A new squadron being activated at Beale Air Force Base over the next few months will center on the kind of skills needed to go anywhere on a moment’s notice and set up a runway, drill a well or perform some other engineering feat.
The 583rd RED HORSE squadron, which will have a dozen full-time staff and about 180 reservist positions, is the sixth such squadron in the U.S. Air Force reserve and the first on the West Coast.
Because air force officials expect many of those reservists to come from the base’s surrounding areas, those familiar with heavy equipment and other civil engineering skills will be key candidates, said Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Nnodim, who’s on special assignment to help with the squadron’s stand-up.
“Our recruiters are pounding the pavement as we speak to make sure people know about it,” he said.
Formal stand-up for the squadron will come next month, but an actual ceremony won’t probably come until early summer, said Col. Franklin Myers, who will oversee the squadron as commander of the 622 Civil Engineer Group.
In the meantime, though, base visitors will be able to spot squadron members as they arrive by their distinctive red baseball caps, he said.
Squadron members will train elsewhere and drill at Beale during monthly reserve duty on a number of techniques, including heavy equipment operation, logistics, hangar and runway construction and electrical work.
Myers said USAF officials chose Beale for a new squadron based on the base’s strong support in the surrounding community and the likelihood of a good recruitment base from its greater area.
As the new squadron is established, another squadron, the 940th Civil Engineer Squadron, will be redesignated as the 940th Civil Engineer Flight with a ceremony marking the change March 3. Many of the 940th squadron members will join the 583rd, according to Beale officials.
“We’ll be looking to get more involved with the community,” Myers said. “It’s going to be a slow process from what has been to what will be.”
Ben van der Meer is a reporter for the Appeal-Democrat in Marysville.