the beginning of 1966, Air Force promotions for the enlisted members finally broke loose as greater demands were placed on civil engineering, and for sustaining it's leadership role of tasking needs for the Vietnam War effort. It was not unheard of until that time in history for a career NCO in civil engineering to retire at twenty years  of service as Airman 1st Class [E-4], maybe a few more Staff Sergeants, or even less of Technical Sergeants. A Master Sergeant was still a rare lifer. It was a welcome surprise at the beginning of 1966, for the USAF to finally realize that there was much more needed in the modern Air Force than just airplanes, pilots, and the ones who would maintained them. The Air Force at the time still had a few Chief Warrant Officers as late as the early nineteen sixties. Change was very slow in coming, but for now, anyway, it seemed promotions became much fairer and balanced. It was a major step forward, but a giant leap for the USAF when the top two ranks of SMSgt and CMSgt were added. It was further necessary with a highly mobile civil engineering organization like RED HORSE since a 400-member personnel strength squadron when it deployed could be broken down into several detachment components, or OLA units, and deploy worldwide and still maintain it's team integrity.
During the Vietnam War, as early as 1965, USAF Headquarters, Civil Engineer was given a worldwide short response time to set up a training capability, staff, and then identify capable instructor slots from the existing C.E. manpower strengths, to identify the equipment necessary in support of a war mission and to develop the necessary training aids for the sole purpose of teaching heavy performance construction techniques, and perfecting these skills by learning the finer points of combat tactics for survival, and to provide for a field cantonment area to reside. A first time for being out on our own living in primitive areas until progress was made through a joint effort to provide a tent base campsite, and the willingness to defend it, and of us. Then having personnel being brought together collocated in more permanent housing called "hooches," then they went ahead with constructing workshops, and the many command facilities built simultaneously with an approved plan for a permanent air base layout. With the aircraft shelters hardened they would then provided more personnel protection bunkers. A sense of urgency was implied in every action undertaken to make essentially a city rise up from the topsoil in a region of the world, which was both foreign and hostile. With little more than our courage and a willing attitude to achieve we use our own strengths, and that of many others to work a seven-day week, if necessary, on twelve-hour shifts. Volunteers? Yes! "Many were, and motivated we would remain", throughout our own tours of duty.
Enough is not said, or well written about the fledging efforts of the pioneer Commissioned Officers who established the modern day USAF, Combat Engineers. Many who will read this, no doubt have a family member, a dad, brother, daughter or son, either officer or an enlisted member who made that all possible. Success is the envy of others to mirror its reflection, then try and repeat it. They labored without complaining and would not stop until the job was completed. Came back the very next morning renewed fresh again, both in body and spirit, to continue on with the seemly impossible, forever-continuing assigned work tasks, of laying out tens of miles of revetments, pouring massive cubic yards of batched concrete, drove the nails that built hundreds of buildings, hand dug the foundations of numerous structures, designed and provided hundreds of blueprints, planned for and ordered hundreds of thousands of individual materials, received, and stocked millions of individual pieces of construction materials, laid hundreds of miles of plumbing and sewer lines, strung miles of overhead electrical and interior wiring, painted millions of square feet of surfaces, both exterior and interior, erected hundreds of prefabricated metal and modular prefabricated buildings some of the same erected as many as three times in Vietnam, Thailand and Korea. Yet! Some if not all such construction projects were achieved under direct fire in a hostile environment. Living and working in Vietnam, a time when the sudden blaring of a base siren interrupted a good or bad night's sleep, a warning after the fact, that a 122mm Viet Cong rocket, mortar fire, and/or small arms rifle fire were directed at the air base. There was no time out in those early mornings, and the next duty day soon awaited us in a very few short hours. Getting back to sleep was sometimes an impossibly. Getting some people awake was a definite impossibility especially on the weekends, or nightly during an attack, but regardless of the personal effort encountered your buddy was worthy of you trying to save his life. Hard work and a glass of good cheer are not that interchangeable, or even synonymous when the body is so very tired and weary.
A promise the leadership made to the Secretary of Defense, I'd submit to you was kept well throughout the USAF Engineer's service in Vietnam, from the early months of the developmental phases, while maintaining our strongest efforts, unconditionally, a promise that would last even much longer, and is currently being well sustained even in Iraq and other foreign countries today. Moving from the concept phase as the original Charter member personnel set a pace, then made their own history, and they would establish a path to walk for all the others who would accept the RED HORSE journey. A stronger relationship is now bonded, tested, and proven many times over, and as well most conducted under fire. Not just this once, but also many other times in the past years of one's own military service career. Officers and enlisted men and women alike, as they were and still are, remain the competent leadership of our Nation's future tomorrows. Many have written to say, or will ask this soft-spoken-but single most often asked question, "Does anyone know my dad?" They will explain that dad never talked much about Vietnam after he returned home, or discuss what he did while serving over there? That is not to say that some secrets were hidden deeply within dad's soul as he left Vietnam. But he always proudly knew of and remembered well, his many personal accomplishment and he thinks often of the friends he left with, or maybe some that were left behind. Maybe he is still alive or deceased now, nor ever was he the quiet type, or maybe did not truly realize the significant acts of service he became a part of. With the long standard shift working hours, and the many hidden dangers he was constantly exposed to during his tour of duty. The answer most given to your often sought after question is a resounding, "YES!" I'd bet at least four hundred [people] knew your dad and were dependant upon him for their own inspiration and encouragement. Believe you me, RED HORSE people still are and remain a close-knit family, but we are not all avid Internet users. After all, this year in October 2005, we will recognize and celebrate our 40th year anniversary, a time to reflect on a promise kept to the leadership that we could do, and we surely did succeed at it well. It is a much proven fact, and it all began with a commitment, and a new Charter, for a mission statement we committed ourselves to fulfill.
Before the deployment of the two original RED HORSE, four hundred men squadrons, it was necessary to fully train the young officers in leadership skills and the assigned airmen alike. Each of them also required some practical field experience and greater specialty job proficiency. This would require much innovation made up on the run, from being in a tight spot, as conditions and war situations not yet determined swiftly developed, i.e., hostile rocket attacks and small arms fire in areas of remoteness, but continuing on with the work at hand in spite of the lack of supplies, or materials with such to build, having constant equipment breakdowns, and the continual needs for fresh water, and other personal amenities. The Logistical demands were monumental to initially equip, maintain, and supply the needs of the newly formed two forward deployed units in the theater-of-operations as active combat construction squadrons. Living in any combat zone is arduous enough, but the daily grind of the constant heat, insects, and actions of a hostile enemy and primitive living conditions soon takes a toll. Recalling such memories, I take much pride and joy in remembering as I do, a very few people out of the many thousands. I can still with some exceptions recall their individual personal achievements. It may never become a complete personnel listing without some help from others, but maybe some credit should be given to that unique life, and one that my memory and the written records can still justify. Hopefully, it will be received as good will to those who still seek answers about their own family members while they did serve time in Southeast Asia. Collectively, everyone serving over there contributed immensely for achieving the mission. Our commanders were all exceptional leaders, and our continuing history should it never be forgotten, replaced, edited out, or commingled with the flavor of the more significant military engineers like the two other U.S. military branches of the armed forces. We truly do standout now both in our personal sacrifices, and with the many Vietnam achievements and successes as their co-equal partners in military service now better known today in the USAF as the Combat Engineers.
The mission is usually a statement of the objectives, however, it is the people who achieve-then exceed the unexpected. It is also the people that make any mission so successful. People really do complement each other well with only their wit and combined talent traits while also serving under effective leadership, utilizing stick-to-itiveness, tenacious commitment, courage, and resolve. One cannot report on a single achievement without mentioning people's names who had a major part and also played a greater significant role in the tasking, which when the task was completed, became so successful. When anyone least of all myself begins to compile such a listing of the names of these people, but remembers only a very select few out of the many thousands of people that made the mission possible. At first glance, the come up on the short sided view often taken is a poorly recognizable attempt that falls short of totally receiving any personal satisfaction for completeness; both in a lack of corporate memory, and the obvious selective processes by association, and of being together over long periods of time. The key to any such attempt to succeed is to singularly attempt to record the professional deeds and works of those people that one can personally document as having being there, and were a part of a larger example of individual achievement with each person's name an entry in the pages of time becoming a representative of the period, but still the effort is, admittedly, still an incomplete record.
This broad statement is made in the hopes that others will some day-somehow work harder to continue to build on, and add too much more available information with the goal being as such a total collective effort for capturing and summarizing additional data collection. It will; therefore, continue to provide a more through historical portfolio of shared combined information with references for documenting completely the final chapters known as the Southeast [Vietnam] and Northeast Asia [Korea] civil engineering support efforts from known RED HORSE personnel serving in those two areas. The following people's names are but some of those who I remember:
***DA NANG AIR BASE, VIETNAM, Prime BEEF Team #10 [ATC] NHA TRANG AIR BASE, VIETNAM-January 30, 1966-June 13, 1966.
SSgt DAVIS, Wayland B, SSgt PUDDER, Roy J, A1C ANSON, Carl E., HESS, Steven L. and POWELL, Frank E., of Mather Air Force Base, California served in Vietnam. The following comments are taken from Department of the Air Force, Headquarters 35TH Combat Support Group [PACAF] APO San Francisco 96337, Walter T. Eisenbrown, Colonel, USAF, Commander: I Quote him when he said, "All of the work effort of this team was directed towards building wooden barracks for base personnel and assisted materially in alleviating a critical housing shortage. The entire team displayed the highest degree of spirit and cooperation in accomplishing a maximum of construction during this relatively short period of time. It is, indeed, gratifying to receive the support given by these individuals and I wish to make you aware of the appreciation of the 35th Combat Support Group." Unquote. This letter was indorsed by: Headquarters, 3535TH Navigator Training Wing [ATC] Mather Air Force Base, California 95655, Carl L. Miller, Colonel, USAF, Base Commander along with 3535th Civil Engineering Squadron, Geoffrey R. Ford, Colonel, USAF, Base Civil Engineer also Joseph C. Schwaab Jr., Lt. Col., USAF, Chief, Control Center. Additional Endorsement: to APR. SSgt Davis did an outstanding job during this reporting period by supervising indigenous personnel and obtaining a tremendous work effort from them. He is very dependable, and always succeeds even under unusual circumstances. I highly recommend he be promoted at the first opportunity. Hanson A. Baden, Lt. Colonel, USAF, Headquarters, 7th Air Force, OIC Prime BEEF, Vietnam, 14, June 1966. Some other members of Prime BEEF ATC, Team #10 was: SSgt HALE, Sgt GALLAGHER, Tom, and SSgt COOK, William.
***PHU CAT AIR BASE, VIETNAM, 37th Civil Engineer Squadron, [PACAF] March 1, 1967 to November 1, 1967. T.W. HENDERSON, Colonel, USAF, Commander
MSgt WEAVER, Russell E, SSgt DAVIS, Wayland B. [NCOIC], and Sgts. GRIFFIN, Author D, ODOM, Dewey C., STONER, Ronald G, and Airman JONES. All members of the team performed maintenance on BAK-12 Arrestment Barrier Systems. Responsible to the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing, Commander for making the daily, weekly, and monthly checks to maintain and insure aircraft arresting capability. They performed retraction after an engagement and inspected the equipment in accordance with Technical Orders, Checklists, and Operational Maintenance Instructions. The team functioned under emergency situations without hesitation and with such accuracy that the Arrestment Barriers performed well and were always maintained at their maximum capabilities. The Barrier Maintenance Team never lost an aircraft, or any pilots, either flying in the F-100 or F-4 fighter aircrafts, which sometimes-sustained major aircraft battle damage. On such an occasion, an F-100 USAF aircraft, aborted on take off after failing to reach air speed and the pilot had to attempt an engagement at the speed of 163 knots, loaded with external stores and at capacity fuel load. A safe arrestment capability for this aircraft and others was in part due to the rational thinking and daily maintenance performed on the equipment by the team in support of the air combat mission. Other 37th CES members were SSgts PUDDER, ROY J. and COOK, William. Phu Cat Air Base was newly constructed by the 819th CESHR [RED HORSE], RMK, BRJ, contractors, and maintained by the 37th CES, T.W. Henderson, Colonel, USAF, and Commander. Other members of the 819th CESHR SQ. were TSgt ZIMMERMAN, Claude [NCOIC] responsible for installing the new BAK-12s, and SMSgt PATCH, James, [NCOIC] Pavements. The 819th CESHR personnel built their own barracks compound, the 37th TFW, Headquarters building, and prepared the soil and laid out 46 acres of membrane and laid down AM-2 Aluminum mat planking for taxiways and parking ramps.
***BIEN HOA AIR BASE, VIETNAM, 823rd CESHR Sq. [RED HORSE], LEROY C. PORTER Jr., Lt. Colonel, USAF, Commander- October 1, 1968 to November 1969.
DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, HEADQUARTERS TACTICAL AIR COMMAND, LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, VIRGINIA 23365. A letter dated, February 12, 1968 from: DAVID S.CHAMBERLAIN, Brigadier General, USAF, DCS/Civil Engineering stated that the response by Civil Engineering personnel to our call for RED HORSE volunteers was commendable. The total volunteers against this command's [TAC] quota exceeded 600 percent, with all bases except one responding. This reaction certainly displays an exemplary esprit by personnel of your command and an outstanding willingness to serve when called. In the final screening we were able to meet our quota utilizing 65.3 percent volunteers. Skill and/or grade limitations prevented us from using more. Please convey my personal appreciation to all who volunteered. Their unselfish response to our hurried call for RED HORSE volunteers is worthy of note. The letter was addressed to JOHN F. ANDERSON, COLONEL, Base Commander, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Indorsed by Colonel Anderson, Headquarters, 474th Combat Support Group [TAC], Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada 89110. Additionally, indorsed by MAURICE R. HARLAN, Major, USAF, Commander, Base Civil Engineer that read: To SSgt DAVIS, Wayland B., your positive response on a short notice to volunteer for a RED HORSE assignment is evidence of your outstanding initiative and willing attitude. This attitude certainly helps us in civil engineering to convey the desire of our ability to accomplish our daily responsibilities. Even though I would reluctantly lose your services to this organization, I sincerely appreciate your willingness to serve wherever needed.
The class of 1968-69, in the month of July trained at Eglin Air Force Base before being deployed to Bien Hoa Air Base in October 1968. The entire team flew out of Eglin AB on a C-141, USAF Airplane. Every aspect of our tour of duty was exceptional and numerous projects of major importance to include the concrete hardened new 3rd TFW, Wing Headquarters building. SSgt THROWER, Robert O., was the Project Manager. SSgt. COOK, Wilson L., an equipment operator, was on Prime BEEF Team #10 now back serving with RED HORSE. Our Medics' were SSgt. BURNS, Harold S. and TSgt. HRICZU, Andras; they were two of the best medical technicians any squadron could have hoped for in a combat zone. TSgt Hriczu was also a personal friend and we took our R&R together in Bangkok, Thailand in 1969. SSgt. GRAVES, Troy G, was also one of the more outstanding members of the squadron, and as a Site Developer he spent much of his time designing projects. Troy also spent many weekends helping me construct a two-story wooden building for a local orphanage in the city of Bien Hoa. He also took R&R with TSgt. Hriczu and me. Team members erected and covered seven  steel wonder arch aircraft protection shelters with 15" inches of a solid concrete mass. Each team member of the assembly crew and the concrete finishing crew's efforts contributed immensely to the 823rd CESHR SQ. being the first squadron to completely cover one with a conglomerate of Ferro-concrete, a steel shelter in the entire Republic of Vietnam. SSgt DAVIS, Wayland B. [NCOIC] and Sgt WATTS [ASSITANT NCOIC] were both in-charge of the Masonry and Concrete Section. This completed task brought to the squadron a visit by George S. Brown, General, USAF, Commander, 7th Air Force, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon, South Vietnam. SSgt BENNET, Coy, worked on and completed other projects to renovate aircrew living quarters. SSgt McWHORTER, James P. a Project Manager to construct a new base theater. There were also a base cafeteria, post office, computer and data processing center, and base supply storage warehouse constructed. Many Viet Cong rocket attacks were fired at Bien Hoa Air Base during this tour of duty. The North Vietnamese Regulars [NVR] and [VC] attacked the Army's large Logistical base, located at Long Bien Army Post, but they were defeated in one day, and later surrendered to the South Vietnamese Army. The following is a partial listing of 823d CESHR Squadron members in Class 1968-1969:
A1C Billy J. Ayers MSgt. Lloyd L. Hart SSgt. John J. Blowers
A1C Joseph E. Mengali Sgt. Mario Salazar Jr. SSgt. Pierre P. Rivard
AMN Morris C. Phillips Sgt. Peter W. Feest Sgt. Harry J. Sudyk Jr.
SSgt. Samuel C. Alexander Sgt. J. H. MacDonald SSgt. James A. Southern
TSgt. Jerry V. Avalos TSgt. Donald M. Kirby A1C James. E. Ards
TSgt. W. D. McCumbers TSgt. Jerry S. Jackson SSgt. David E. Kirsch
Sgt. William K. Hager SSgt. Robert O. Thrower Sgt. Charles J. Davis
Sgt. David N. McGraw SSgt. Wayland B. Davis A1C Wayne B. Mock
SSgt. Clyde Phelps SSgt. Richard A. Pauluh A1C Paul S. Wimmer
Sgt. Andy C. Dennis Sgt. Rayburn Massengale MSgt Edgar L. Barker
Sgt. Edwin J. Walker Sgt. Aurbery M. Smith SSgt. Frederick R. Hoblin
A1C William E. Lockwood Sgt. Roger R. Fontaine SSgt. Leroy E. Jones
A1C R. C. Clayton Jr. A1C Edward D. Ferrell SSgt. Eugene R. Brown
A1C Larry E. Robbins A1C Vernon Reed Sgt. Eddie Goins
A1C Michael Bergen A1C Peter J. Cleaveland Sgt. Michael W. Coyner
A1C William J. Wilson Sgt. Richard M. Babicki A1C Roland B. Hill
A1C Richard P. Schultz A1C Sam S. Leggio Jr. A1C John M. Odgen
SSgt. Haywood C. McGhee SSgt. B. Figueroamejias SSgt. P. R. Keaton
Sgt. B. G. Erickson A1C Lauren C. Dupuis Sgt. Don R. Gravley
SSgt. David R. Rozzell Sgt. Kit J. Galgano Sgt. Vernon D. Adams Jr.
SSgt. Coy H. Bennett AMN Manuel C. Aguilar TSgt. Thomas P Bishop
A1C David L Allison SSgt. George A. Padfield AlC James E. Amiot
SSgt. Arthur Jenkins A1C James V. Andrews SSgt. Howard Pressley
Sgt. John T. Archer SSgt. Earl G. Hamby Sgt. Virgil N. Archibald
Sgt. Kent N. Rotering SSgt. Francis B. Wilson Sgt. Robert L Brekke
SSgt. Richard L. Aswegan TSgt Francis B. Miller TSgt. Eddie G. Lee
TSgt.Frederick W.Bradfield SSgt. Charles E. Baccus SSgt, Frank W. Banks
TSgt. Carl W. Myers Sgt. Emmett V. Batten Jr SSgt. John F. Bauman
CMSgt. Leonard D. Hasselbring TSgt,Wilber C.Smith Sgt. Paul E. Myers
TSgt. Guadalupe R. Reyes SSgt. Sammie L. Bentley SSgt. Jerry Berlingeri
Sgt. Dale G. Binning TSgt. Charles L Sanders A1C Anthony Salado
SMSgt. Lester C. Layman Jr. SSgt.Jean C. Bissett Sgt. Larry R. Birdwell
A1C Daniel A. Bouffard SSgt. Rex D. Stephens A1C Gerald E. Brown
SSgt. William M. Branch Jr. TSgt. Joseph B. Wise SSgt. Jesse E. Brown
Sgt. Edward R. Brenneman SSgt. Windle T. Briggs Sgt. Charles L. Buis
A1C Billy C. Burgress SSgt.Robert M. Ranney A1C Gerald L. Casey
SSgt. Leslie A. Burgess SSgt. Harold S. Burns TSgt. Andras Hriczu
Sgt. William E. Kinard Sgt. Claude Caudill SSgt. Wilson L. Cook
SSgt. David Cervantes Sgt. Robert E. Channell Sgt. Robert W. Coll
TSgt. Frank J. Stagnitta Sgt. Michael J. Christy SSgt. Michael Scuver
Sgt. Thomas L Clapper SSgt. David W. H. Clay A1C Eddie M. Criddle
MSgt. Richard C. Schwan A1C Larry V. Corsi Sgt, Billy F. Reeves
SSgt. Teodoro M. Cruz Sgt. Richard P, Clemons TSgt. James E. Lewis
SSgt. Walter W. Deitrick SSgt. Leo Deblose Jr. A1C John J. Devlin
TSgt. Robert E. Hale Sgt. Gervase P. Depuydt SSgt. Doyle P. Ellis
TSgt. Henry R. Nofsker A1C Walter Donaldson Jr. A1C Lloyd W. Estes
SSgt James P. McWhorter SSgt. Dennis L. Edwards SSgt. Arthur Jenkins
Sgt Jimmy R. Elliott Sgt. Edward Miyoda A1C Larry Hammons
A1C Michael W. Goul A1C Larry A. Wentz Sgt. Donald F. Watkins
A1C Melvin Watkins A1C Carroll M. King A1C David Hurrle
Sgt. Edwin J. Walker A1C Richard P. Schultz Sgt. James W. Sands
A1C Benjamin C. Tyler Sgt. Charles A. Rautiola A1C William T. Jones
A1C Arthur P. Westrem MSgt. William S. Titterington A1C Jack N. Goodwin
A1C Donald G. Holdahl Sgt. William W. Coyner Sgt. Thomas E. Glover
Sgt. John T. Lynch Sgt. Vernon D. Adams Jr. A1C Patrick E. Inman
A1C James M. Wood Sgt. Elbert L. Kennemer Jr. Sgt. James L. Pollard
A1C George T. Reynolds TSgt. Donald E. Frueh A1C Michael F. Furey
Sgt. Douglas D. Owens A1C Arthur L. Woicekowski Sgt. Malcom W. Mize
A1C Larry A. Renicker SSgt. Robert L. McStraw SSgt. Troy E. Graves
CMSgt Mahar, Chief, Operations
Lt. Col. Leroy C. Porter Jr. Lt. Col. Clinton E. Pratt 1ST Lt. William E. Craig
1ST Lt. Roscoe J. Bell Capt. Paul Y. Thompson Capt. Robert E. Blackwood
1ST Lt. Richard L Edwards Capt. Charles R. Price Capt. Daniel U. Owens
Capt. Hulic B. Ratterree 1ST Lt. Robert A. O’sullivan Capt. Walter A. Collins
***DA NANG AIR BASE, VIETNAM, 366th CIVIL ENGINEERING SQUADRON, JAMES B.ARGERSINGER, Colonel, USAF, Commander, September 3, 1971-July 8, 1972.
This was the year when just running to the bunker during an attack was not an option. Some of us had other duties to perform when the base came under attack. The 366th Tactical Fighter Wing the "Gunfighter" pilots needed a serviceable flight line upon which to take off and return back to if they were to return effective fire back upon the attacking enemy. The 366th CES made that possible by clearing away debris and filling in the major damaged pothole marked areas made on the active runway and taxiways and patched the deep craters left by exploding mortars, or 122mm rockets. Several resulting large craters, or smaller pavement damage made from direct hits; the enemy would often try and prevent aircraft flight from being accomplished. Critical takeoff and landing areas on the active runway were necessary and that is where the twelve engineers of the 366th CES went to work. The first barrage of 122mm rockets usually happened, either late at night, or in the early morning hours. After a normal days work ended, the twelve men continued their volunteer duties serving on the Bomb Damage Repair Team [BDRT]. We maintained two teams of six men per team, but usually since there was no other way to tell of any initial damage estimates during an attack both teams were dispatched to the runway on Da Nang Airfield. The NCOIC, and his additional team members were all volunteers mostly men assigned to the Structural Section. This was a dangerous job and a stressful one; but men of courage and high devotion were selectively chosen. The NCOIC team leader handpicked each member. The previous BDR team members all from the Pavements Section required a break away from those long nights, and the nerve-racking minutes and hours spent while they performed well under seemingly, and at times forever longer lasting stress. The Structural Team would not hesitate for a second to provide them some relief. Some other members of the squadron listed below did just that when we were asked. Under the direction of the NCOIC, TSgt. DAVIS, Wayland B, Structural Superintendent, TSgt CRANE, William, Assistant Chief, Bomb Damage Repair Team, and men like: Staff Sergeants SPILLMAN, Dale O, SSgt. LLOYD, Joseph D, SSgt. MARTIN, Johnnie, Sergeants STATEN, George A, Sgt. WASHINGTON, James M, Sgt.ACKLIN, Daniel R, Sgt. NORRIS, Sgt. SHRAWDER, and Sgt. AUSTIN, Gregory J, Sgt. GARNETT, Thomas W., Sgt. LUBICH, Edward J., TSgt GARZA, NCOIC, Carpenter Shop, and team member Sgt. COBB were all volunteers. The names of any other team members are not well known, or remembered at this time. All the above members were made honorary members of the 366th TFW, "GUNFIGHTERS of DA NANG", a certificate was presented, and it was signed by George W. Rutter, Colonel, 366th TFW, Commander, and James B. Argersinger, 366th BCE, Commander. The citation reads as follows: The title "GUNFIGHTER EXTRAORDINAIRE" and appoint him a lifetime member. This is in recognition of heroic and faithful performance of duty in an extraordinary manner from Sep. 6, 1971 to May 31, 1972. While prosecuting the war around the clock he was exposed to devastating V. C. rocket attacks, monsoons, mud and continual combat hardships and always maintained the standards of perfection traditional in the "GUNFIGHTERS". No one can contest, or should deny the courage and tested loyalty of the men who put their personal safety aside in support of the critical combat mission. They forever deserve our praise and the well-earned lasting recognition.
Others not on the BDRT were equal partners in base recovery. All of them performed as professionals achieving outstanding results in the job performance of their assigned duties, and who worked on a variety of important projects that involved a large combination of special requirements that would prove noteworthy to the base support mission. The individual shop Foremen like: Sgt. FITZGERALD, William N. who served as NCOIC, Sheet Metal and welding shops. Although, he no prior experience but fulfilled those requirements expected of him as foreman of his section in an outstanding and productive manner. High ratings were given by the chain of command including those of Peter Torre, CMSgt, William H. Heuser Jr. Captain and James B. Argersinger, Colonel, USAF, Commander. The Plumbing Shop, Foreman, Staff Sergeant JONES, EARL S. and Assistant NCOIC, SSgt. MARVIN, through their own consistent professionalism they were performers of the highest accord. Their combined leadership and managerial abilities were their main strengths of initiative, ingenuity, and pride in their profession. SSgt PHIPPS, Monroe R. Assistant NCOIC, of the Carpenter Shop also showed a great deal of pride in the performance of his managerial duties. Extra tasks assigned to him were completed promptly and in an outstanding manner. He always displayed excellent job knowledge and related understanding of the Carpenter Career Field. He remained a valued member of the structural team at Da Nang. SSgt. ADOLPH, was the NCOIC, of the Minor Maintenance Team responsible for conducting a maintenance program that was specifically organized to provide routine correlative maintenance to base structures on a cyclic frequency. Sergeant Adolph in this position carried out his duties purposely, directing his workforce, and acting as the managerial head of this section. He established a highly workable system whereby the maintenance team could support the base with on site trailers readily stocked to provide base structure maintenance as near to Air Force standards as possible under Southeast Asia criteria. TSgt. CRANE, William A, served as the Minor Maintenance Team, Superintendent, and was of great service to me with the mission to perform structural repair and maintenance on the base. He was a highly valuable Air Force member serving in the Structural Section. He was also an outstanding NCO in his own right, and he could perform at higher levels of responsibility. MCLEAN, Thomas J, Major, Deputy Commander, and me rated Sergeant Crane as outstanding. TSgt. FALCI, Felix L., NCOIC, of the Paint Shop served as Team Chief, 2d Squad, Base Defense Force as did many others. SSgt. DARNELL, Ruffus R, completed projects one of which he and a crew of Vietnamese excavated a foundation to accommodate a 5,000-gallon fuel tank for oil storage at the power plant in "Gunfighter" Village. It had to be dug by hand due to the lack of space for operating heavy equipment. It was extremely hard labor due to the heat and fumes coming from the exhaust of the generators. He and the crew stayed on the task and were able to complete the excavation ahead of schedule. SSgt. MARTIN, Johnnie, NCOIC, of the Masonry Shop achieved outstanding levels of performance in ever aspect of endeavor whether it was the administrative functions required of him as foreman or the supervision of ten Vietnamese Nationals. He also was responsible for constructing a cement masonry block room addition on the Monkey Mountain Complex near Da Nang AB for the Communications Squadron. SSgt. Martin and another NCO completely built the project addition.
If there was but one single person who was the glue that held together the individual parts of the much broader squadron's total endeavors that would be CMSgt. TORRE, Peter, Operations and Maintenance Superintendent. He was a Chief's, Chief always there for his men. Highly respected for his kind words, job knowledge, presents of body and mind, and for his professional courtesies he provided to everyone. He helped to make the unbearable, bearable, and was a friend and farther figure to his men while each of them were being tested by combat and hardship. Chief Peter Torre was a leader who was uniquely serving in the right place at the right time. The Vietnam War was continuing to stand down and the men assigned in country were well aware of that. Anything they would accomplish was to be for naught so morale was at an all time low. The Chief did wonders to keep our minds and us focused on the mission. In October 1971, Da Nang AB experienced a severe Typhoon. Over 80% of on base buildings sustained some type of structural damage.
In June 1972, civil engineering went contract with Philco Ford and the military personnel were being sent home. I had two weeks left to make a career choice since I had orders to Vandenburg AFB, California so I worked an assignment to Thailand to avoid returning to CONUS. I got Udorn RTAFB, Thailand a base that was also under civilian contract so I applied for a special assignment to Headquarters, 554th CESHR at U-Tapao RTNAS. I was selected for the assignment and reported. This would become a long journey of an association with the 554th CESHR, RED HORSE lasting seven years in Thailand and the Republic of Korea. At the time the war was summarily moving from Vietnam to reemerge at many Royal Thai Air Force Bases. Others like me would follow the build up and assist in the reactivations of some existing closed air bases in Thailand.
***UDORN ROYAL THAI AIR FORCE BASE, THAILAND. 432nd Base Civil Engineering Squadron. Served there from June 1972 to October 1972. GEORGE F. FRANCIS, Lt. Colonel, USAF, Commander.
I caught a military hop out of Da Nang AB to Bangkok, Thailand in July 1972, enroot to Udorn, RTAFB. I was leaving Vietnam with some reservations but, otherwise, I had no choice. I had completed almost three years of Vietnam service in Southeast Asia. I would complete the last three remaining months in Thailand on continued duty still supporting the war effort. The war suddenly got real again, but this time it was up close and personal as it broadened locally. It came on sudden and unexpectedly to those of us who were assigned to Udorn AB. Pandemonium broke out as an early morning surprise, and with a startling manner as it brought home a vivid reality of the many dangers facing those of us serving at Udorn RTAFB in August 1972. It was a day when a neighboring country to Thailand, Laos, fielded its own combat team of three young enemy zappers who suddenly appeared one day on the air base of Udorn. They had gained illegal entry into the base by killing a Thai Security Guard and his German Sheppard guard dog. The Thai soldier was a highly skilled dog handler, but still they were both found dead lying in a field near the perimeter fence of the air base. That was after the enemy had already made a forcible entry into the air base so a frantic search to find them began. The enemy intruders each had a specific target of major importance to them, and those were the 555th, Triple Nickel, Tactical Fighter Squadron operations building, the base's LORAN site, and the revetment areas on the ramp on which airplanes were parked. They did not succeed at either location before being discovered. Two of them were killed and one was captured, but also shot in his upper left leg. He was taken to a remote holding area, held in a secure room and shackled to a bed. Both his feet and hands were handcuffed to both the foot and headboards of a metal frame bed. I was summoned to evaluate the security arrangements for the room, inspect locks, windows, and to address any access concerns. I could clearly see the wound on his leg and I asked the boy in the Chinese language how he was doing? He responded that he wanted some water and was not feeling too good. I was stopped from talking with the boy anymore since a more proper interrogation of him had not been approved, or authorized. Military Jurisdiction over the boy was turned over to the local Thai authorities for interrogation while higher government authorities would arrive from Bangkok later that evening, and also since the air base was a Royal Thai Base they had priority and retained custody. The 555th Fighter Squadron had a high success rate of killing MIGs, and had assigned to it the first USAF, ACE, Captain Steve Ritchie who shot down five enemy planes. The war was still hot and real for us in Thailand. It was payback time, I suppose, and the enemy took the initiative for once to strike back at the source of their many hardships in Laos. I didn't expect that to happen at Udorn AB, but it did, and without being successful. It served as a reminder and it kept us focused on the important mission we were all there to perform.
SSgt. GARSEE, Royce W. worked as a crew leader for one of the 432nd BCE, minor maintenance teams. He was rated outstanding and was cited for being an excellent manager, and crew leader who was willing to accept any assignment no matter how difficult. He also demonstrated his loyalty towards his job by going out late at night to perform emergency type work. A fine NCO like Sergeant Garsee will handle any job given to him in a creditable manner to himself and to the Air Force. TSgt. HECTOR, Cruz was NCOIC, Minor Maintenance, and he always maintained top mission support of Udorn RTAFB. Airman CARTER acted without regard for his personal sacrifice. He responded to personal requests when necessary giving up his off duty time cheerfully. Truly, he was an Airman of great value to the USAF. TSgt. BELTRAN, showed outstanding effort towards command interest items and it stands out as one of his most important achievements like the Headquarters, 432nd TFW building sign.
***TAKHLI ROYAL THAI AIR FORCE BASE, THAILAND. Detachment #4, 554th CESHR. Served there from October 1972 to December 1972.
I processed in at Headquarters, 554th CESHR, RED HORSE at U-Tapao Royal Thai Naval Air Station, P. G. REYNOLDS, Colonel, USAF, Commander. Then two weeks later, in October to December 1972, with a team of others we were sent to Takhli, RTAFB to reactivate the Tactical Fighter Base for continued joint air missions. The bed down phase, adding airfield revetment, and other improvement projects were soon to be underway and Detachment #4, 554th CESHR, RED HORSE members had arrived. A military team consisting of eighteen  Red Horsemen were assigned to Takhli RTAFB, and their names were as follows: MSgt. PARKER, Ronald D, MSgt CAMPBELL, Jerald D, TSgt. DAVIS, Wayland B, TSgt. BATCHELOR, Caul J, SSgt. WESTLEY, Lawrence H, SSgt. CHRISTIANSEN, Clarence A, SSgt HICKS, Kermit, Sgt BROWN, Wiley C, Sgt. FLOWERS, Charles E, Sgt. LESLIE, Darnell L, Sgt. MELTON, Lloyd T. Jr., Sgt. WEINHANDAL, John P, Sgt. KIRKWOOD, Michael, Sgt. GONZALES, Antonio, Sgt. MACK, Tommy G, Sgt. TARRY, Clarence, Sgt. SMITH, Michael D, and Sgt. MCADAMS, Donald R. These men were there to upgrade latrines, erecting, renovating, and partitioning of four modular dormitories used as aircrew quarters, and steel revetments erected on the parking and ramp areas of the flight line. A modular mess hall was sent from Da Nang AB, and it was erected once more to prepare and feed troops that were soon to arrive. The Maintenance hangers and overall the base facilities had to be refurbished, especially the electrical wiring where all of it was ripped out by scavenges. A team of structural members were just beginning to construct a metal relocatable building when we received a notification that we would be needed immediately further North in Thailand to accommodate the removal of 7th USAF assets and Headquarters, MACV was soon leaving Vietnam for good. On December 1972, an experienced team was relocated to Nakhon Phanom, RTAFB.
***NAKHON PHANOM, RTAFB, THAILAND served there from December 1972 to March 1973. Detachment #5, 554th CESHR. Officers in-charge [OIC] BARRY S. SIMMONS, Captain, USAF and WALTER SMITH, Captain, USAF.
Forty members of the 554th CESHR were dispatched to Nakhon Phanom Air Base [NKP] to begin 554th CESHR, Detachment #5. The War in Vietnam was ending there for Americans, and it was ordered that Headquarters, MACV and 7th Air Force in Saigon be relocated to Thailand. The base selected by MACV Command was NKP, RTAFB, and the movement order for the command to leave Vietnam was given for February 1973. The RED HORSE people selected to facilitate such a move were all seasoned members of a team that had some practical experience with erecting modular dormitories. Several of the relocatable type barracks would be taken from a retrograde effort throughout Vietnam and erected in Thailand. There were ongoing joint efforts to dismantle and construct the prefab units, two story self-contained modular style, when finished could house 48 personnel. Each building contained two gang type toilets and shower rooms, day rooms and individually separated rooms partitioned for two or more occupants' dependent upon configuration, as some were also open bay type. There were three-on grade concrete beams added for a foundation with tiring end wall supports for anchoring the structure. Many of the clasped unit parts came as separate packaged bundles with the shower and latrine units already assembled to build against. Most of our enlisted and officer corps were familiar with, and had previously assembled the modular dormitories in CONUS at Nellis AFB, Nevada, in 1968, or at other places within Southeast Asia. The Detachment #5, OICs were Captains Walter Smith and Barry S. Simmons. The Detachment military members also helped to establish office space for the American Embassy in the TFA complex at NKP. Nine members of the detachment worked in their particular individual craft trade as specialist to hastily complete an addition to the existing structure. The personnel charged to accomplish the task were as follows: SMSgt DENMAN, Charles C, TSgt DAVIS, Wayland B, SSgt. CARPENTIERI, Edward C, SSgt. GUNTER, Charles G, SSgt. THERIOT, Lloyd A, SSgt. SLACUM, Gerard W. Jr., Sgt. BROWN, Donald C, Sgt. EVERETTE, Steven D. and Sgt. MAYER, Randy D. The Letter of Appreciation from the EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Bangkok, Thailand reads: The efforts of your personnel in all phases of the renovation -electrical, carpentry, masonry, air conditioning, and painting- facilitated our move into the building in the shortest possible time. Your men carried out their tasks in an obviously professional, thoroughly competent manner. In several instances as the work progressed they suggested changes from the original plans. The suggested changes facilitated the subsequent installation of equipment and movement of supplies. In addition, SMSgt Denman's assistance in providing certain electrical and plumbing items from surplus stocks for the installation of two Portable campers for our personnel was greatly appreciated. Please convey to these men our appreciation for a job well done and assurances of our best wishes in their Air Force careers. This type of recognition was indicative of the same high-level praise and response to the mission movement support. Army General Creighton Abrams, MACV, Commander visited our jobsite and shook hands with a strictly all-military crew.
I suppose in some small way it gave both solace and a validation of our Air Force Combat Engineer existence. The team members were aware of the mandatory completion date so the ten portable trailer campers, three modular dormitories, and the renovations of a mess hall and living quarters for Civil Service Employees all proceeded on schedule. Every member of the detachment was gainfully employed doing work that demanded both skill and perfection. The added amenities were all provided since our tenants were of the highest rank and military grade. The incentives were known and we could not fail so rank in the detachment had no profound privileges, but SMSgt Denman was always there for us to solve this problem, or another to guarantee the continuity between the planners and the plan. The workers simply kept on the given tasks of excavating, building, and furnishing ideas for all of the critical steps necessary for any successful completion in a combined effort, and timely joint response. Many airman, or two NCOs like Sgt, KIRKWOOD, Michael and Sgt. BOESHART, also a masonry specialist served in duty locations in Thailand and South Korea in 1973, where each of them were capable of rising to the challenge, and with the knowledge and skill they performed in an outstanding manner. As we did the work planned ahead for us, together, we also became the best of friends. Cheerfully, and very supportive of each other we approached each day's work more confident as we gave it our very best and our best was good enough to exceed in all of the command's expectations. As activities for us at NKP AB began to wind down and the daily tasks became routine, there was word that Headquarters, 554th CESHR would send a detachment of personnel assigned to the Republic of South Korea. The advanced party was to leave for Korea in March 1973. Some of us eagerly accepted the thought of having a chance to broaden our experiences in another country, and we volunteered to lead the "HORSE" back to Korea. So satisfactorily had been the completion of our work on the NKP command relocation mission that a few of us moved on in early March 1973, and returned back to U-Tapao, RTNAS where we processed out of headquarters and secured air travel transportation. We flew out of the base on a KC-135 aircraft a few days later. Others would remain in Vietnam and Thailand to complete the in-progress mission active project, and retrograde buildings and other military assets some dismantled civil engineering assets to bring to Korea. The Southeast Asia final chapter was being written on the last pages in a volume of books of a long legacy, which began for many in January 1966, and continued up until a movement order was given to Headquarters, 554th CESHR, in December 1975 to leave Thailand. By that time, Detachment #1, 554th CESHR was well established at Osan Air Base in Korea, and we had been there nearly 3 years where we had already achieved many project successes. Construction was at a pique with more to come, as a massive construction program had begun in the defense build up of South Korea. Additional detachments would begin in the Philippines and at Kunsan Air Base, Korea. Others would go to Taiwan, Okinawa, and Guam as Operating Locations [OLA] and [OLAA], or to other existing bases within Korea.
***Detachment #1, 554th CESHR, OSAN AIR BASE, SOUTH KOREA. Served as a detachment from March 26, 1973 until December 1975. Detachment Commanders were Walter Smith, Captain, USAF, James L.Banwart, Captain, USAF and Horst Haeusser, Captain, USAF
Initially, it was up to a small team of cadre consisting of eight  Red Horsemen who departed U-Tapao Royal Thai Naval Air Station, on March 26, 1973, to set the proverbial wheels in motion back to South Korea. The previous 557th CESHR, RED HORSE Squadron had been there in 1968-69 before our arrival. We were the men who picked up the staff, and once more showed the colors as we were in fact, beginning all over again from scratch. We were all volunteers who liked a difficult challenge, and the crisp freshness of building base structures again from the ground outward and upward. The team would be shaping the future by working the main events, and stretching the existing contours on the lay of the Korean landscape. Such men as these were ready for adventure, purposely standing out front operating in all planned performance aspects, experiencing the taste and smelling the flavors of foreign lands. Some of these few men were as follows: MSgt. SMITH, Richard C, TSgt. DAVIS, Wayland B, TSgt. GROESCHEN, Jesse R, TSgt. DINSMORE, William K, TSgt. SMITH, Ernest F, TSgt. HAZLEY, Cecil L, TSgt. YATES, Warren H, and SSgt. KIMBROUGH, Harold E. Having no more concerned with the daily toil of the work continuing within Southeast Asia for now the team awaited at Detachment #1, and for Captain SMITH, Walter, Commander, who would soon arrive at Osan AB to command. Along with him would be MSgt CAMPBELL, Jerald D. acting First Sergeant. The first thing on the immediate agenda was to prepare for the arrival of approximately fifty  personnel to bed down and support administratively. Locating an underutilized building on the flight line of Osan Air Base the team chief was able to secure the temporary location and the renovation began to make it into a living quarters project. RED HORSE was given an older wooden structure for a headquarters and operations building in the existing Base Civil Engineering complex. Work began almost immediately. With the small workforce the project of making the dorm livable and the construction of a newer headquarters/orderly room this took up most of the specialist's time assigned to the small Osan Air Base contingent of workers.
Then more people from our headquarters in Thailand began to arrive, and with them a change of command as Captain Walter Smith was called back and Captain BANWART, James L. became the commander. He fit well within the detachment and with his leadership knowledge and field experience we began to plan for the development of our own compound on real estate near to the BCE outside storage area. We would first have to locate a structure suitable for a combined workshop and an assembly point out of the elements for it was cold and not yet spring in Korea. Locating a relocatable building east of Seoul, in an U.S. Army Support Command, Far East District Engineer Compound, a RED HORSE team on May 9, 1973, deployed to the Seoul area with a military team consisting of the following fifteen  people: MSgt. SMITH, Richard C, TSgt. TOYE, Randall D, TSgt. DAVIS, Wayland B, SSgt. HUBBERT, John F, SSgt KIMBROUGH, Harold E, SSgt. HOUSEHOLDER, David L, SSgt. HICKS, Kermit F, Sgt. BROWN, Moses M. Jr., Sgt. BURGESS, James R, Sgt. DYSON, Louis R, Sgt. MOLINA, Peter B, Sgt. PURDOM, William B, Sgt. TARRY, Clarence, Sgt. WILDES, James M, and Sgt. WRIGHT, Gary W. We completely disassembled a building, packed, and removed from the original site a prefab-engineered building in just one eight hour day. This metal building would sit on a new concrete pad and serve the detachment as workshops. An addition made entirely of wood became a Carpenter Shop. Now the detachment was fully capable of better meeting our commitments as tasked. Soon more people and equipment were being shipped from Thailand and Headquarters, PACAF was adding additional projects as building assets and personnel became available. The detachment remained at the current strength levels of fifty, but there was a great need for hiring local national to fill the demand for expediting construction during the summer month in Korea. The detachment began to interview for positions as required and approximately  twenty-five Korean Nationals were added to the detachment's strength. Almost immediately, RED HORSE signs began to spring forth from out of the ground planted there as excavation for new construction began to take root. The first one was finishing the Traffic Management Office building [TMO] that the 557th CESHR left incomplete during their tour of duty. TSgt. Randall Toye was appointed the first Project Manager at the TMO project site, and since it was already designed it was an easy one to begin with since at the time RED HORSE did not have it's own design section. Almost simultaneously, the layout of the new Base Civil Engineers Compound complex began it consisted of a new administrative building, two  BCE storage warehouses, BCE maintenance combined shops, and a twelve  foot high retaining wall built around the eastern side of the compound. Collocated, within the site was a War Readiness Materials [WRM] warehouse. The entire compound was then fenced in to limit access into and from the complex after duty hours. The remainder of 1973 and most all of 1974 consisted of constructing the BCE buildings including our own materials warehouse, shops building and fencing projects.
There was once more a change of command and Captain HAEUSSER, Horst G. reported as the detachment commander along with the 1973 class change came MSgt LAY, Jack, and First Sergeant. The detachment also received a NCOIC, SMSgt. CALDWELL, James K. to supervise the detachment operations and assist in the heating and air conditioning career field. With the additional management staff and appointed superintendents we were functional now in all areas except design engineers so the supervisors, superintendents, and technicians assisted the Project Managers for quality control purposes, and the host base BCE kept up with the project design work mostly for new projects. The one rare catch of the detachment's personnel was a young NCO assigned to it when Sgt. THOMPSON, Richard L. reported in on October 28, 1973. Sergeant Thompson would adapt quickly to learning the assembly process of pre-engineered metal buildings and he would remain there much longer with the squadron becoming the resident expert on the assembly and selection of the many PASCOE and BUTLER type buildings for projects. Sergeant Thompson first worked as a Project Manager at Taegu Air Base for the construction of the foundation, erection phase, and repair of a sizable PASCOE type building. The Sergeant also worked on the BCE Maintenance Complex utilizing another larger size PASCOE metal building. Sergeant Thompson by his own effort was one of the driving forces behind the Structural Section's achievements of the period. Sgt. ROSEMAN, Larry W, a Carpenter Specialist who also worked, as a crew supervisor that erected four buildings of the PASCO type and did so throughout this assignment due to his outstanding ability to retain this knowledge he was able to complete each of them in a timely manner. Sgt. Roseman's ability to work without direct supervision marks him as a person of high value to the USAF. Sgt. BERNARD, Michael L, completed his assigned duties in an acceptable manner. The Sergeant worked on the Religious Education Center, Alteration of a sewer system, and the Education Center. He also served as Project Manager for the construction of a paint storage building. When RED HORSE relocated to the permanent compound in the building 800 areas he assisted with moving the administrative and support facilities. SSgt. MAAS, John T. was the NCOIC, Carpenter Shop and he also worked as a working crew leader of military subordinates. The Sergeant was skilled as a locksmith and he was called upon to provide services to most agencies on base requiring safe repairs, or combination changes. When no other trained personnel were available having the skill, or the knowledge to do so. Sgt. WEIR, Richard M. was also a Carpenter Specialist sent to Kwang-Ju AB to work on the construction of a Multi-purpose Recreation Facility. Sergeant Weir displayed the more positive aspects of technical knowledge and practical skills in the erection and repair of the facility. He excelled in his performance and workmanship. Sgt. Weir at Osan AB worked on the construction of a 64'X 120' Traffic Management Office and a 50'X 200' ft. Base Civil Engineering Maintenance Complex. Sgt. KORNAFEL, Joseph B. worked as a Metals Processing Specialist and he served as the NCOIC, Welding Shop. The Sergeant and his crew welded all of the structural steel framing for preengineered PASCO and Butler buildings. He also fabricated a pipe shed of 20'X184' in size. This facility required extensive cutting and welding and was mostly constructed during inclement weather. SSgt. MARTIN, Johnnie was the NCOIC, Masonry Section responsible for all forming, placement, screeding and finishing of concrete floor slabs and footings. His crew laid CMU block walls to form office partitions, latrines, and mechanical rooms. Sergeant Martin truly performed his assigned duties in an outstanding manner. SSgt. Martin always maintained an exceptional attitude and the self-confidence to achieve excellent results, under highly trying weather conditions and increased working hours. TSgt KRYSA, performed duties as a Project NCO at both duty locations in Taegu AB and Kunsan AB, Korea. Sergeant Krysa was fully qualified for the rigors of new construction and performs well at sites located away from the parent detachment. He assisted in the construction of a 50'X100' PSACO building for an Automotive Maintenance building at Taegu AB. TSgt. Krysa was responsible for the construction of five active RED HORSE projects located at Kunsan AB having a funded cost of $143,000. He displayed an outstanding approach in all such actions taken to expedite those projects. He aided in the outstanding accomplishments of the detachment. Sgt. JAMES, Jim H. worked as a Masonry Specialist and displayed enthusiasm and energy towards his duty assignments demonstrating the ability and desire to adapt to any situation. One such notable project was the construction of a 50'X 200' metal building utilized by the host BCE for shop space. This required the pouring of many cubic yards of concrete, which had to be hand toweled to a proper finish to receive floor tile. Sgt. James worked many hours overtime to complete the work. Thus proving without a doubt that he is an excellent craftsman. SSgt. HUBBERT, John F. for a short period was NCOIC, Sheet Metal and Welding Shops. The Sergeant was one of many outstanding supervisors and specialist I had ever observed and had the pleasure of supervising. The exceptional initiative and spirit he displayed towards all his assigned duties was commendable. He supported the construction of a Base Civil Engineering Complex. SSgt. Hubbert was an extremely dedicated and competent NCO. SSgt. POLLARD, James L. was NCOIC, Paint Shop who performed assigned duties in an excellent manner. He both worked as a crew leader and supervisor. Two of the most notable facilities were the Base Civil Engineering Administrative Building and the Traffic Management Office. SSgt. Pollard's crew taped and sanded approximately 40,000 square feet of sheetrock in both these facilities. Under SSgt Pollard's supervision his crew performed in an outstanding manner on every project. When tasked to camouflage the exterior of the TMO building he hand mixed the suitable color combinations to complete the facility on scheduled.
Throughout this vast building effort by RED HORSE people a total of 60,000 square feet of new office, maintenance, and storage space was realized at a cost of $600,000. Due to rapidly deteriorating structures in Korea, there was an urgent need for newer facilities. Much of the concrete work was completed during the winter months. The weather condition at that time created many difficulties in the concrete curing process, however, special methods and procedures were utilized to continue on with production of quality construction to achieve our goals. The superior manner in which our personnel performed was achieved through personal sacrifice of their time, application of job ability, and the dedication towards mission requirements that are so vital to accomplish the RED HORSE construction capability on a world wide basis and to maintain the "CAN-DO, WILL-DO" motto that is a part of RED HORSE. The distinctive accomplishments of each and every individual who serves with RED HORSE reflect credit upon themselves and the United States Air Force.
RED HORSE FACT SHEET
A HISTORICAL SUMMARY OF RED HORSE MISSION SUPPORT
THE CONCEPT UPDATE DURING AND AFTER SOUTHEAST ASIA DESIGNED FOR THE NINETEEN EIGHTIES AND NINETIES
Rapid Engineering Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineering [RED HORSE] are Headquarters USAF controlled units whose mission is to provide a highly mobile, self-sufficient, rapidly deployable civil engineering capability to perform tasks in support of US Air Force contingencies. The tasks may include heavy damage repair for restoration of Air Force-controlled facilities, heavy maintenance of air bases and remote sites, and providing engineering support for aircraft operations, particularly in bare base environment, during initial and sustained phases of contingency operations. Peacetime utilization of RED HORSE includes support of bare base deployments and participation in operational exercises.
RED HORSE units were first established in 1965 to meet Air Force heavy repair and construction requirements in Southeast Asia. At the height of the Vietnam conflict, five squadrons operated in Vietnam, the 554th, 555th, "Triple Nickel," the 819th, 820th, and 823d Civil Engineering Squadron. The 556th squadron operated in Thailand, the 557th squadron, activated during the Pueblo incident, operated in Korea, and the 560th was a training squadron at Eglin Auxiliary Field #2. The 560th subsequently became the 557th. In 1971, the 823d was deactivated following the phase down of Vietnam construction. On 1 June 1972, however, the 823d was reactivated at Eglin Air Force Auxiliary Field 2, Florida, with personnel of the old 557th assuming the unit lineage and honors of the 823d. Soon after reactivation, the 823d transferred to its present location at Hurlburt Field. Along with the 823d, three other active duty units presently operate, the 820th at Nellis AFB, Nevada [TAC], the 819th at Wethersfield, England and the 554th at Osan AB, Korea. The 823d is considered the "pilot" unit for RED HORSE; it has pioneered many of the concepts and procedures, which today form part of the standard RED HORSE concept.
RED HORSE is self-sufficient: Food service, supply, safety, medical, transportation, heavy equipment repair, engineering design and operations, administration and training forces are available to configure and launch a 16-man work force [designated as RH-1] within 12 hours to meet contingency requirements; if needed, a second 93-man element RH-2 can be deployed within 48 hours. The remainder of the work force [the 295-man RH-3 contingent] can move out within six days. Deployed elements include personnel trained not only to perform their normal tasks, but also to secure and hold the perimeter of the assigned living and work areas. RH-1 personnel furnish site development and expertise including field surveys, bare base layout, and on-site preparations of engineering plans to meet operational requirements. RH-2 provides the cadre and air transportable site development equipment to accomplish bare base site preparation. RH-3 furnishes a follow-on complement of personnel, heavy [non-air transportable] earth moving and construction equipment and material required to upgrade, disperse and /or harden facilities. Thus, RED HORSE can provide austere facilities in combat areas for tactical air forces pending the assignment and arrival of other construction troop support
INFORMATION ABOUT THE AUTHOR: [RET.] CMSgt. WAYLAND B. DAVIS, USAF.
Chief Davis served in the U.S.Air Force from July1957 until August 1987. He completed assignments stateside and in numerous overseas locations with Base Civil Engineering and two RED HORSE Squadrons at varied locations, and air bases throughout his thirty-year career service. In the totality, he served eighteen years in Southeast Asia [SEA] and Northeast Asia [NEA] combined with each of those years being concurrent either in Temporary Duty [TDY] status, or Permanent Change of Station [PCS] areas. He served two years nine months in Vietnam and spent the last three months of a [SEA] three-year tour at air bases in Thailand. The following are the bases and dates he served at each location in SEA and NEA:
|REPUBLIC OF CHINA
REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
REPUBLIC OF CHINA
REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
HURLBURT FIELD FLORIDA
|TAINAN AIR STATION
DA NANG AB
NHA TRANG AB
PHU CAT AB
BIEN HOA AB
CHING CHUAN KANG AB
TUY HOA AB
DA NANG AB
NAKHON PHANOM RTAFB
|1963 TO 1965
TDY Prime BEEF
TDY Prime BEEF
PCS-823d CESHR RH
PCS-554th CESHR RED HORSE
TDY-554th CESHR RED HORSE
TDY-554th CESHR HR
PCS-554th CESHR [RH]
PCS-554th CESHR [RH]
TDY-554th CESHR [RH]
PCS-554th CESHR RH
PCS-823d CESHR RED HORSE
It can reasonably be said of Chief Davis' service time during a time of war that he remained within the Theater-of- Operations in both Vietnam and Thailand, and then served long in the Republic of South Korea. He served with the 554th CESHR, RED HORSE from October 1972 to October 1980. He also completed a tour of duty in Vietnam with the 823d CESHR, RED HORSE in 1968-1969, and retired at Hurlburt Field, Florida in 1987, serving once again with the 823d CESHR. In those eighteen years, Chief Davis was in the unique position of being able to observe the many squadrons and their personnel who lived and worked at each duty location. That alone gave him the best opportunity to both observe and critique missions, and the personnel who accomplished them. He has not shied away from acknowledging and treasuring his connection to the outstanding individuals who served with him. It is rare that one USAF, Senior NCO could be in a better position to witness the many major contributions made by the USAF, Combat Engineers' throughout the entire period. He remains grateful of having done so.
His awards include the Bronze Star Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, AF Commendation Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, AF Overseas Long Tour Ribbon with One Oak Leaf Cluster, Short Tour Ribbon with one Silver and two Bronze Oak Leaf clusters, Vietnam Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, AF Outstanding Unit Award with Valor device and One Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with one silver service star and two bronze service stars and the Korean Service Medal. Chief Davis is retired and lives near Eglin AFB, Florida.