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819th, 219th RHS celebrate 20th anniversary

Retired Col. Gary Shick, first commander of the 219th RED HORSE Squadron, speaks during the 20th anniversary of the squadron’s activation July 20, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Airmen from the 819th and 219th RHS celebrated their 20th anniversary since activation in 1997. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Retired Col. Gary Shick, first commander of the 219th RED HORSE Squadron, speaks during the 20th anniversary of the squadron’s activation July 20, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Airmen from the 819th and 219th RHS celebrated their 20th anniversary since activation in 1997. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Retired Col. Gary Shick, left, first commander of the 219th RED HORSE Squadron, Col. Jose Rivera, 819th RED HORSE Squadron commander, center, and Col. Rusty Vaira, current 219th RHS commander, sit during the 20th anniversary of the squadrons’ activations July 20, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The commanders each shared words with the audience in attendance and asked them to share their stories with one another. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Retired Col. Gary Shick, left, first commander of the 219th RED HORSE Squadron, Col. Jose Rivera, 819th RED HORSE Squadron commander, center, and Col. Rusty Vaira, current 219th RHS commander, sit during the 20th anniversary of the squadrons’ activations July 20, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The commanders each shared words with the audience in attendance and asked them to share their stories with one another. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Current and former Airmen from the 819th and 219th RED HORSE Squadrons pose for a photo July 20, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. More than 100 Airmen, past and present, joined together for a lunch to reminisce and share their experiences while working in the squadrons. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

Current and former Airmen from the 819th and 219th RED HORSE Squadrons pose for a photo July 20, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. More than 100 Airmen, past and present, joined together for a lunch to reminisce and share their experiences while working in the squadrons. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

A piece of 819th RED HORSE Squadron memorabilia is displayed July 20, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The 819th was activated as a RED HORSE squadron June 2, 1997. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

A piece of 819th RED HORSE Squadron memorabilia is displayed July 20, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The 819th was activated as a RED HORSE squadron June 2, 1997. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

A piece of 219th RED HORSE Squadron memorabilia is displayed July 20, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The 219th RHS was activated Sept. 3, 1997. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

A piece of 219th RED HORSE Squadron memorabilia is displayed July 20, 2017, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The 219th RHS was activated Sept. 3, 1997. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Airmen from the 819th and 219th RED HORSE Squadrons celebrated their 20th anniversary since activation in 1997, here July 20.

More than 100 Airmen, past and present, joined together for a lunch to reminisce and share their experiences while working in the squadrons.

“I think the success of the unit’s stand up is based upon those individuals who demonstrated a capacity for dismissing difficulty and focusing on the RED HORSE legacy of ‘can do, will do,’” said retired Col. Gary Shick, first commander of the 219th RHS. “We at all levels should never underestimate what determination, common sense and improvisation can achieve.”

Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer squadrons provide the Air Force with a highly mobile civil engineering response force to support contingency and special operations worldwide.

They are a self-sufficient mobile squadron capable of rapid response and independent operations in remote, harsh environments. They provide heavy repair capability and construction support when requirements exceed normal base civil engineer capabilities and where Army engineer support is not readily available.

Of the 17 total RED HORSE squadrons, the integration of the Montana Air National Guard 219th RHS with the active duty 819th RHS resulted in the first associate RED HORSE unit of its kind.

Retired Master Sgt. Thomas Lehotsky, from the 819th RHS utility section, said for him the occasion is all about reuniting with people he has not seen in a very long time.

“I was stationed with some of these guys back in the early 1980s so it’s really nice to see them again,” Lehotsky said.

Lehotsky also said although the years and the people have changed, the pride the Airmen display has not changed since the time he served.

“I think this unit had a lot of pride when I was in, and I can still see the pride today,” Lehotsky said.