201st RED HORSE Squadron

The RED HORSED mission is 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.

In the fall of 1971, there was a dramatic change in the 193rd Civil Engineering Flight when part of the unit was converted into a RED HORSE flight based at Indiantown Gap Military Reservation in Pennsylvania.  With LTC Clarence L. “Scoop” Withers as commander, many 193rd Tactical Electronic Warfare (TEW) Group members transferred to the new unit. Formally known as the 201st Civil Engineering Flight Heavy Repair (CEFHR), it was to be a highly mobile, rapid repair outfit capable of moving personnel and heavy earth moving equipment to any part of the world within 72 hours.  Its equipment inventory included graders, bulldozers, and heavy trucks.

The 201st CEFHR is a 235-member, highly mobile, rapidly deployable, self-supporting construction team with one-third of its personnel in the vertical construction trades, one-third heavy equipment operators, and one-third support function personnel.

The 201st CEFHR’s primary mission is to plan and construct air bases, and run ways, and to repair air base facilities.  Although regular Air Force units historically completed heavy contingency construction, particularly in Southeast Asia, the 201st CEFHR and the 200th Civil Engineering Squadron Heavr Repair (CESHR) is the first Air National Guard (ANG) unit to undertake this mission.  The 200th CESHR is located in Port Clinton, Ohio.  In the event of mobilization, both units would be merged, and the combination of both units would form the 200th Civil Engineering Squadron (HR) (Wartime Configuration), now referred to as the 200th RED HORSE Squadron (RHS).  All ANG and Reserve units have approximately 200 personnel assigned.

In addition to the RED HORSE mission, the 201st RHS operates three schools at Fort Indiantown Gap:  (1) The Regional Equipment Operator Training Site (REOTS) that has been in official operation since 1 October 1989.  Six Hundred and Forty Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and the Air National Guard Equipment Operators are provided with the unique opportunity to train in the operation of specific RRR heavy equipment, (excavator, crawler tractor, 4 CY loader, and grader), not normally available at their home station;  (2) A (Specialty Training Site) utilities type engineer specialty training on a variety of war time tasks and a special emphasis on bare base beddown equipment. The Petroleum, Oil and Lubrications Rapid Utility Repair Kit (POLRURK), Minimum Airfields Arresting System (MAAS), Emergency Airfields Lighting System (EALS), Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit (ROWPU), field shower units and the concrete saw are some of the specialty equipment now available for this specialized training.  (3) A truck driving school where students are given both class room and experience on the road.

The Air National Guard’s oldest RED HORSE units, the 201st RHS and its sister unit the 200th RHS, both got the go-ahead to plus-up under BRAC 2005.  In April 2008 the 201st RHS activated its 200-person Detachment 1 at Willow Grove Air Reserve Station in Horsham, PA.  The 201st RHS with its Det 1, now brings a 404-person RED HORSE Squadron and one of only two such National Guard squadron-detachment combinations within a single state. This also ends the 201st RHS’s previous association with the 200th RHS.

Within Pennsylvania, the 201st RHS has been consistently involved in construction projects to support local communities.  In the past five years, 30 suspected “crack” houses in various cities have been demolished and over 50 others sealed in support of the federal drug interdiction program.  Additionally, an average of three domestic action projects, such as ball fields or parking lots, are completed each year for local communities.  The most recent local civic action projects were the construction of the Schuylkill County Vietnam Veterans Memorial, two ball fields in Schuylkill County, two ball fields in South Hanover Township in Dauphin County and construction of Line Stabilization systems to improve water quality.  The unit also provided assistance to the governor four of the last five years during declared state emergencies, including emergency snow removal, stranded vehicle recovery from our interstate highways, transporting road salt from New York to various state storage facilities throughout Pennsylvania, flood debris cleanup, and flood remediation projects.  Many members of the 201st RHS continually volunteer to participate in local activities such as parades and fairs, displaying the unit’s commitment to our great country and commonwealth.

Significant state-level missions the unit has supported include an activation in September 2011 for flood relief in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Also, in November 2012 to deal with the after-effects of Hurricane Irene.  The unit has deployed as part of the Pennsylvania Joint Task Force supporting two Presidential inaugurations in 2009 and 2013.

Because the 201st RHS is a combat-ready unit, great emphasis is placed on training.  Personnel are trained in their individual Air Force specialties, personal survival skills, as well as in areas that support activities necessary to fulfill the special requirements of the unit’s mission.  The unit has deployed members to locations around the world to support Department of Defense projects and domestic action programs.  Recently, RED HORSE members deployed to Haiti, Honduras, Korea, Guatemala, Columbia, Germany, Alaska, Canada, North Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee where they constructed roads, field camps, schools, buildings, water well systems, and runway extensions.  Unit tasks include deployments to England, Italy, California, New Mexico, along with some local civic action projects.

In 2000, the 201st RHS and the 200th deployed to Camp Snoopy, Qatar, for three months to take on more than a dozen construction projects.

In 2002, the combined squadron completed a rotation at Al Udeid AB, Qatar, to perform construction projects throughout Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. It marked the first time an entire reserve component RED HORSE squadron was tasked and partially mobilized to support a major wartime operation and functioned as a full RED HORSE squadron, rather than just augmenting active-duty operations or backfilling open positions.  Of special note, the Expeditionary 200th/201st RHS completely rebuilt the runway and the Air Force Village at Bagram AB Afghanistan, and was one of the first units to conduct airfield repair work at night using night vision goggles.  Using the hub and spoke concept, they performed work at 13 main operating bases in 10 different countries in Southwest Asia during their 180-day tour, involving over $14.5 million in construction material procurement and heavy equipment rental.

The unit deployed to Southwest Asia again in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009 and 2014, and in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel/Inherent Resolve from September 2019 to July 2020.


14 Sep 1971- 201st RED HORSE Flight established
15 Oct 1988- All units redesignated Civil Engineering Squadron, RED HORSE
8 Mar 1989- All units redesignated RED HORSE Civil Engineering Squadron
1 Mar 1994- All units redesignated RED HORSE Squadron
Mar 2004- Redesignated RED HORSE Squadron

Harrisburg, PA
Fort Indiantown Gap, PA