801st RHTS stands up Operating Location-A at Nellis AFB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tiffany Del Oso
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Following the stand-up of the 801st Rapid Engineer Deployable, Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers Training Squadron at Tyndall AFB earlier this year, an additional geographically separated unit activated Nov. 21 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

The 801st RHTS was designed to stabilize, standardize and cultivate contingency training for combat support teams across the Air Force, allowing instructors to focus on training members. Special Capabilities flight, originally under the 820th RED HORSE, was realigned as the 801st RHTS Operating Location-A to best execute the existing mission.

“[The Special Capabilities flight] is made up of instructors operating under the 820th [RED HORSE] which is focused on deployments and executing projects,” said Capt. Victoria LaFemina, 801st Operating Location – A flight commander. “The 801st Operating Location will give leadership an opportunity to invest in our instructors to ensure they are trained not only on how to be an instructor and teach, but also to make them the leading experts in whatever course they’re teaching.”

Performing a training mission under an operational squadron poses several complications. Reorganizing the command structure to place the Special Capabilities flight under the 801st RHTS will provide instructors with the stability and resources necessary to provide critical training without having to worry about also completing a deployable mission.

“Before, we would have to keep rotating instructors, so we could teach for so long but eventually [due to a deployment, TDY or other priorities] we would be rotated out,” said Staff Sgt. Emanual Lopez, 801st OL-A instructor. “Now with us being coded under the operating location, we aren’t eligible for deployments which allows us to get our knowledge up and become the true subject matter experts on material that we’re teaching.”

Lt. Col. Craig Poulin, 801st RHTS commander, explained that RED HORSE is unique because they bring specialized capabilities to the fight to enable combat support and to build the infrastructure required in contingency environments.

“Being a RED HORSE instructor is also very special,” said Poulin. “It takes confidence and competence in the ability to instruct others, both in the classroom and in the field. That confidence and competence applies both to the students we teach, but also to the instructors we have within the organization.”

The mission of the now 801st RHTS OL-A, will not change. The unit offers more than 70 courses a year including asphalt paving, explosive demolition operations and quarry operations to active duty, guard and reserve civil engineers. In fact, the location of the 801st OL-A is unique to Nellis due to the amount of space available to conduct explosive demolition operations and quarry operations.

The reorganization of the 801st RHTS OL-A will provide the instructors with the stability and support they need to reach their highest potential and foster a training environment that produces combat support Airmen.