823rd RED HORSE Airmen train here
A U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Joseph Chalkley 823rd RED HORSE Squadron pavement and construction specialist, steam rolls freshly laid asphalt on Aiken Street, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., July 12, 2012. A team of 21 Airmen assigned to the 823rd RHS are slated to repave just over a mile of Shaw roadway. The 823rd RHS is an Air Combat Command asset assigned to the Ninth Air Force that operates out of Hurlburt Field, Fla. RED HORSE stands for Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kenny Holston/Released)
by Senior Airman Kenny Holston
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
7/17/2012 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Airmen assigned to the 823rd RED HORSE Squadron based out of Hurlburt Field, Fla., have begun repaving one of Shaw's roads and intersection.
The RED HORSE team broke ground June 29 on the approximately $363,000 project.
"It was simply time for repairs on that road," said Don Kendrick, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron heavy equipment superintendent. "That roadway had a lower pavement condition index. It warranted being resurfaced, while providing valuable training to 823rd RHS personnel."
The construction is slated to take one month. Drivers can expect minimum delays throughout the project.
The 21-Airman team plans to repave Aiken Street from the corner of Polifka Drive all the way down to the south end of the road near Shaw's static aircraft displays, explained Capt. Trevyn Guglielmo, the 823rd RHS project engineer.
The project started by milling the top two inches of asphalt from the damaged road, said Guglielmo.
"We started this project from scratch," Guglielmo continued. "Everything from performing site surveys, developing the plans, organizing a crew and now executing the task."
The 823rd RHS is an Air Combat Command asset assigned to Ninth Air Force that operates out of Hurlburt Field, Fla. RED HORSE stands for, "Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer."
The unit is designed to be a highly mobile civil engineer response force to support Department of Defense operations worldwide and to carry out special skilled construction tasks that range from bare-base development in a combat zone to paving roads at a stateside fighter jet base such as Shaw, explained Master Sgt. Julio Maisonet, 823rd RHS pavements and construction supervisor.
With 2,000 tons of asphalt slated for this project, Guglielmo and his team of Airmen plan to pave just over a mile of roadway, Guglielmo said.
"We have been working 10 to 12 hour days to stay on track with our project completion date," Guglielmo said. "If we get off track and don't keep to our original timeline it could potentially cost the Air Force more money, and that's not what we want."
With temperatures at Shaw climbing upwards of 95 to 100 degrees over the summer months and a heat index of 110 to 115 degrees, Guglielmo and Maisonet have ensured their Airmen are taking extra precautions to operate safely and efficiently in South Carolina's weather.
"It's been about 20 degrees hotter here in comparison to where we came from," Guglielmo said. "Temperatures have reached black flag conditions and beyond, so we ensure the Airmen get as much rest as they need. We're also outfitted with several five- and 10-gallon water jugs to keep everyone hydrated."
Being a self sufficient, globally operating unit, the 823rd RHS uses tasks like these to train and prepare for deployments, Guglielmo said.
"This current task that we're completing here at Shaw is lending a lot of my Airmen some of the necessary training needed for upcoming deployments," Guglielmo added. "We do our best to stay mission capable and worldwide deployable at all times, and jobs such as these help us do just that."
While the Airmen wield shovels and rakes, they also operate heavy machinery to complete their tasks throughout long, hot work days. Teamwork and unit cohesiveness plays a major role in reaching mission success, said Airman 1st Class Steven Crum, 823rd RHS engineer assistant.
"We do our best to keep morale high by working as a team," Crum said. "None of us could do this on our own, and we each understand we're in this heat together, so we work side-by-side as a team to get the job done."
Being stationed at Hurlburt Field makes it more difficult for 823rd RHS Airmen to have the opportunity to meet the commander of the numbered Air Force they fall under Guglielmo said.
RED HORSE team members were excited when Maj. Gen. Lawrence Wells, 9th Air Force commander, paid them a surprise visit, said Crum.
Wells and a few members of his staff took a trip out to the designated construction site to meet the team and to thank them for doing a great job.
As the month long task continues Guglielmo and his team of 823rd RHS Airmen hope to help Shaw continue to pave the way as one of the Air Force's premier fighter bases by literally pounding the pavement to complete their mission, Guglielmo exclaimed.