NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. â€” The 820th RED HORSE Squadron saved the Air Force over half-a-million dollars while improving training and safety, during the Ellsworth Road re-alignment project.
The re-alignment of Ellsworth Road starts Monday, April 30, 2012, and is projected to be finished mid-October. The current routing of Ellsworth Road skirts the North end of the Nellis runways, creating a potential safety risk for drivers and pilots. A waiver allowed continued operations, but the re-routing project will put a 2,00-foot buffer between ground vehicles and aircraft on the runway.
To fulfill this need, the 820th RED HORSE squadron will do the work at a fraction of the projected cost. The savings start at the rock quarry, where the heavy equipment operators make their own base course, the crushed rock used for road foundations. All steps in making the products are performed by RED HORSE Airmen, from blasting the rock off the mountain to crushing the large stones into gravel.
â€œBy producing all the materials in-house, we are able to save the Air Force $200,000 off the top of the project,â€ said Master Sgt. Brandon Mathis, project manager of Ellsworth Road re-alignment.
As the Air Forceâ€™s pilot unit for asphalt, concrete and quarry operations, the 820th conducts training in these areas for all fourteen RED HORSE squadrons in the Air Force. The classes provide Airmen with the skills they need for upcoming deployments. During deployments, RED HORSE squadrons often provide construction services to developing countries around the world.
During a recent deployment to Suriname (Northern South America), the 820th RED HORSE squadron spent four months improving the lives of the local citizens. Tech. Sgt. William Mello, 820th RED HORSE squadron heavy equipment operator recalls making a positive change for the children there. â€œWe installed new plumbing in several orphanages,â€ said Williams. â€œWe also increased the capacity of two schools by fifty percent and another by seventy five percent.â€
While at home station, the 820th RED HORSE squadron contribute their talents to improving structures at Nellis. Working day and night, they will produce all materials and add 10,000 feet, making the travel near Nellis runways safer.