1st Lieutenant James Wyatt
819th Red Horse Squadron
This past week the VFW hosted members of the 819th Red Horse squadron from Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls.
Red Horse is an acronym for Rapid Engineer Deployable, Heavy Operational Repair Squadron, Engineer.
Lt. Col. Steve Ziade and four other members of the Red Horse talked and gave a slide show of their recent experiences while on deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The team included Capt. Matt Stutevant who is an engineering commander from Maine and Sgt. E. Little Young Man Baker who is from Browning. She has had 10 deployments overseas. Also on the stage at the newly remodeled high school auditorium were Capt. Quincy Baity, a project engineer, and 1st Lt. James Wyatt who was most recently at Camp Zafore in Afghanistan.
The Red Horse is a highly mobile civil engineering unit and totally self-sufficient.
It provides heavy repair capability and construction support when requirements exceed normal base civil engineer capabilities and where Army engineer support is not readily available.
The squadron also possesses weapons, vehicles and equipment, food service, supply and medical equipment.
During a time of war, the Red Horse major responsibility is to provide a unit to perform heavy damage repair required for recovery of critical Air force facilities and aircraft launch and recovery.
During times of peace, they train for contingency and wartime operations.
The 819th has been activated and deactivated a number of times. It got its first life in 1956 and was deactivated in 1961. Like the Phoenix it arose from the ashes in Vietnam as the 819th Civil Engineer Squadron and was again deactivated in England in 1990.
In 1997, it once again came back to life as the Red Horse at Malmstrom AFB.
It is interesting to note that the 819th is the first “associate” squadron in the Air Force, meaning two-thirds are active duty personnel and one-third is Air National Guard.
Capt. Stutevant told the audience that “Essentially we’re helping to rebuild facilities throughout Iraq and slowly we’re giving it back to them.”
Sgt. Baker talked about having a joint effort with Iraq natives and workers of Georgia (Russia) and making ready a medical facility in which the local population could also use.
Capt. Wyatt, on his deployment to Iraq, helped the Army out so they could give back to their country. He worked with a fresh water distribution system and helped supply power to kitchens, classrooms and bathrooms.
He did note, “The one thing everyone does have is cell phones.” He added that the younger generation is building their country’s future.
After the presentation, Lt. Col, Ziade commented that the team liked coming to Conrad to talk about what is being done overseas, but you don’t read about in mainstream media.
He also noted that if there is an interest, the Red Horse may come up again for another discussion and talk about their deployments overseas.