RED HORSE bridges relationship with area Scout reservation

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Chris Botzum
  • 111th Attack Wing Public Affairs
 The 201st RED HORSE, Detachment 1 here, completed a two-week grounds improvement project at the Ockanickon Scout Reserve, Pipersville, Pa., Sep. 1-18, 2015, building a bridge, developing roadways and clearing trees.

An estimate of ten unit members per day made the daily trek to Pipersville packing the power and rumble of staged earth movers, loaders and dump trucks. The project helped to not only enhance the usability of the camp for hundreds of Scouts each year, but increase safety - eliminating a washed out road and fallen trees.  

The initial venture faced by the Guardsmen was just getting to the site itself.
"One of our first challenges was getting the heavy equipment on site," said Master Sgt. Geoffrey Gay, airfields and pavements NCO, 201st RED HORSE, Detachment 1. "The roadway to the camp is narrow and hilly. For our largest piece of equipment, we had to get an oversized load permit to transport it here."

But once they overcame the issue of transitioning equipment, the experience proved indispensable.

It was a great opportunity to provide our newer Airman with actual experience outside of the safe training grounds on base, said Gay. It also gave our more senior Airmen the chance to develop and challenge their leadership skills.

But, the RED HORSE was not the only unit who benefited from their work at Camp Ockanickon.

During the drill weekend, the 111th ATKW also used the grounds as a simulated deployment location. While the RED HORSE carried forth with their construction project, more than 150 wing members prepared, transported, built-up and lodged at the campsite in a mock scenario simulating actual troop movements and bed down to a distant, non-improved country. Simulated conditions, such as injuries resulting from major weather events and foodborne illness, tested the training, plans, communication and reaction of all the members in the exercise.

"The 111th Attack Wing conducts MARE's [Major Accident Response Exercises] to test the wing's capabilities in managing resources, leading people, improving the unit and executing the mission," said Master Sgt. Michael Davenport, inspector general superintendent here. These [processes] highlight the strengths and areas that needed for improvement so the wing commander can best achieve mission success. This past exercise accomplished those objectives and goals.

Representatives from higher echelon Inspector Generals Office were also on hand to observe this unique test, added Davenport  

It was another excellent opportunity to work within our community, said Gay. We hone our skills, test our Airman and the Scout's campground gets improvements -- win-win.