219th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers
The 219th RED HORSE Flight, Montana Air National Guard, was established by order of the Secretary of the Air Force on 03 September 1997 and was stationed at Malmstrom AFB, Montana. The 219th RED HORSE Flight (RHF) was made an "associate" unit to the 819th RED HORSE Squadron (RHS) which was officially reactivated on 07 August 1997. The 219th RHF provides a total of one-third of the manpower and equipment of the 404 person 819th RHS.
The mission of the 219th RHF is to organize, train and equip its 120 personnel for its role as a highly mobile, rapidly deployable, self-sustaining heavy construction and repair unit capable of supporting airpower worldwide and especially in remote and austere operating environments. The 219th RHF rounds-out the 819th RHS with a heavy vertical construction capability, but also maintains proficiency in horizontal construction.
Although the 219th RHF is a relative newcomer to the RED HORSE mission it is, in fact, a long established Air National Guard civil engineer unit with a distinguished past in service to both nation and state. The 219th RHF has its roots from the 120th Civil Engineer Squadron assigned to the 120 Fighter Wing located at Great Falls International Airport, Montana. In November of 1996 an advance team of six personnel were detached from the 120th CES with orders to prepare for the rerole of the 120 CES operations flight to a RED HORSE unit. Along with 6 USAF personnel this team began the stand-up of a fully operational RED HORSE Squadron.
Training for the RED HORSE mission began even before the activation of the 219th RHF was official. On January 11and 12, 1997 84 personnel participated in the first RED HORSE Unit Training Assembly (UTA) which was conducted in a former KC-135 nose dock at Malmstrom AFB. That winter and spring this converting unit performed an ANG directed Deployment for Training to PACAF and supported emergency flood relief efforts in Grand Forks ND by providing water purification support to a major hospital. The remainder of 1997 was spent organizing, training, equipping and preparing facilities for the unit.
Training is the primary peacetime duty of the 219th RHF. Great emphasis is placed upon training in order to maintain the unit in a high state of combat readiness and preparation for operations involving natural disasters and other contingencies. Unit Training Assemblies and Annual Training tours emphasize individual and collective skill and readiness training. To this end this newly formed unit has deployed its teams to Germany, Honduras, Kuwait, Korea, Guatemala, and several stateside bases where they constructed base camps, repaired roads, installed aircraft arresting systems, built schools, aided in Central American flood relief, placed concrete foundations, erected steel structures and performed utility work.
As the 219th RHF and 819th RHS continue to mature as a cohesive and interoperable RED HORSE unit the core competencies unique to Air Reserve Component (ARC) and Active Duty (AD) reveal themselves more and more. The ARC brings continuity, strength in planning and training, strong connections to the local community and deep experience in the trades and professions; while the AD offers quick accessibility, variety of experience, and fulfills USAF day to day operational mission. This is a winning combination in terms of efficiency and economy for the nation.
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