200th RED HORSE Squadron Detachment 1

To support combat air power worldwide, RED HORSE provides the Commander of Air Force Forces (COMAFFOR) a dedicated, flexible, airfield and base heavy construction and repair capability.  RED HORSE also provides many special capabilities that allow the COMAFFOR to move and support missions as the air order of battle dictates.  The standard RED HORSE capability consists of 404 personnel (engineers and support personnel) with approximately 1,000 short-tons of vehicles, heavy construction and support equipment.  This organic support allows the unit to operate independently for extended periods of time until normal supply channels are established. In addition to the standard capability, the RED HORSE special capabilities consist of approximately 2,200 short-tons, which can be tailored to meet specific construction and repair requirements. When operating in a higher threat, non-permissive environment outside a forward operating base or collocated operating base, the RED HORSE commander, in coordination with the area commander (i.e. combat arms land force commander), determines additional security requirements based on operational risk.

Under BRAC 2005 the Air National Guard’s oldest RED HORSE squadron (RHS), after 37 years from the squadron’s inception, got the go ahead to plus up to a full squadron.  On July 20, 2008, the historic activation of this new 200-person detachment took place in Mansfield, Ohio.  The 200th, with its new Det 1, now brings a 404-person RHS and is one of only two such National Guard squadron-detachment combinations within a single state.  With the addition of Mansfield’s detachment, there are now eight RED HORSE units in the Air National Guard, six of these Guard units form three, full RHS’s, while two others, the 219th RHS in Montana and the 254th RHS in Guam, are associated with active-duty units.  The National Guard has deployed its RHS’s for wartime and homeland missions since 1972.

The Ohio detachment was activated in April 2008, but because its Airmen were already deployed along Arizona’s southern border in support of Operation Jump Start, the July 20, 2008 date was the first opportunity the entire squadron had available to come together to recognize the standup and hold their flagging ceremony.  Although a morning storm at Mansfield Air Guard Base shortened the activation ceremony for Detachment 1 of the 200th RHS, hundreds of its red-capped civil engineers were still able to witness their unit’s new flag unfurled outside.  Airmen from the squadron’s headquarters at Port Clinton, Ohio, outside Camp Perry, who hold more worldwide deployments under their belts than most unit, joined them.  The activation ceremony started without incident, until a bulldozer of lightning, thunder, and heavy rain pushed the formation indoors.

Master Sgt Thomas E Cullen, the structures superintendent at the time of the 200th RHS was in attendance during this momentous ceremony.  Cullen’s shop had several recent enlistees during Operation Jump Start.  They were busy on various projects, grinding metal beams, cutting wood and bending sheet-metal.  Cullen said his shop also had five Airmen currently at technical schools.  Cullen stated the expanded RED HORSE Squadron also brought changes, including new additions in Cullen’s 30-man shop, which could pour concrete, erect vaulted “K-Span” buildings made from coiled steel, and fabricate wood, metal and other materials.  “Everything is coming together real good, and I like it,” said Cullen.

The new detachment was manned with a mix of Camp Perry’s Airmen, civil engineers from across Ohio, neighboring Pennsylvania, and nearly 120 new recruits; they were very young.  An accomplishment was in manning the new detachment to 95 percent capacity within a year, much of that is credited to the recruiters at Mansfield’s 179th Airlift Wing, of which the detachment was a tenant.

Although the squadron at Camp Perry is the main headquarters, and where its support offices are located, the detachment is equally equipped, including typical heavy equipment such as backhoes, bulldozers, and dump trucks.  The Mansfield detachment has an additional air insert (helicopter) team.

The next challenge was training and preparing the entire RED HORSE squadron for an Operation Iraqi Freedom deployment in 2010.  The detachment also worked with the city of Mansfield to secure a 60-acre plot across the runway from the Mansfield Air Base, where they said they would have more room for their equipment and training.

“We should be ready for our deployment,” Cullen said.

In April 2008 the new unit’s first deployment was along the Arizona border, in support of Operation Jump Start, airmen from Camp Perry and Mansfield joined in their first deployment together.  There, the squadron poured nearly a mile of concrete roadway, installed 5,700 feet of guardrail, and setup more than 21 miles of electrical lines, their connections and light-poles.  MSgt Cullen said,“ All the rotations down to Jump Start were done as a joint effort, all the equipment and work done there is what we do here or deployed, and it was really good training.”

In May 2014 the 200th RHS Det 1, Mansfield, hosted the 73rd Troop Command Brigade Homeland Response Force in an exercise by the Homeland Response Force, FEMA Region 5, May 3, 2014.  The 200th RHS Det 1 set the stage by creating the tent city for the exercise, while supporting Air National Guard members from the 179th Airlift Wing of Mansfield, 125th Intelligence Squadron and 269th Combat Communications Squadron, both of Springfield, contributed to the joint exercise.  In the event of a large-scale emergency, the Ohio National Guard must be prepared.  Many organizations and people need to be ready to assist the public in its most desperate of times.  To have an accurate understanding of how organizations work together for a real life events, this exercise effectively prepared the National Guard for the “unknown events” that come up in any emergency

In 2017, in the wake of Hurricane Irma and Maria the Ohio Air National Guard’s 200th RHS Det 1 was deployed assisting in the recovery efforts in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  They sent two complete Disaster Relief Bed-down Systems (DRBS) to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and then the second to Puerto Rico.  This included water purification systems.  Each DRBS provides basic life needs such as shelter, showers, latrines and laundry that sustains up to 150 people for as long as needed.

In 2019, the Garfield project in Ravenna, Ohio, gave the 200th RHS the opportunity to practice erecting a K-Span structure by building a 7200 square foot vehicle maintenance bay that will be used by the Ohio Army Guard during their annual training.  The K-Span is a special capability tasked to RED HORSE.  This project helps unit members remain proficient in the use of the Ultimate Building Machine (UBM) used to build these K-Spans.

In 2023, 200th RHS Det 1 members were tasked to deploy to a remote base in Spain that serves 550+ US military members, dependents, and civilian contractors. Staying true to their motto “Can Do, Will Do, and Have Done” by constructed a new patio, created new parking lots, renovated office space, and accomplished the groundwork for a new firing range.







April 2008 – 200th Detachment 1, federally recognized

Mansfield Air Base, OH

HQ Ohio Air National Guard