VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. –
The Virginia National Guard hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 2, 2017, to officially open a new multi-purpose building at Camp Pendleton State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, Virginia, constructed by the Virginia Air National Guard’s 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer, or RED HORSE. Construction on the new 9,000 square foot metal building served as a training opportunity for the Airmen to hone a core capability in expeditionary facility construction that they perform during federal active duty deployments overseas.
“This project is significant for three reasons: great training for our Airmen, increased capabilities for units coming to Camp Pendleton and we saved money,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. “Readiness is our top priority, and the work our Airmen did on this building helps prepare them to better accomplish their mission in the future. The end result is outstanding, and it provides an even better structure for units to conduct simulation training or for us to stage for possible domestic operations. In an era of constrained resources, being able to save money was a critical element in making the project a reality.”
The new arched steel panel building, also known as a K-SPAN, replaces one of two tension fabric structures that serve as a multi-purpose training facility where military units can set up their tactical operations center equipment and conduct battalion, brigade and division-level command post exercises. It is also used as an inclement weather site for tenant units on Camp Pendleton and units visiting the post for training, as well as a staging base for personnel, equipment and other materiel in the event of a natural or manmade emergency in the area.
According to Air Force Lt. Col. J. Stock Dinsmore, commander of the 203rd, the project took 12 weeks to complete with 120 Airmen working six two-week shifts as their annual training period.
The 203rd RED HORSE is a highly-mobile civil engineering response force that provides heavy repair capability and construction support for contingency operations worldwide. They returned from their last federal active duty deployment in October 2016 where they completed 35 projects valued at more than $32 million in nine different locations in five countries in support of U.S. Air Force Central Command and Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.
Having the 203rd construct the building resulted in a cost savings of about $500,000, explained Army Col. Charlton Dunn, Virginia National Guard construction and facilities management officer. The heating and cooling, electrical, information technology and lighting systems from the existing structure were re-used in the new steel building to keep costs down.
Dunn said the tension fabric structure will be reinstalled at Fort Pickett in two pieces, one to cover the salt and sand used for roads during snow and ice storms and the second to cover the snow handling equipment.
The operations and maintenance section of the Virginia National Guard Facilities and Maintenance Office provided procurement support for the project, Dunn said. “The ability of the RED HORSE and supporting facility and maintenance staff to rapidly design, resource and execute this short notice project was impressive,” he said.
Camp Pendleton is a state-owned, 328-acre installation which provides training facilities for National Guard units, as well as all other Department of Defense, active duty and reserve units as well as public safety organizations. It houses the Virginia Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy, the Virginia Air National Guard’s 203rd RED HORSE Squadron, and the Virginia Army National Guard’s 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and Troop A and Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment.
The post features administrative buildings, conference facilities, barracks, classrooms, dining facilities, a live-fire qualification range and nine different virtual trainers as well as a chapel, fitness center, distance learning center, wooded training areas, helipad, land navigation course, airfield damage repair training site, beach and amphibious landing site.