PSAB’s Founding Squadrons

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Noah Trancer
  • 378th Air Expeditionary Wing

Scribed below a painted shield spanning two t-walls at the heart of the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, are the last remarks of the 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group.

JUNE 2018 - OCTOBER 2022

More than two decades ago Prince Sultan Air Base was the largest expeditionary operations center in AFCENT’s area of responsibility before operations shifted to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, in 2003.

Fifteen years later, in 2018, one of the first to set foot back on PSAB was the 1st ECEG with its two squadrons the 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron and the 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron.

Forward deployed from AUAB, the group was given an empty plot of land where they set to work building a tent city known now as Living Support Area 1 to over a thousand Airmen and Soldiers advancing U.S. Airpower and Land-power in the Southwest Asia Theatre today.

“We have a long history of rotations after rotations coming and doing different infrastructure and construction projects throughout AFCENT’s AOR, but in particular PSAB,” said Capt. Prince Chavis, the site officer in charge of the 577 EPBS. “Pretty much every piece and part of PSAB, the 1st ECEG has had some hand in building.”

Fast forward another four years to Sept. 30, 2022, the last day of the final 1st ECEG project at PSAB. Trenching duct banks for network and Wi-Fi connectivity to PSAB’s first hardened facility living quarters since USCENTCOM’s return to KSA.

“As a directive coming all the way down from Lt. Gen. Grynkewich, the living quarters need to support sufficient Wi-Fi access for every member before moving into the containerized housing units,” said Chavis. “This project is a visual notion to the KSA that we are committed to being here, not just for the contingency aspect but for an enduring aspect.”

The CHUs are the first step in PSAB’s phase two development back to the operations center it once was. In their last act, the 1st ECEG has officially helped build PSAB from the ground up.

“The move-in date was slated for the end of the year,” said Chavis. “So we worked alongside the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the local base contractors around a very busy active-contract site and still finished two weeks ahead of schedule.”

The 577 EPBS mission is to provide civil engineer support for the bed down of personnel and aircraft, whereas the 557 ERHS provides the U.S. Air Force with a highly mobile, self-sufficient civil engineer response force. When combined the 1st ECEG delivers direct engineer support capability to the Combined Forces Air Component Commander by providing over-the-horizon, agile engineer forces, in both permissive and non-permissive environments, across USCENTCOM’s AOR.

“To commemorate the importance of ECEG’s last project at PSAB we combined resources from the RED HORSE Squadron and the Prime BEEF Squadron,” said Chavis. “Which is very unique and what we call the ‘REDBULL’ concept.”

The 1st ECEG has since returned to AUAB for their next assignment, leaving behind a shield bearing a red horse head on blue, can do, a blue bulls head on red, will do, and a brick step pattern diagonally uniting the two, have done.