BIDDLE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Pa --
The 111th Civil Engineer Squadron held a ceremony at Biddle Air National Guard Base Horsham, Pennsylvania to re-activate after a 13-year hiatus, June 12, 2021.
The 111th CES de-activated in 2008 when the base transitioned from a Joint-Reserve base to a Guard installation before eventually reactivating during June 2021’s Uniform Training Assembly. Col. Christine Munch, Commander 111th Mission Support Group, stressed the importance of the occasion after the ceremony. “I think it means a lot for the squadron members to slap that patch on their uniforms,” Munch said. “It’s important to note that the Civil Engineer Squadron is being re-activated, not activated.”
Munch said she wanted to remind younger Airmen of their history and lineage and point out that some previous generations of the 111th CES were in attendance for the ceremony. With the help of these younger Airmen, we will carry the torch into the future, Munch said.
The 111th CES de-activated in 2008 after the Base Realignment and Closure program when the 201st Rapid Engineers Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, or RED HORSE, was activated. However, the mission of the 201st RED HORSE Detachment 1 was not tasked with maintaining the base. Instead, three technicians were added to the RED HORSE unit and tasked with maintaining more than 700 thousand square feet of real property when only authorized 245 thousand square feet.
Base Facility Manager Chief Master Sgt. Christian Haas, the Base Facility Manager, who was a 111th member before deactivation in 2008 expressed his feelings about the future for the 111th CES.
“I’m really excited to see the 111th CE Squadron stand up. To see the unit go from 3 to 30 or 40 people with all the trades to maintain the infrastructure of the base. It’s more of a resource at our fingertips to make things better at the base.”
Haas said Lt. Col. Lydia Stefanik, who assumed command of the 111th CES during the re-activation ceremony, was instrumental in creating the 111th CES.
“She knew we could not maintain this installation with three people,” said Haas. “She knew it couldn’t keep going like that, [at the time] we were so focused on getting the infrastructure done at the base and the new missions stood up, [and she was] all the while still thinking in the back of her mind; we got to do something with us [CE].”
Stefanik joined the unit in 2008 as Deputy Base Civil Engineer and Operations Officer for the 201st RED HORSE Det. 1 until 2011 when she was named Base Civil Engineer.