BELIZE CITY, BELIZE — Staff Sgt. Adam Moreau has been with the 820th RED HORSE Squadron out of Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for about nine years, and he is applying those years of experience to New Horizons Belize 2014.
New Horizons is an annual exercise incorporating Belize Defence Force, U.S. military and other countries’ government and non-government organizations as they receive engineering and medical training opportunities for all involved.
With his experience, and working with so many Airmen who are on their first international mission, Moreau is doing his best to guide the novice Airmen in their trade as he receives an advanced education in leadership.
His career started 12 years ago at Langley Air Force Base, Va., now Joint Base Langley-Eustis, where he worked at the civil engineer squadron. A RED HORSE team arrived to construct a pre-engineered building, or PEB, and Moreau asked how he could become a part of such a team.
“I asked if I could work there, and back then you had to submit a package,” Moreau said.
Not long after, he received orders and has been with RED HORSE since.
Previous deployments for Moreau include Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as mission in numerous other countries around the world, but the construction work on New Horizons is more challenging than he expected.
“Belize is my fifth or sixth deployment, and it’s the hardest work I’ve done,” he said. “But it’s the first deployment for all of the structures Airmen.”
Since it is the first deployment for quite a few Airmen, it’s no surprise there’s a lot of learning going around.
“To me, everything is different here, but for them there’s no comparison. They don’t have any other experience building like this to compare it to,” said Moreau, who said many of the Airmen also have only a few years of Air Force experience.
This may seem like a challenge, but it’s not a challenge too great for Moreau as he works together with the construction site’s project manager, Master Sgt. Vince DiLoreto, to make sure construction is on par at the Sadie Vernon Technical High School in Belize City, Belize.
“This is the first time I’ve been the craft lead,” he said. And for the craft lead and the project manager, it’s imperative to be “five steps ahead of everyone else and one step ahead of yourself.”
“I’m helping make sure the job site is good as far as material, quality, manning, plans and training,” he said. “We have to lay block the right way 5,500 times, so I have a tight tolerance. We’re hoping this building lasts 30 years or more.”
Fortunately for Moreau, he’s not new to being in a leadership position – an important quality on such a mission as New Horizons.
“I think (RED HORSE leadership) knew I could handle this role,” said Moreau. “I have a lot of time and experience on the job both in the military and the civilian world as a leader of peers. The military has taught me how to time manage not just for myself, but for other people.”
“I also apply that time management principle to my kids,” said the father of two.
After a long day at work on Nellis AFB, Moreau said he goes home and manages the time with his children, making sure they both are fed and finished with homework before bed.
At 6 and 7 years old, Moreau said this deployment has been different for his children.
“They’ve been through four of my last deployments. They used to cry because they knew I was leaving but didn’t really get it. This is the first time I left that they cried because they really do understand that I won’t be around for a while,” Moreau said.
To count down the days and make the time away more bearable — fun, even — Moreau said they both have a jar of jelly beans that started with the approximate number of days Moreau planned on being deployed.
“Each day they get to eat one jelly bean to count down the days until I get back,” he said.
Technology has also changed since his first few deployments.
“It used to be just a phone call on a (satellite phone) when I could. Now they can email me and text me whenever they want,” Moreau said. “There are a bunch of misspellings, but it’s all adorable.”
Moreau said he looks forward to getting back to his children after the New Horizons Belize 2014 exercise is over and then planning for the future, whatever that future may hold.