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RED HORSE engineers move full speed ahead during humanitarian mission

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Kerry Jackson
  • Task Force New Horizons Public Affairs
A 64-member team of Air Force civil engineers are making speedy progress here in the completion of several construction projects supporting New Horizons - Peru 2008, a U.S. and Peruvian humanitarian efforts to bring relief to underprivileged Peruvians. 

The RED HORSE team, or Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer, comprised of engineers from the 820th and 555th RED HORSE Squadrons from Nellis AFB, Nev.; and the 219th RED HORSE Squadron at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., began the construction of a medical clinic and school in early June. The team was scheduled to complete the projects in late August, and despite the challenges they face in completing the projects, the team has pulled ahead of schedule. 

"We have an amazing group of engineers working on these projects, and I'm not surprised by the quality of their craftsmanship or the speed at which they have completed these projects," said Maj. Matt Joganich, the Task Force NEW HORIZONS commander. "They have proven time and time again that they are the engineers to call on for projects of this magnitude." 

Known for successfully operating in austere locations around world, the RED HORSE team assigned to Task Force New Horizons was faced with a number of challenges to include working in high-altitude environments at about 9,000 feet above sea level, transporting construction material and heavy equipment over small and unpaved roads, and locating construction material within the sparse local economy among others. 

"We pride ourselves on our ability to adapt to any situation or environment to complete our mission", said Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Lee, the Task Force New Horizons Construction Superintendent. "Our team of elite engineers is capable of constructing anything from small and large facilities to airfields anytime and anywhere." 

With the help of the U.S. Navy Seabees and U.S. Marine engineers, RED HORSE Airmen will construct three medical clinics, two schools, and two water wells that will affect more than 15,000 Peruvians living in the Ayacucho and Huanta regions of Peru. 

The U.S. Air Force's RED HORSE squadrons, similar to the U.S. Navy's Seabees, is a highly mobile, self sufficient team of more than 400 Airmen that are capable of rapidly deploying on short notice in support of contingency and special operations around the world. 

RED HORSE squadrons are unique from other Air Force civil engineers squadrons because they deploy with their own force protection, finance, medical, supply, food services and vehicle maintenance support, which enables them to operate self-sufficiently in remote, high-threat environments around the world. 

Air Force RED HORSE squadrons deploy with special capabilities, such as water-well drilling, explosive demolition, aircraft arresting system installation, quarry operations, concrete mobile operations, material testing, expedient facility assembly, and concrete and asphalt paving. 

The Air Force has fourteen active-duty, Reserve and Air National guard RED HORSE civil engineer squadrons throughout the Air Force. The Air Force's four active duty units include the 819th RED HORSE squadrons at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., the 820th RED HORSE squadron at Nellis AFB, Nev., the 554th RED HORSE squadron at Anderson AFB, Guam, and the 823rd RED HORSE squadron at Hurlburt AFB, Fl. 

"RED HORSE represents an incredible force enabling capability, said Major Joganich. " And during this mission we get a chance to put parts of that capability to good use, supporting a good cause." 

New Horizons projects are a physical manifestation of U.S. Southern Command's commitment to enhancing cooperation with the people of Peru and partner nations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Additional U.S. Southern Command humanitarian missions are scheduled to take place this year throughout Central and South America. 

New Horizons is scheduled through Aug. 31. 

To learn more about New Horizons - Peru 2008, visit