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RED HORSE Airmen construct new facilities

by Airman 1st Class Allison M. Boehm
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

1/21/2010 - JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq (AFNS) -- The 557th Expeditionary Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron of Engineers recently constructed three buildings outside of Joint Base Balad in two months in support of the responsible drawdown of U.S. servicemembers from Iraq.

The team of 26 RED HORSE Airmen constructed a badging office that will be used by U.S security forces along with Ugandan security, a security station that will serve both U.S. military and Iraqi police and a medical training facility that will be used by U.S. military and Iraqi civilians.

The effort was geared toward helping build a self-sufficient Iraq by constructing facilities that promote a joint environment.

"We are working under a deadline, and we come together as a team," said Senior Airman Albert Bullard, a 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE utilities journeyman. "Once we have done our part and (completed) our mission, we can move onto the next mission that needs to be taken care of."

The forward-deployed RED HORSE team provided JBB with an internal heavy-construction capability renowned for its precision and speed.

"The team, which manifests excellence in the construction projects they take on, worked under a strict timeline to ensure this project was completed quickly," said Capt. Ben Knost, 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE site officer in charge.

By utilizing this group of specially-trained Airmen to design and build infrastructure and facilities, the Air Force saved time and money.

The badging office was slated to cost approximately $700,000 and take until the end of February to complete. They finished the facility Jan. 1 for less than half the anticipated cost.

"We realize this mission is important, said Airman Bullard. "The better job we do, and the faster we do it, the more it will aid the responsible drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq and allow the Iraqis to be more self-reliant."

From laying the concrete, building the wood frame and installing interior finishes, the team truly constructed the three sites from the ground up.

"As a unit we are here to sustain the fight, construct structures required within the mission," Master Sgt. Chip Koons, 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE site project manager said. "(We are) wherever they need our capability."

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