The Silver Flag Exercise Site, located at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., is home to Detachment 1, 823d RED HORSE Squadron. The squadron's 74-person cadre provides contingency combat support training to Active-Duty, Air Force Reserve Command, Air National Guard, Army, Marine Corps and allied nations mission support group personnel. More than 4,500 people are trained each year at the site.
During the seven day Silver Flag course, Civil Engineers, Communications, Force Support, and Finance personnel learn how to build and maintain bare-base operations at a forward-deployed location. Students hone a variety of combat and survival skills, such as repairing bomb-damaged runways and setting up base facilities; fire fighters receive specific expeditionary training that supply the combatant commander with a highly trained and skilled emergency response force.
Services, Force Support members receive additional training on providing contingency Food service, Lodging, Fitness and Recreation, and Mortuary Affairs while under simulated wartime conditions. PERSCO members receive training on accounting for deployed forces, processing casualty reports and conducting personnel sustainment actions.
The detachment hosts Officer Field Education for the Air Force Institute of Technology's" Introduction to Base Civil Engineer Organization" course twice a year and hosts the 335th Training Squadron; Force Support Officers "Initial Skills" course four times a year. Detachment cadre train approximately 420 newly commissioned Air Force Civil Engineer, Force Support and allied officers annually.
The Silver Flag site is also home to EOD's Combat Battlefield Ready Airmen (CoBRA) course. This pre-deployment course provides training to all AF EOD personnel deploying into the AFCENT Theater. Deploying teams are scheduled for training according to the unit and location they are tasked to support. EOD students receive three weeks of extensive training that permits them to work together prior to deployment. Training covers all technical and tactical aspects of EOD operations in the AFCENT theater environment. This vital training combines lessons previously taught at Army Combat Skills Training (CST) and the Global Antiterrorism and Operational Readiness (GATOR) courses.
Silver Flag training was originally conducted at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, but moved to Tyndall in 1972. Training at that time consisted primarily of beddown, demolition, well-drilling and security operations. In 1979 training moved to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., near Ft. Walton Beach, to take advantage of an unused runway and taxiway system. Silver Flag training returned to Tyndall in 1992.
This robust training site is located on 1,200 acres north of U.S. Highway 98, about eight miles east of Tyndall's main gate. It is supported by 49 permanent buildings; a fleet of nearly 300 vehicles. It owns equipment valued at 23.1 million dollars, has 1 of only 5 JP-8 fuel pits in the Department of Defense and maintains a 6,000' x 150' training runway.
Over the years, training has expanded to its current program, which includes force beddown, convoy training, and advanced base recovery after attack, disaster preparedness, fire protection, explosive ordnance disposal, food service and lodging skills, chemical warfare operations and personnel accountability.
The 823d RED HORSE Squadron is home-based at Hurlburt Field, Florida. It is an enabler to the Air Expeditionary Construct. As an Air Combat Command asset, the 823d RED HORSE's primary wartime responsibility is to provide a highly rapid deployable self sufficient civil engineer response force to support contingency and special operations worldwide.
Maj Curtis Grantham