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LRS civilian by day, 219th RHS Chief on the weekend

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
An engine revs as he reaches his grease-stained hands into a Humvee. An expertise on all things mechanical, he provides insight to an Airman diagnosing a vehicle problem.

Every weekday for nearly 15 years, Brian Furr puts on his faded blue coveralls as the general purpose vehicle maintenance shop work leader in the 341st Logistics Readiness Squadron at Malmstrom Air Force Base.

But for one weekend every month, Furr sports a red hat and goes by a different name - Chief Master Sgt. Brian Furr, 219th RED HORSE Squadron logistics superintendent.

"It's almost like I have two identities," he said. "Here, I'm just a civilian and don't supervise or discipline any Airmen. But in the 219th RHS, I'm in charge of all functions that fall under logistics - services, vehicle maintenance, supply, log plans and air transportation - and 23 Airmen with five different Air Force Specialty Codes."

Although Furr first joined the active-duty Air Force on his 19th birthday in 1995, his exposure to the Air Force began long before joining himself.

"My grandfather was in the Air Force as an aircraft mechanic," Furr said. "My brother is in the Air National Guard and my father retired as a master sergeant, and I was born at Shepherd Air Force Base in Texas."

After separating from the active-duty Air Force in 1999, Furr worked at a local dealership in Great Falls. But it wasn't until a friend mentioned a vehicle maintenance position at the then 120th Fighter Wing of the Montana Air National Guard, when he considered wearing the Air Force uniform once again.

"I knew working on cars was what I wanted to do," he said. "So I jumped at the opportunity to do what I love. But after a few years, I got to the point where I had all my squares filled and didn't have the opportunity to promote, so I cross-trained into contracting."

After three years working as a contracting technician, Furr's calling as a mechanic had him searching for greater opportunities, so he became a member of "the Horse."

"I love the feeling of contribution in RED HORSE," Furr said. "Having a state and federal mission is unique because the governor can call us up and request assistance - and he has."

During his time spent in RED HORSE, Furr has assisted firefighters throughout Montana, provided security in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and helped rebuild flooded roads in Colorado.

As one of only two chiefs in the 219th RHS and one of the youngest at the mere age of 37, Furr says he credits everything he's achieved to simply hard work.

"I'm a big proponent of getting things done ahead of time, because you never know when an opportunity will present itself," he said.

"Being a civilian [in LRS] and in the 219th RED HORSE has broadened my horizons and knowledge," he added. "I see how supply looks; I see how air transportation works; I see how services work. So when I step back, I see the big picture and how everything comes together."