YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Members of the 800th RED HORSE Group partnered with the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron, as they continue construction on Yokota Air Base’s flightline June 30, 2021.
Once complete, the nearly four-year phased construction project will enhance the capacity and capability of the 374th Airlift Wing’s (AW) mission.
“The project will benefit the 374th AW because it creates a 33 percent increase in the parking space they have for C-130s [Super Hercules} and C-17s [Globemaster III],” said Master Sgt. Tony Barnett, 823rd RED HORSE Squadron project manager. “It will allow them to park more planes, and with [Yokota AB] being one of the biggest hubs in the Indo-Pacific, it will allow stuff to get in and out of here more fluidly.”
The efforts of the 800th RED HORSE Group will increase airfield parking at Yokota by 253,000 square feet and provide additional space for five C-130Js and four C-17s.
“Their support has made the construction efforts on these parking aprons seamless from start to its current stage, and expect the same through the completion,” said Master Sgt. Brent Fallon, 374th CES pavements and equipment section chief. “They have worked seamlessly with the 374th CES, and support agencies on base for their life support, contracting office support and host national support with the contractors, really making themselves a part of Team Yokota.”
The project also provides an opportunity for Airmen assigned to the 823rd, 820th, and 819th RED HORSE Squadrons to expand skillsets and experience as Yokota’s first Pacific Air Forces’ troop training project.
Troop training projects are designed to give civil engineers a chance to combine career field skillsets and complete a construction project from start to finish.
“We have eight Air Force specialties represented across our team, and this troop training project is an excellent opportunity for our Airmen to meet their counterparts from other installations and share experiences,” said Capt. Kaylee Kostka, 823rd RED HORSE Squadron project engineer. “Our members have not only trained on skills related to their trade, but have also cross-pollinated with other Air Force specialties to support different aspects of our project. Taking on this project hugely benefits our RED HORSE Airmen and provides an opportunity for them to train on a large-scale efforts in preparation for future projects at home and abroad.”
Working with other units and career fields has helped some RED HORSE Airmen develop their technical skills and better understand the scope of projects like these.
“We each have brought something different to [the project],” said Senior Airman Brian Pittman, 820th RED HORSE Squadron structural journeyman. “Being from different squadrons, we all kind of do things different ways, so it’s been nice to see how other people do things. We can change up stuff and they can change up stuff to get the job done more efficiently.”
The group’s combined effort and support from Yokota was vital in progressing the airfield construction, Kostka said.
“This project has truly been a partnership, not only between the 374th CES and RED HORSE, but also with the Total force members who are supporting Yokota’s mission,” Kostka said. “The 374th CES aided our project with design work, excavation and utilities support, material purchasing and tracking, etcetera, and we have had an opportunity to work with several different Air National Guard and Air Forces Reserves civil engineer units in support of their Deployment for Training projects.”
Fallon said working with the 800th RED HORSE Group has not only enhanced Yokota Air Base’s mission but also benefited the growth of the 374th CES team.
“They have extended great efforts to help train members of the 374th CES on construction methods not seen in a traditional civil engineer unit to better advance our own capabilities,” Fallon said. “With the success of this mission, we hope to continue developing this partnership for years to come as the Yokota and PACAF mission grow.”
Yokota’s apron expansion construction is the 800th RED HORSE Group’s first integrated, multi-squadron international troop training project outside of a deployed environment and first project for the group in the Indo-Pacific.
According to Kostka, the team is more than half way through the project’s construction.
“We’ve made great strides on completing concrete for two of the three aprons,” said Kostka. “While our current team on-ground will be transitioning back to home station, our next team is prepared to continue this project until completion.”
The RED HORSE team continues to make progress as they prepare to hand off the project’s next phase of construction to the next rotation of RED HORSE Airmen, with a tentative completion date scheduled for October 2021.