October 5, 2003, 14:35 EST
RED HORSE airmen return home from deployment to Southwest Asia
203rd RED HORSE Flight, based at the State Military Reservation in Virginia
Beach, returned to their home station recently after completing a successful
deployment that had much of their unit in Southwest Asia since early
April. The last group to return on Oct. 2 consisted of 43 unit members,
including 203rd Commander Col. Thomas J. Turlip. (Click HERE
to see photos from the deployment.)
couple hundred family members, senior Virginia Air Guard leadership,
and 203rd retirees happily greeted the last group of RED HORSE members
as their buses pulled into the unit near midnight on Oct. 2.
Virginia Air National Guard, rapid response engineering unit received
phased mobilization orders in early January 2003 for active federal
service of one year in support of ongoing Operation Enduring Freedom/Aerospace
Expeditionary Force missions. Groups of 203rd RED HORSE members began
deploying to locations in Southwest Asia in early spring, with the last
two teams heading for their areas of responsibility on Memorial Day.
As they completed their taskings, small groups of unit members began
returning home in August.
the unit's deployment, it joined forces with other RED HORSE units to
form the 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group. From June 3, 2003, until
shortly before his departure from Qatar, 203rd Commander, Colonel Turlip,
served as the 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group commander. The group
was headquartered in Qatar and performed a variety of construction projects
in Southwest Asia, including Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.
rapid-response engineering unit built facilities for air operations,
constructed a warehouse in the UAE, repaired runways in Iraq, and built
a 10,000-foot taxiway in an undisclosed location.
Colonel Turlip described his RED HORSE personnel as having high morale. “All of our troops are dedicated and understand why they were deployed,” he said. “They have certainly missed their families and were ready to return home. Everyone here is proud to serve our country and our Air Force as citizen airmen. We take pride in the work we do; and I'm pleased with the quality of work done by the 203rd and all of the units that came together to form the 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group. I've worked with an outstanding group of people.”