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Guardsmen construct bare base during field training exercise

Members of the 201st RED HORSE Squadron Detachment 1 load an environmental control unit onto a flatbed trailer during a field training exercise held Sept. 19 at Fort Dix, NJ.

Members of the 201st RED HORSE Squadron Detachment 1 load an environmental control unit onto a flatbed trailer during a field training exercise held Sept. 19 at Fort Dix, NJ.

WILLOW GROVE AIR RESERVE STATION, Pa. -- Almost 100 guardsmen from the 201st RED HORSE Sq. Det. 1 participated in a two-day field training exercise (FTX) from 17-19 Sept. at Bivouac 21, Fort Dix, N.J. In less than four hours, they transformed a rural pineland campground site into a fully operational base and took part in a variety of combat related training.

"On Thursday, we convoyed out to Fort Dix, built 12 tents--two for dining and ten for lodging, laid two Environmental Control Units (ECUs) and four generators to light the area and provide power to the tents," explained Capt. Lydia Stefanik, operations flight commander with the 201st RED HORSE Sq. Det. 1.

The following morning, there was a group formation outlining the day's active training schedule.

"We conducted hands-on training on convoy operations, defensive fighting positions, weapons qualification, troop leading procedures, security patrols, land navigation and self-aid buddy care, skills needed whenever we deploy," said Capt. Stefanik.

These skills are crucial because when this unit deploys they're first on site and are responsible for establishing the base infrastructure that other units will build upon.

"We're not going to have a base set up already," said Capt. Stefanik. "We're going to need to know how to perform every function: security patrols, housing, services. We'll do everything on our own until it gets more steady state and more units are sent in."

The FTX both tested and gave new Airmen an opportunity to work together as a team.

"I'm proud of our people and what we've accomplished these last two days," said Senior Master Sgt. James Gray, pavement and construction superintendent with the 201st RED HORSE Sq. Det. 1. "The teamwork, spirit, and enthusiasm of everyone is more than what I expected it to be the first time out to the site as a unit. Everyone was energetic to get the job done right in a professional manner and with the safety precautions they took."

"I think the unit's coming together very well," Staff Sgt. Joseph Bonamico, a utilities and liquid fuels apprentice with the 201st RED HORSE Sq. Det. 1, added. "We're working together efficiently, and this is definitely a great opportunity and great place to be in."