NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The 820th RED HORSE’s Airborne Flight joined the 27th Engineer Brigade in a Joint Operational Access Exercise to train in how to perform mass air drops and runway repair at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The exercise had some soggy weather to contend with, but the weather didn’t hold back the airborne jumpers.
“Our airborne Airmen were able to jump with 60 Soldiers from the 161st Engineer Support Company combat airborne as well as a Large Airfield Repair Package,” said 1st Lt. Joseph Miller, 820th RED HORSE project engineer, “We then joined up and continued on an airfield contingency exercise where we showcased our engineering capabilities. It’s something the Army isn’t used to seeing, and it was great we were able to introduce them to a different way of rapid runway repair.”
This isn’t the first time the U.S. Army and the 820th RED HORSE have worked together in joint training.
“The traditional role of RED HORSE has been to support the Army in addition to the Air Force in a deployed environment,” Miller said, “We work hard in exercises like JOAX to keep RED HORSE’s good name so people know when they see the red hats that help is on the way.”
RED HORSE Airmen got first-hand experience watching and assisting the Army preform a mass air drop over the drop zones of Fort Bragg.
“It was a great experience to see how the Army does its mass airborne exercise operations,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Keller structures craftsman, “I think it was a mutual experience; we both introduced some new ideas to one another.”
With RED HORSE’s participation JOAX complete, talks of future joint exercises have already begun.
“We are trying to join the 820th RED HORSE in future exercises at Nellis and in other JOAXs,” said Maj. Andrew Baker, 27th Engineer Brigade. “There was never a doubt of the 820th RED HORSE Airmen’s qualifications, and they proved us right, we look forward to future joint exercises with them.”
Weather didn’t let the 820th RED HORSE fully showcase their capabilities, but their knowledge left a lasting impression on the 27th Engineer Brigade.
“After working with RED HORSE, we would like to start sending our Soldiers to some Air Force training schools,” Baker said. “I was very impressed with the professionalism, knowledge and work ethic of the RED HORSE Airmen.”
Even though there was unexpected weather and schedule changes the Airmen were flexible and finished strong during the two week JOAX.
“We had 14 of our guys complete a successful jump and our heavy equipment operators have done a great job with the side jobs the Army has asked them to do,” Miller said. “Being put on weather holds, the Airmen of the 820th RED HORSE kept a positive attitude and did a great job.”