REDHORSE team members repave Dyess' runway Oct. 18 while the base B-1s are deployed. The work REDHORSE does here and around the Air Force trains them to deploy in support of the Global War on Terror. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Felicia Juenke)
Work at Dyess preps REDHORSE team for deployment

by Senior Airman Carolyn Viss
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

10/31/2007 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 823rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers arrived here Sept. 24 to begin runway construction, saving Dyess money and providing them critical skills, training for forward-deployed locations including Iraq and Afghanistan. 

This itinerant unit deploys on regular basis, in and out of cycle, but spends a majority of their time stateside traveling to bases that need work done, saving the base millions in labor and giving the team the skills they need to perform overseas. 

"This is what we call troop training," said Master Sgt. Jerry Girvan, a REDHORSE heavy equipment operator. "We're based at Hurlburt Field, Fla., and we travel all over the country training people on common processes and equipment so that we know what they're capable of before they deploy." 

Five of Sergeant Girvan's 19 years in the Air Force have been in the REDHORSE unit, and it's "the best job out there," he said. He and members of the team will be leaving for his fourth deployment around February. 

"We build everything from tent cities to runways, and we replace and repair a lot of asphalt," he said. They can be away from home for nine months out of the year, although they try to keep each temporary duty to 60 days or less. 

And his team's definitely done that at Dyess, he said. They're running about a week ahead of schedule and plan to leave here around Nov. 10. 

"This team's been awesome," said Col. James Hammes, 7th Mission Support Group commander. "These guys have been working 12 to 14 hours per day, six days a week, and have done an outstanding job." 

Bringing the REDHORSE team here was the best way to provide them with realistic training for deployment while saving the Air Force millions, he said. 

"We want to bring the B-1s back from Ellsworth as early as we can," Colonel Hammes said. "I can't wait for there to be noise over the city of Abilene again."