GREAT FALLS, Mont. --
The 219th RED HORSE Squadron Senior Enlisted Leader, Chief Master Sgt. Brian Furr, participated in a deployment for training with his son, Airman 1st Class Austin Furr, for the first time to the country of Slovenia in June.
The father-son duo serve together as members of the Montana Air National Guard’s 219th RHS. The acronym RED HORSE stands for Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer.
For Austin, a water and fuel system management apprentice with the 219th RHS, this was his first deployment with the heavy construction specialists. However, deployments were a normal occurrence for Austin’s father.
“He’s been gone from two weeks to nine months,” Austin said.
While deployments were the norm, the difference in rank is a challenge.
“It’s hard to balance that personal and professional relationship,” Brian said. “I try to get out and meet with all of the Airmen. I sat at lunch with them and asked them about what are they doing on this trip and try not to give (Austin) anymore attention than the others.”
While the chief tries to treat his son like any other Airman, Austin notices a difference.
“It’s different for me,” Austin said. “It’s always been different for me, I feel people expect more of me because of who my dad is and I feel they look up to me, they’re always asking me questions.”
Austin and the chief know that difference in rank can be tricky.
“I think a lot of the younger folks get a little bit intimidated having senior members watch what they’re doing, but that’s not what we’re trying to get on their level and work with them and show them we’re just another one of them,” Brian said.
There are benefits of having a chief as a father to prepare for a deployment.
“I had a little bit of extra guidance,” Austin said. “I was a little more prepared than some of the other guys because of my dad’s experience. For example, I brought an electrical strip because I had just one plug-in. He said bring an electrical strip, that way I can have extra plug-ins.”
It was the first time packing for a deployment and another first for Austin as it was the first Father’s Day without his sisters and mother together to celebrate.
“Usually when dad’s gone for a holiday, we do it again back home. Being there with him when the rest of my family didn’t get to be there was special. I’ve never had a Father’s Day with just my dad.”
Father’s Day was celebrated at Lake Bled in the foothills of the Julian Alps and the chief’s birthday also fell on the deployment.
While there was time for play, the 219th RHS was there to complete a mission. Austin switched copper piping to galvanized piping to meet the code in a bathroom of Bile barn that dates back to 1581. At one point in time it served as a barn for Lipizzaner horses.
“We talk about work and I show him pictures of what I do at work. He’s never seen me in action,” Austin said.
The trip was full of new experiences for the Furrs.
The construction work the Furrs performed was for Exercise Related Construction that will influence Exercise Immediate Response later in 2017.