The 823rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers (RED HORSE) provides the Air Force with a highly mobile civil engineer response force to support contingency and special operations worldwide. This squadron is capable of rapid response and independent operations capable of 30 days self-sufficient in remote, high-threat environments worldwide. They provide heavy repair capability and construction capability when requirements exceed normal civil engineer unit capabilities. 823d RED HORSE Squadron's Detachment 1 operates the Silver Flag Exercise Site at Tyndall AFB, Fla., providing combat support training to more than 5,200 civil engineer, force support, personnel, financial management, expeditionary medical, and manpower personnel from active, Guard, and Reserve Air Force units, plus the Army, Marine Corps, and allied nations.
The primary mission of 823d RED HORSE Squadron is to assess, plan and establish contingency facilities/infrastructure to support contingency operations and combat missions. Activities include rapid damage/requirements assessment, heavy damage repair, bare-base development, and heavy construction operations such as aircraft parking ramps, munitions pads, facility repair, etc.
The 823rd RED HORSE possesses special capabilities, such as expedient facility erection, batch plant operations, concrete and asphalt paving, water-well drilling, explosive demolition, quarry operations, directional drilling, Geo Reach remote beddown planning, and material testing.
The squadron can be deployed as a whole or in flights to support specific operational needs: RED HORSE primarily deploys using the "hub-and-spoke" concept - establishing a hub of operations to obtain airlift or sealift, or exercise ground convoy to locations requiring support. This concept allows for the centralization of command and control and provides forward deploying project teams (spoke) a short, responsive reach-back capability for support.
During the Vietnam War, the 823d Civil Engineering Squadron (Heavy Repair) was activated on April 6, 1966 and organized on May 15, 1966. When the 823 CES (HR) arrived at Bien Hoa Air Base, Vietnam, in 1966, it reorganized into four self-sufficient units to complete urgently needed construction. By January 1967, deployed units were in place at Tan Son Nhut, Bung Tau, Da Nang, and Pleiku, while a unit remained at Bien Hoa.
The 823 CES (HR) was inactivated in 1971, but was reactivated at Eglin AFB, Fla., on June 1,1972, incorporating elements of the 557th CES (HR), which was inactivated at Eglin the same day. The 823d became a Tactical Air Command (later named Air Combat Command) unit. In 1975, members constructed a tent city at Eglin for 5,000 Vietnamese refugees. In 1990 the unit deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. In 1993 it deployed to Somalia in support of United Nations-sponsored Operation Restore Hope. In 1995 it deployed to Bosnia to bed down Army troops supporting Operation Joint Endeavor, and in 1996 it built tent cities at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, to accommodate the move from Dhahran Air Base following the Khobar Towers bombing. In 1999, 823 RHS personnel deployed to forward locations throughout Europe to support Operation Allied Force and Operation Shining Hope. From 2001-2002, 823 RHS completed numerous major construction projects including a $9.1 million aircraft parking ramp in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Beginning in 2003, 823 RHS commenced rotational deployments to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The squadron's airborne RED HORSE team performed important explosive ordnance disposal work in southern Iraq and runway repair work at Baghdad International Airport during OIF. In July 2004, more than three dozen members of 823 RHS deployed to Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, for 180 days in support of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. They executed over $500 thousand in humanitarian and contingency construction projects in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya, and performed valuable civil-military relations work. Since 2006, 823 RHS personnel have deployed to over 40 locations in Afghanistan, Iraq and various locations in Southwest Asia n support of operations. They completed more than 356 construction projects valued at over $339 million. In April 2010 they installed a 2.4-million dollar airfield lighting system at Ali Base, Iraq, initiated construction of a 4.1-million dollar, 24 facility expansion of the Balad Air Base passenger terminal, and facilitated the responsible drawdown of forces in Iraq. During the same deployment, other personnel were in Afghanistan where they constructed a 9.3-million dollar headquarters compound at Kandahar which supported the Army's 5/2 Stryker Brigade. They also conducted 90 successful outside-the-wire combat logistics patrols in support of multiple construction projects at numerous Forward Operating Bases and continued the construction of an 8,600-foot, $20 million C-17 capable runway, which supported the Commander-in-Chief's 30,000 personnel troop surge. During the 2011 deployment to Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, 823 RHS constructed more than 39 million dollars in warehouses, airfields, ramps, marshaling yards, access roads, hangars, K-Spans, electrical distribution, pre-engineered buildings and billeting facilities.
Non-wartime operations performed by 823 RHS have included runway construction on Ascension Island, road building and harbor protection in the Azores, and disaster relief following Hurricanes Hugo, Andrew, Opal, Ivan, Isabel, and Katrina. In support of the New Horizons program, construction teams from 823 RHS have completed projects in Haiti, St. Kitts, Jamaica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Paraguay, Belize, and Peru.
The 823 RHS is an Air Combat Command asset assigned to Ninth Air Force, operating out of Hurlburt Field (formerly Eglin AF Auxiliary Field 9).
Lineage: Constituted 823rd Installations Squadron on January 19, 1956. Activated on June 1,1956. Redesignated 823d Civil Engineering Squadron on July 1, 1960. Discontinued and inactivated on October 1,1961. Redesignated 823d Civil Engineering Squadron (Heavy Repair), and activated on April 6, 1966. Organized on May 15, 1966. Redesignated 823d Civil Engineering Squadron, Heavy Repair, on October 15, 1969. Inactivated on June 151971. Activated on June 1, 1972. Redesignated 823d RED HORSE Civil Engineering Squadron March 10, 1989. Redesignated 823d RED HORSE Squadron on March 1, 1994.
Campaign Streamers. Vietnam: Vietnam Air, Vietnam Air Offensive 1966-1967, Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase II 1967-1968, Vietnam Air Offensive Phase III 1968, Vietnam Air/Ground 1968, Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase IV 1968-1969, TET 69/Counteroffensive 1969, Vietnam Summer -Fall, 1969, Vietnam Winter-Spring, 1970, Sanctuary Counteroffensive 1970, Southwest Monsoon, 1970, Commando Hunt V, 1970-1971, Commando Hunt VI, 1971. Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia 1990-1991, Liberation and Defense of Kuwait 1991. Kosovo: Air Campaign. Decorations. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Combat "V" Device: 31 January - 31 May 1968; 1 January 1969- 16 March 1970; 17 March 1970-31 March 1971; 1 June 2002-31 May 2003; Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 May 1976-1 May 1978; 15 July 1978-15 July 1980; 1 June 1983-31 May 1985; 1 June 1985-31 May 1987; 1 June 1988-31 May 1990; 3 September 1990-15 March 1991; 16 March 1991- 15 March 1993; 16 March 1993-15 March 1995; 16 March 1995-31 May 1996; 1 June 1996-31 May 1998; 1 June 2000-31 May 2002; 1 June 2010-31 May 2012. Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, 1 May 1966-15 June 1971.
Assignments: 823d Air Base (later, Combat Support) Group, 1 June 1956-1 October 1961; Pacific Air Forces, 6 April 1966; Seventh Air Force, 15 May 1966; 1st Civil Engineering Group (Heavy Repair) (later, 1st Civil Engineering Group, Heavy Repair), 15 May 1967; Seventh Air Force, 16 March 1970-15 June 1971; Ninth Air Force, 1 June 1972-Present
Stations: Homestead AFB, FL, 1 June 1956-1 Oct 1961; Bien Hoa AB, Vietnam, 15 May 1966-15 June 1971; Eglin AF Auxiliary Field 2, 1 Jun 1971; Eglin AF Auxiliary Field 9, FL, 1 July 1972-Present.
(Current as of April 2013)