Chicagoland/O'Hare Chapter 142

                             Air Force Association





        AIR FORCE/MILITARY HISTORY

 

RED HORSE



  01 Oct 1965 - First two REDHORSE Squadrons, the 554th, (Penny Short) and the 555th (Triple Nickle) were formed and activated.


The 554th RED HORSE Squadron was constituted as the 554th Civil Engineering Squadron Heavy Repair, on 1 October 1965, and assigned to Pacific Air Forces for organization.  The unit was organized 12 October 1965 with station at Phan Rang Air Base, Vietnam.  Members of the 554th and 555th, the first two RED HORSE squadrons, received training at Cannon AFB prior to their deployment to Vietnam, and the 554th was the first to arrive in country in February 1966.  Its first major project was repair of the AM-2 runway at Phan Rang AB.  In 1967, it became the first RED HORSE unit to own and operate a concrete batch plant, constructing parking aprons.  The unit also completed numerous dormitories, dining halls, and other facilities at several bases.  It was reassigned to the 1sst Civil Engineering Group in May 1967.


The 554th moved to Cam Ranh Bay AB on 15 February 1970 and then to Da Nang AB on 30 November 1971.  By the end of 1971, the 554th was the only suadron remaining in the Republic of Vietnam.  It moved to U Tapao AB, Thailand, on 30 June 1972 to remove modular facilities there.  On 5 

January 1976, the unit moved to its current location at Osan AB, Korea,    and  was assigned to Pacific Air Forces.  It had a detachment in the Philippines for a short time.  In the early 1980's, the they were instrumental in constructing facilities at Suwon AB to bed down an A-10 squadron newly assigned to Fifth Air Force.


In 1987 the 554th was assigned to Seventh Air Force PACAF.  On 15 October 1988, it was re-designated as the 554th Civil Engineering Squadron, RED HORSE.  On 8 March 1989 it was re-designated as the 554th RED HORSE Civil Engineering Squadron, and on 1 March 1994 as the 554th RED HORSE Squadron  The unit's size was significantly reduced in the mid-1990's, but a plus-up began in 1999.  By November 2000 it was back to an assigned strength of 144.


Today the 554th is the only known Total Force squadron in the Air Force, composed of active duty, Reserve, and Air National Guard components.  In late 2000 the Air National Guard activated the 254 RED HORSE Flight, Camp Murrar, Washington, to augment the 554th RHS.  On 1 October 2001 Air Force Reserve Command activated the 555th RED HORSE Squadron, assigned to the 610th Regional Support Group, Nellis AFB NV, also to augment the 554th.  Gaining command was Pacific Air Forces.


In 2004, the 554th established an airborne capability known as the 554th RHS Assault Assessment and Repair Operations (AARO, pronounced "arrow") team to provide a rapid airfield seizure and repair capability for the Pacific theater.


In addition to its construction projects, the 554th is active in natural disaster recovery work in the Pacific region.  The Han River flows near Osan AB, and floods on a regular basis.  Using their heavy equipment, RED HORSE has repaired levies and minimized damage to the base and the local community numerous times.  It also played an important role in the recovery and repair of Clark AB, Philippines, following the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.

Search the RED HORSE ASSOCIATION at:  www.rhassn.us to learn the complete histories of all the RED HORSE squadrons, including the 555th, 556th, 557th, 560th, 819th, 820th, 823rd, and 307th.

PREVIOUS PAGE          HOME          NEXT PAGE