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MT Air National Guard leaves for Puerto Rico to help with hurric - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

MT Air National Guard leaves for Puerto Rico to help with hurricane relief

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Airmen assigned to 219th RED HORSE Squadron of the Montana Air National Guard are preparing to deploy to Puerto Rico to assist with Hurricane Maria relief efforts. 

The heavy construction specialists will use their experience working with the squadron’s Disaster Relief Bed-down Set (DRBS) to operate and maintain a similar system located at a tent city near the capital city of San Juan. 

A press release from the MT ANG says that during a natural disaster the DRBS system provides shelter and services to emergency responders. The 26 deployed airmen will also provide power generation and water purification for more than 300 emergency personnel working from the location.

The 219th RHS has a DRBS assigned to the unit and its members have trained extensively with the system.  

219th RHS leadership thanked the airmen who accepted the short-notice mission, and their families and employers for allowing them to respond and provide assistance during a critical time of need. 

“RED HORSE stands for rapid, engineering, deployable, heavy-operational repair, squadron engineers,” said 219th RHS Commander Colonel Rusty Vaira. “So when the nation calls or the state calls, we have to be ready to go. That’s what we plan for, and that’s what we train for.”

This is not the first time the 219 RHS has deployed in response to a natural disaster.

In 2013, airmen went to Colorado to help build roads after the state experienced major flooding.

The deployment to Puerto Rico is scheduled to last 30 days.


What does RED HORSE mean? Rapid Engineer Deployable, Heavy Operational Repair Squadron, Engineer (RED HORSE) squadrons provide the Air Force with a highly mobile civil engineering response force to support contingency and special operations worldwide.

From the Malmstrom AFB website:

RED HORSE's major wartime responsibility is to provide a highly mobile, rapidly deployable, civil engineering response force that is self-sufficient to perform heavy damage repair required for recovery of critical Air Force facilities and utility systems, and aircraft launch and recovery. In addition, it accomplishes engineer support for beddown of weapon systems required to initiate and sustain operations in an austere bare base environment, including remote hostile locations. 

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