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554th RED HORSE IN VIETNAM!!

Webmaster: R.G."Andy" Anderson

WE ALWAYS LEAD

This is the interpretation from the Latin of DOS DUCEMOS SEMPER?, the motto on our Air Force approved squadron emblem. First Lieutenant I. John Studebaker, the designer of the emblem explains its significance as being symbolic of the squadron and its mission. The American Eagle, our national bird, symbolizes the United States and its airpower. The engineers transit and the gear refer to the unit primary mission. The globe alludes to the world-wide capabilities of the squadron and its first mission with PACAF. The emblem bears the national colors and the Air Force Colors gold and ultramarine blue.

The Original 554 Civil Engineering (RED HORSE) Patch was sent to Red Horse Country by AIC Don Averett. Don is one of the original 554 HORSEMAN. He attended Red Horse Training at Cannon Air Force Base in November and December 1965 under Colonel William Conti. The original 554 Horsemen arrived at Camn Rahn Bay, Vietnam on 30 December 1965 and then went to Phan Rang Air Base, Vietnam on the 7th or 8th of January 1966. Thanks for the pictures Don.


Picture of the First 554 Red Horse Flag was sent to "Red Horse Country" from Don Averett.


This is a picture of a tent city at Cam Ran Bay,Vietnam. Sent in by Don Averett.

This is the 554 Red Horse Gate at Phan Rang, Vietnam back in 1966. AIC Don Averett is manning the post in this picture and is the airman on the right side.

This is the 554 Red Horse Gate at Phan Rang, Vietnam. Picture was taken in 1968. The little Red Horse centered on the gate was stolen by the triple nickel Red Horse Squadron and taken to their base at Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam. This picture was sent to Red Horse Country from Tommy J. King and we believe that is Tommy sitting in this picture.

This is a picture of AIC Don Averett laoding ARMCO Revetments at the beach. ARMCO Revetments were assembled and sand placed inside of them. ARMCO Revetments were used to protect aircraft, munitions, and other high priority areas from mortors and small arms fire.


This is a view of a bunker and some hootches in the Red Horse Compound at Phan Rang, Vietnam. Taken by Don Averett.


Inside of the Dining Facility at Phan Rang, Vietnam. Taken by Don Averett.


Loading rock for the Runway at Phan Rang, Vietnam.


Another picture of loading rock for the Runway at Phan Rang, Vietnam.


Here the Horsemen are waiting along the edge of the Runway at Phan Rang for the last sortie to finish so that they can make repairs to the runway and keep the planes flying and supporting the war.


This is a view from a compactor that is compacting the runway aggragate to stabalize it for so AM2 Matting can be placed on it and to keep the aircraft traffic flowing from Phan Rang.


In this picture you can see some of the AM2 Matting neatly stacked.

A WORD FROM THE BOSS
Colonel James F. Conti

Seven months ago as I stood on the balcony of the hanger at Cannon AFB watching you people reporting into the 554th Civil Engineering Squadron (Heavy Repair), I asked myself, are two months long enough to whip this outfit into a construction organization and truly be effective in a combat theatre of operations? By 15 January 1966 my confidence in the organization began to soar. At that time I felt that we definitely had the makings of a truly number one organization.

On 19 February 1966, the movement of squadron personnel to Phan Rang, Vietnam was completed. I had the feeling at that time, that most of us were most happy at completing our guest status with the C-130 squadrons.

During our early days at Phan Rang, the capabilities of the squadrons began to show themselves. In a very short time with practically nothing to work with we had ourselves a fairly comfortable tent camp to live in. A bit dusty now and then, but then war has never been known to be a picnic.

I must admit that during our early days while constructing our permanent cantonment area and interim operations area, I had a few misgivings. Remember learning what grade stakes meant, and how difficult it was to make the grader blade and the scraper obey the one inch impulse, and the results were disastrous, varying from six to ten inches. Remember the multiple excavations, by hand, of our first Butler Building foundations; our first concrete pours?

There are several military expressions that covered our early efforts SNAFU and others far more expressive. We went thru some growing pains, all of us including myself.

Looking at the quality of our work today; in light of shortages of equipment spare parts and most critical of all, a chronic shortage of supplies. An outsider would never believe that a mere seven months ago we were total strangers, the majority of whom had never been in medium or heavy construction. The results achieved to date are a monument to your hard work, ingenuity, initiative and imagination. I find it impossible to pick out any one flight or section and say you are the best. The only way I can express my feelings is, we are the BEST!?

Continuing our present level of output, and materials becoming available, I am sure we will set a record of achievement that will never be equalled by follow-on squadrons.

Gentlemen, I am proud of you and your accomplishments and prouder yet to be your Commander. We have seven months to go. They will pass rapidly. Keep up your good work. We are a paradox in war. We build and repair rather than destroy. Let us proudly leave behind us a monument to ourselves that will be here many, many years after we have completed our tour.

Colonel James F. Conti, Commander


This is a street scene in the villiage of Phan Rang, Vietnam.


Here you have a picture in the middle of Phan Rang City and with some of its everyday traffic.


This is some of the money that they used in Vietnam while we were over there.


ANDY, This is a picture of a B-57. There were 3 seperate aircraft incidents at Phan Rang While I was there.
The first was a F-4D simi-crashing, after stating he had no hydraulics and no brakes. The 1st Lietenant made several passes with no luck. Tower tells him to deploy his parachute, and we deploy the crash barrier. He misses the barrier on the first pass. The next pass the hook grabs the barrier and yanks the phantom out of the sky and put landing ear tire tread imprints in the AM-2 matting, which we had to replace.
Second, was a F-4D, who claimed he was battle damaged over Hanoi and had no hydraulics. The pilot was told to dump most of his fuel before landing. He dumps all of his fuel and flames out on final approach. Comes in low and strikes the concrete border at north end of runway and drags off the landing gear and slides 4,700 feet on the AM-2 matting. No one hurt, but again we had to repair the AM=2 matting.
Third, on an early Sunday morning a mission was underway, and a F-100 fully loaded catches fire on take off. He continues to the north end of the runway and turns right onto the warm-up pad and the fighter burns up completely. Two crewmen escape unharmed. Again Redhorse had to replace all of the AM-2 matting at the run-up pad.
All of this was happening while we where also redoing the complete runway that the Army Engineers had made a real mess while putting it down originally.
The Aussie pilots flying the B-57s never had a problem on the base. However I understand one Canterberry was lost over the north.
The pilot of the first F-4D that had problems was credited with over 100 missions over Vietnam. He was grounded and given the job of Base Safety Officer. Ron Averett


This is the shoulder patch that was worn by the 554 Horsemen at Da Nang, Vietnam during the 70-71 years. This was sent to us from Chuck Champion. Thanks Chuck for the patch and information.....

CLICK ON PICTURE TO READ NEWSPAPER ARTICLE

CLICK ON PICTURES TO MAKE THEM LARGER


This is an arial view of the 554th Red Horse Compound at Phan Rang, Vietnam 66-67, after the tent hootches were replaced with more permanent construction by the Horsemen and their Vietnamese craftsmen. Picture was given to Red Horse Country by LtCol Robert Mix.


This was our Phan Rang Chapel. It was designed by a Red Horse Officer in the 554th Civil Engineer Squadron Heavy Repair (Red Horse) and constructed by our Horsemen and our Vietnamese Craftsmen.
Picture was sent to Red Horse Country by LtCol Robert Mix.


In this picture you find the 554th Horsemen with their Vietnamese Craftsmen hard at work erecting a water storage tank at Phan Rang, Vietnam in the 66-67 era.
Picture was sent to Red Horse Country by LtCol Robert Mix.


This is a picture of completed water storage tanks at Phan Rang, Vietnam. These tanks were all constructed by the 554th Civil Engineering Squadron Heavy Repair (Red Horse) in the 1966-1967 era.
Picture was sent to Red Horse Country by LtCol Robert Mix.


This picture was taken at Phan Rang, Vietnam. On the left is LtCol Mix the deputy Red Horse Commander and on the right you have Col Carey the Red Horse Commander for the 554thCESHR. The two gentlemen in the middle are Australian Engineering Officers who were sharing quarters with our Horsemen until their compound was constructed. They were supporting an Aussie squadron of Canberra Bombers.

The Aussie's had no heavy equipment, but did have access to a lot of small power tools, which we were lacking. So they borrowed our heavy earth moving equipment in exchange for a lot of small equipment.

The picture and narrative was sent to Red Horse Country by LtCol Robert Mix.


Col Carey is briefing an Australian Engineering Officer on Red Horse Projects at Phan Rang, Vietnam. LtCol Robert Mix the Deputy Commander for the 554th Red Horse is observing the briefing.
Picture was sent to Red Horse Country by LtCol Robert Mix.

The below pictures were sent to RED HORSE COUNTRY from Ron Ward who was stationed at Phan Rang, Vietnam in 1966. Thanks Ron!

 

                     
 
 
             
 
 
         

Click on the above pictures to enlarge them!
 
 
 
 

Excerted from Air Force Civil Engineer magazine, February 1968

In late 1967, the 554th RED HORSE Squadron replaced one million square feet of aircraft parking apron at Phan Rang AB, Vietnam. It was the first such constructio0n of an aircraft ramp by military personnel in a combat zone and was considered one or the highest priority construction projects by HQ Seventh Air Force. It provided aircraft parking for the 314th Air Commando Wing, which flew 50 C-123 Providers. The first task was removal of over 973,000 sf of AM-2 aluminum matting consisting of 48,305 individual panels. The matting was difficult to separate. Panel joints were clogged with a combination of clay, concrete and asphalt; extreme warping had been caused by repetitive loading over uneven grade; and temperatures were in excess of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the task was completed in 22 days.

After the AM-2 was removed, earthwork to prepare the base for asphalt was accomplished by 13 self-propelled scrapers, 8 graders, 3 paddle foot compactors, and push dozers. Failed areas were excavated and the old base was leveled and compacted. In some areas it was necessary to excavate from 8-10 feet in depth to repair the subbase failure. Over 65,000 cubic yards of hill run rock was excavated from the borrow pit two miles from the construction site. Approximately 30,000 tons of 1 3/4 inch-minus gravel was produced by the crushers and was compacted as base for the asphalt. For fine aggregate a meandering river was located 7 miles from the plant and material was hauled in. At times, more than 40 dump trucks, ranging in size from 5 to 20 tons, were used.

On 6 June, the asphalt plant was placed into operation. Practically all personnel involved had no previous experience in the production and laydown of asphalt. In fact, one-half of them were never in the civil engineering field before coming to Vietnam. An around-the-clock operation was required to heat 332,000 gallons of asphalt cement to the proper temperature for batching. Two paving machines were placed into operation with a fleet of 10-ton dump trucks hauling the batched asphaltic concrete to the construction site. After paving machines passed, both steel-wheel and pneumatic rubber-tired rollers accomplished the compaction required. On the 106th workday, the first C-123 Providers were taxied on the ramp. After 144 workdays, the ramp was completed and in full use by aircraft.

Heavy Equipment Operators and Pavement Technicians that built the F-4 Barrier System at Phu Cat Air Base, Vietnam in 1970. Picture was sent to "Red Horse Country" by Steve James

Bottom Row from Left To Right: Sgt Gillispie, SSgt Zeek, SSgt La Duke, SMSgt Horner, Sgt Whym, Sgt Schut.
Top Row from Left to Right: SSgt Clapp, Sgt Hayes, Sgt Johnson, Sgt Ousley, Sgt Baldwin, SSgt Thompson, Sgt Johnson, SSgt Parks, Sgt James.

Picture was taken in the 554th Red Horse Maintenance Shop at Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam in 1970. Picture was sent to "Red Horse Country" by Steve.

Airman in the picture is Jerry Brannon. The Vietnamese gentleman was employed in the maintenance shop and his name is Mr. Quack the little girl is his daughter.

Picture was taken in the 554 Red Horse "Hootch" area at Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam in 1970.The Horse "Mascot", named "Step and A Half" with Sgt Jerry Brannon.

Just came off of the Perimeter after an Airfield Attack. Phang Rhan, Vietnam was deployed 2 miles to front of lines. December 1969, 554th Red Horse Squadron. Robert "Jerry" Brannon is on the left and Sgt Whitman is on the right side of this picture.

554th Red Horse 1970. Picture was taken on convoy. "Agent Orange" barrels are laying in the foreground. Sent to Red Horse Country by Sgt Robert "Jerry" Brannon.

Picture was taken at Phang Rang, Vietnam in 1969. Notice the dead grass. Picture sent in by Sgt Jerry Brannon.

Picture was taken on Convoy "The Hangmen" 554th Red Horse Squadron 1970. Sent to Red Horse Country by Jerry Brannon.

Picture of Horsemen was sent to Red Horse Country by Linda Daly.

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