820th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers
The 820th RED HORSE Squadron was constituted as the 820th Installation Squadron on 28 April 1956 at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, New York. After preliminary training, the squadron completed construction projects in the northeast United States until deactivation on 15 September 1964. It was redesignated the 820th Civil Engineering Squadron, Heavy Repair on 12 January 1966. In April 1966, the "HORSE" was organized and tasked to provide emergency capability for rapid runway repair, BAK-12 aircraft arresting barrier installation, construction of supply and medical facilities, parking ramps, aprons, runways, and hangars for Project TURNKEY at Tuy Hoa Air Base, Vietnam. Training for these duties was conducted at Forbes Air Force Base, Kansas, under the operational control of Headquarters, Seventh Air Force and later under the newly activated 1st Civil Engineering Group. Early in 1968, the 820th deployed personnel to Phu Cat Air Base, Vietnam, to repair damaged buildings, to Quang Tri Air Base to construct radar facilities, and to Bien Hoa and Da Nag Air Bases to erect buildings and revetments.
The Tet Offensive in February 1968 created a temporary shortage of laborers and some logistical problems; however, 820th projects proceeded with remarkable speed, including those arising from damage caused by Typhoon Frieda. Unit personnel erected a Skyspot Radar Facility at Quang Tri Air Base, and constructed ammunition storage areas at Nha Trang Air Base. In 1968, the first large rotation of 820th personnel brought newly trained troops from the United States. Increasing construction and repair needs at Da Nang induced the 1st Civil Engineering Group to transfer the main body of the 820th from Tuy Hoa to Da Nang on 28 February 1969. Until the fall of 1969, damage repair and revetment construction tasks mounted for the 820th, in particular, those resulting from the destructive enemy rocket attacks on USMC ammunition and bomb storage areas. Operations also continued at Tuy Hoa with heavy emphasis upon damage repair work. Deployed forces at Tuy Hoa moved to Cam Rahn Bay Air Base, Vietnam, on 1 December 1969 leaving 88 personnel to assist the 819th CESHR with its "Concrete Sky" aircraft shelter construction program.
With the transfer of the 1st Group from Southeast Asia, Seventh Air Force again assumed direct control over the 820th. On 15 April 1970, control of the 820th was transferred from PACAF to the Tactical Air Command (now Air Combat Command) and the 820th was reassigned from Da Nang to Lake Mead Naval Base, now known as Area II, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The 820th was further assigned to the Commander, Twelfth Air Force , where it remains today.
The resounding success of the construction projects members of the 820th performed during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, UPHOLD DEMOCRACY in Haiti, Operation SEA SIGNAL in Cuba, and well as various projects performed in South America and Latin America is testament to the "CAN DO" attitude of RED HORSE personnel.
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