1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group

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Mission

Build Warfighting Platforms and Deliver Emergency Response Capabilities

The 1 ECEG was established to deliver direct engineer support capability to the Combined Forces Air Component Commander (CFACC) by providing over-the-horizon (OTH), agile engineer forces, in both permissive and non-permissive environments, across the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR).  The 1 ECEG capabilities are executed by two squadrons: a Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) Squadron and a Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force (BEEF) Squadron. 

The RED HORSE squadron provides the U.S. Air Force with a highly mobile, self-sufficient civil engineer response force.  The primary missions of RED HORSE units are to assess, plan, and build facilities and infrastructure to support contingency operations and combat missions at any location in the world. Engineer capabilities include rapid airfield damage assessment, heavy damage repair, bare-base construction, and heavy construction operations such as airfield runways, parking aprons, munitions storage and pads, and forward operating location assault landing zones.  RED HORSE also executes vertical construction for airfield support facilities like K-Span facilities, pre-engineered buildings, and other expeditionary structures.

The Prime BEEF mission is to provide civil engineer support for beddown of personnel and aircraft. Prime BEEF capabilities include airbase site surveys, establishing bare-base camps including utility infrastructure sustainment operations and maintenance. Prime BEEF forces specialize in airfield operations and are the primary units considered when establishing and sustaining airfield operations at locations where U.S. Air Force aircraft operate.  Prime BEEF forces are responsible for command, control and communications to support beddown; fire emergency services; expedient construction, and other specialized teams.  The 1 ECEG’s Prime BEEF squadron currently executes Crash-Fire- Rescue (CFR) missions and is postured to receive forces to expand mission capabilities including Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Emergency Management as required in support of AFCENT missions. 

 

Organization

The 1 ECEG is built with a rotational force structure of Active Duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard Airmen. The 1 ECEG ranges in size from 400 to 600 Airmen and consists of a Group with two Civil Engineer Squadrons: The 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron (557 ERHS) and the 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron (577 EPBS).  The 1 ECEG is a direct reporting unit to U.S. Air Forces Central (USAFCENT) Command.


History

The 1 ECEG (Heavy Repair) was activated on May 8, 1967 and headquartered at Tan Son Nhut, South Vietnam. The unit distinguished itself over the next three years by earning seven campaign streamers including one for the 1969 TET counter-offensive. On March 16, 1970, the 1st ECEG (Heavy Repair) was reassigned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The unit was deactivated the following year on Nov. 1, 1971.

The 1st Civil Engineering Group (Heavy Repair) was reactivated and re-designated the 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group in October 2001 in the aftermath of the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The 1st ERHG immediately provided beddown and combat construction operations at bases all over Southwest and Central Asia in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF). 1 ECEG Missions surged again with the initiation of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) as Air Force units opened new bases, expanded additional bases, and recovered captured Iraqi bases. In March 2012, the 1 ERHG was transformed back to its original designation, the 1 ECEG, as changing needs in the Combined Joint Operations Area-Afghanistan (CJOA-A) necessitated a reorganization of the light and heavy construction capabilities in the AFCENT area of responsibility. Simultaneously, the 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Group (EPBG), based at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, was inactivated, transferring its two squadrons to the 1 ECEG.

The 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Group was established in September 2009. Its mission was to execute installation engineer capabilities across the CJOA-A. At this time a fundamental shift in organizational structure moved Air Force engineers from tactical control to Army Regional Commands (RC) to a theater-level asset assigned to the AFCENT Commander to enable focused support on regional level priorities set by each RC. This new concept significantly improved command and control of Air Force engineer forces across Afghanistan while simultaneously allowing agile movement of engineers throughout the area of operations.

Both the 1 ERHG and the 577 EPBG have left their legacy of construction projects throughout AFCENT. The 1 ERHG completed $90 million of construction within its first 12 months of existence. The 1 ERHG was been at the forefront of OEF, OIF, and Operation NEW DAWN, and executed more than 370 projects valued at over $240 million dollars at more than 50 sites in 12 countries. The efforts of the 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Group squadrons were focused squarely on the requirements in Afghanistan and in just three years yielded over 675 projects valued at over $346 million dollars and also developed 88 master plans and completed 941 site surveys.

The 1 ECEG has supported numerous tasking’s throughout the AOR for joint operations, most notably Operation INHERENT RESOLVE (OIR), North Atlantic Treaty Organization Resolute Support Mission (NATO-RSM), and Operation ALLIES REFUGE (OAR).  In support of OIR, EPBS and ERHS repaired numerous airfields damaged by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  Both squadrons designed and constructed various dirt landing zones that opened new Air Lines of Communication (ALOCs) to remote regions throughout Syria and Iraq.  During NATO-RSM, 577 EPBS special capabilities teams helped close down bases during the withdrawal from Afghanistan by deconstructing expeditionary structures and mobilizing a Crash-Fire-Rescue Quick-Strike-Team (CFR QST) to airfields during their final closure phases.  The CFR QST also played a significant role in Afghanistan during OAR.  The CFR QST was mobilized by the CFACC to Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan under significant, credible, and sustained threat of imminent enemy attack.  The team had less than 48-hours’ notice to mobilize to the airfield which ultimately kept the only ALOC in Afghanistan open in support of a Presidential Non-Combatant Evacuation operation that resulted in successful execution of the largest human airlift evacuation in history.  At the same time the 1 ECEG performed OAR beddown operations, emergency and expeditionary sanitation operations and other evacuation operations for Afghanistan evacuees at Al Udeid Air Base.

(Updated as of November 2021)