A banner day

This week’s post comes from Franklin Electric’s Randy Woodland

I’ve done a lot of training over my career and especially at Franklin Electric, but I’ve never felt better about any of it than the day I spent a few weeks ago with eight members of the 819TH Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron (RED HORSE) at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana.

From their website, “RED HORSE’s wartime responsibility is to provide a highly mobile, rapidly deployable force that is self-sufficient to support critical Air Force facilities for aircraft launch and recovery. It supports the beddown of weapon systems required to initiate and sustain operations in an austere bare base environment, including remote hostile locations.” Of course today, that means Afghanistan, and these eight members of the 819TH drill water wells and install submersible pumps and controls. They’re some of the first guys in, since it’s pretty hard to build a runway without a reliable supply of water.

I originally met Tech Sargent Joe Adair of the 819TH at the Montana Water Well Convention. Sargent Adair, along with several members of his team, were going booth to booth asking questions and gathering information. The longer we talked, the more apparent it became that his team was well-trained and very competent on well drilling. Where they freely admitted that their expertise came up short was what happened after a well was drilled. They needed more information on everything that goes into a well and controls the pump.

We made arrangements for me to spend a day with the squadron at their facility on Malmstrom AFB. I have never had a better, more attentive and appreciative class. We kicked off early in the morning and finished up after 4 o’clock. I “dumped the whole truck load on them”, reviewing everything from large pump sizing all the way through high horsepower VFDs and soft starts. You name it, we covered it. To a person, their attention never wavered, they took tons of notes, and when they didn’t understand something, they asked all the right questions until they did.

For me, it was a terrific opportunity to “Support our Troops” in a small, but real way. It was also a very personal reminder of just how truly outstanding the men and women in our Armed Forces are today. They are truly the best of us.

They don’t know exactly when, but the 819TH is headed back to Afghanistan soon. They promised to call me if they hit any snags. I hope they don’t have any problems, but a part of me is hoping to hear from them. In any case, I’ll be thinking about them.

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