RED HORSE roars through training

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christopher Callaway
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
At any given time, Hurlburt Field Airmen may hear loud booms and feel the ground shake under their feet. It's a normal occurrence on Hurlburt Field and most people give the credit to the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadrons Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen. However, the masterminds behind the explosions were 25 Airmen from the 823rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers.

RED HORSE is known as a self-sufficient civil engineer response force capable of rapidly deploying to support contingency and special operations worldwide.

"We are a stand-alone unit," said Tech Sgt. Ronald Weymer, a demolition account custodian and noncommissioned officer-in-charge of training for 823rd RED HORSE. "Every function done on base we can accomplish in our own squadron."

Every month the RED HORSE demolition team takes time out of their normal duties to take part in monthly proficiency training in demolition.

The training ensured the demolition team is fully capable of base denial operations, where they destroy runways, power plants or any infrastructures. The training also helped make the unit more efficient in demolition, such as destroying disabled or condemned buildings and bridges to make room for new infrastructures.

"We are still fully qualified to resurface runways and that is our main job, but this training helps us stay demolition-qualified," Weymer said. "We're able to dig down for the bedrock and blast it out to use as building materials for roads and airfield repair."

The training started in the morning with all the Airmen gathered for a safety briefing and then they were split into groups to prepare for the first demolition.

The squadron used 420 pounds of explosives, including 40 pounds of cratering charges, 40 pounds of shape charges, C4 plastic explosives, TNT and military-grade dynamite to carry out their training.

All members filed into a cement bunker tucked safely away in the woods. One member then gave a count down and yelled "fire in the whole." Everyone plugged their ears and moments later the ground shook followed by a deafening roar.

After the explosion, the team made its way to view the crater. Weymer estimated the crater was roughly 12 feet deep - smaller than the normal crater they see during training.

The team went on to do three more blasts and stayed out for more training throughout the day.

"Sometimes training works great and sometimes we won't get the desired outcome," Weymer said. "That's why we train."