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Airmen celebrate 50 years of civil engineering heritage

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Franklin R. Ramos
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron celebrated their Air Force heritage at a briefing Oct. 1, 2014.

Oct. 1, 1964 was the birth of the Prime Base Engineering Emergency Force and Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer units established Oct. 12, 1965, in Air Force history.

"The purpose of this briefing was to inform the wing of the heritage of both the Prime BEEF and RED HORSE units," said Tech. Sgt. Randy Crum, 97th NCO in charge of pavements and heavy equipment. "It shows some of the history of how they developed and some important events that have occurred within the two units."

The U.S. Air Force primarily established Prime BEEF to support combat and warfighting teams. They also responded to peacetime tasking's such as major accidents, training exercises and natural disasters.

"The first Prime BEEF team out of Myrtle Beach AFB, S.C., was deployed within seven months of being established," said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brooke Byerley, 97th engineering assistant. "They were deployed to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to help bed down personnel. In 1965 they were also deployed to three bases in Vietnam to help build 12,000 linear feet of revetments for aircraft."

"For operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, 3,000 Prime BEEF members bedded down about 55,000 people and 1,200 aircraft," said Byerley. "In operation Iraqi Freedom about 18,000 Prime BEEF personnel helped open and expand 22 bases on nearly 200 sites which supported not just the Air Force, but all services."

RED HORSE is a highly mobile self-sustaining unit that encompasses its own services personnel, security forces and vehicle maintenance. They are a deployable heavy engineer repair squadron.

"All of those things are within a RED HORSE unit so when one deploys which is what it was primarily designed to do, it's entirely self-contained, it runs itself. It doesn't require any outside support whatsoever from any other unit," said Crum. "It's one of the first units on the ground when we go to a new location."

They are responsible for the major projects being constructed at new locations.

"We do large scale projects from nothing such as setting up a bare base camp, a new forward operating base and living quarters," said Crum.

For the past 50 years these two units have been crucial assets to the U.S. Air Force by constructing facilities and flightlines for new bases, assisting with natural disaster relief and even supporting humanitarian needs.