|TDCJ employee gears up for deployment to Asia with Air Force engineer squadron
Kevin McCue isn’t your average engineer. A valued member of TDCJ’s Facilities Division, he is also known as Major McCue to members of the 307th “Red Horse Squadron” of the United States Air Force Reserve.
Since September 11, 2001, many reservists have been called to service, and now it’s McCue’s turn. His unit is set to mobilize for an extended tour of duty in the southwestern part of Asia. While many details of the assignment are either classified or undetermined, he has high hopes of being home before this time next year. McCue is taking his orders in stride, referring to the coming months as “a short leave of absence.”
The 307th Red Horse Squadron isn’t a typical reserve unit. Its members, both men and women, are regularly called to all corners of the world to perform services to both our military and other nations. That’s why the McCue family is able to be comfortable with Kevin’s prolonged absence, as he has often been away for a week or two at a time in the seven years he’s been in the reserves.
McCue doesn’t expect his overseas duties to differ greatly from those he performs for TDCJ. The one big difference, of course, will be that he’ll wear a United States Air Force uniform while on active military duty. And he’ll be able to walk to work.
“At least I won’t have an hour-long commute anymore,” joked McCue, who drives to his job in Huntsville from Spring each day.
The Red Horse Squadron can build airfields, refugee camps, offices, housing, and roads to connect them all. Having already traveled to Virginia and Bermuda with the Navy, then Ohio, Oklahoma, Korea, and Central America with the Air Force, Kevin feels ready to tackle the challenges of Asia.
“It’s not particularly dangerous,” McCue said. “Anyway, the military is very serious about us surviving.”
There is, however, some degree of danger in his line of work, so his unit will receive special training and equipment before leaving America. Weapons, gas masks, and extensive medical exams will prepare each man or woman for the 12-hour work days ahead.
While McCue has never found himself in a life or death situation, he feels prepared for anything. He knows that he has a family to come home to and plenty of supporters here in the Facilities Division. The Air Force has a new program called the Employer Recognition Program designed to reward organizations such as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for assisting reservists in meeting their obligation to the United States government.
“Human Resources has a great system in place to help ease our transition to and from active duty,” said McCue. “I know that my leaving will put a burden on our department, but I also know that we have intelligent, capable engineers here in the Facilities Division.”
He expects many of his current pending projects to begin late next year and hopes he’ll be back in time to see them through. To that end, McCue has been putting in some extra muscle to help ease the transition for his co-workers. The military has extensive communication already in place, however, so McCue plans to take advantage of it by contacting his colleagues for their expertise when he can’t find what he needs overseas.
“We have good people that work here,” McCue said. “I know I can depend on them to help me out.”