On an early morning on April 4, with forklifts, bulldozers, backhoes, generators, trucks and CONEX boxes in tow, the convoy made its way to an open field at McCrady Training Center. Upon arrival, the buses full of 560th RED HORSE Squadron airmen quickly unloaded all their heavy equipment and got to work. They surveyed the land, enabled generators, deployed water and latrine stations, erected shelters and a communications center. Over 200 U.S. Reserve Citizen Airmen assigned to the 560th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers worked at McCrady Training Center, Eastover, South Carolina April 4 and 5, 2018.
“We’re tasked with heavy operations downrange,” said Senior Airman Schyler Carbone, an engineering assistant. “We deploy with all the heavy equipment to move massive amounts of land.” 560 RH is crucial to provide the foundation of structure necessary to run Air Force operations in any location that it requires. They have the ability to reshape the landscape and create an environment suitable for any need. “We can start from scratch with a remote area and we can build and airfield and infrastructure so we that we can begin airfield operations,” said Maj. Jason Pryor, deputy commander.
Additionally, they can operate independently of any other form of assistance for up to 60 days without any resupply. “We provide heavy construction and have the ability to rapidly mobilize,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Crump, a structural craftsman. “We can go into a remote location and take a project from start to finish.”
“Our main objective is to get our airmen out into an environment where they can concentrate on their contingency skills and special capabilities for Red Horse,” said Lt. Col. Horace Jones, commander of the 560 RHS. “[This training] involves staying out in the field environment, being comfortable in field conditions and being able to do what we do best and that’s build a bare base, build tent city.”
Master Sgt. Clifford Thomas says that training in field conditions at McCrady allowed them to foster cooperation and build camaraderie. With over 38 different Air Force Specialty Codes, the logistics of organizing training for each profession can be challenging. The sheer number of 560 RH airmen that gather together at each Unit Training Assembly weekend at Joint Base Charleston means that they are usually split up by AFSC. In contrast, the training provided an opportunity to allow the airmen from the 560 RH to live, work and learn together. “It really allows us to come together as one,” he said.