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Air National Guard firefighters train together in Georgia

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Andrew Merlock
  • 177th Fighter Wing

Airmen from Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont Air National Guard Fire Departments conducted joint live aircraft fire training here at the 165th Airlift Wing's Regional Fire Training Facility in Savannah, Georgia, on April 4, 2016.

The training, which is an annual requirement, enables Airmen to practice firefighting techniques and use the gear they would employ to put down a blaze.

"You had airmen from four different states accomplishing the same mission and the teamwork was flawless," said Master Sgt. James Gillespie, Assistant Chief of Training for the 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard Fire Department. "The way our deployments are set up, it's not going to be one total guard unit going. We're going to be mixed with a bunch of different guard unit fire teams."

Initially, the training day started with familiarization of the equipment and techniques that the Airmen would utilize in real-life situations.

The guardsmen practiced obtaining water supplies from various outlets in addition to the utilization of the P-22 Pumper, P-19 Aircraft Rescue Firefighting, P-26 Water Tanker, and P-34 Rapid Intervention Vehicle.

"Each guard unit is given its equipment package based on the type of aircraft you fly," Gillespie continued. " To be able to come here and utilize all the equipment that the Air Force has to offer better prepares airmen for a deployed environment."

The training culminated with a live aircraft fire response training exercise. Airmen from the various Air National Guard Units assembled in four fire teams to extinguish fires on various aircraft locations, including the interior compartment.

"We're ensuring that an egress path is cleared at all times," explained the evaluator and safety officer, Tech. Sgt. Brad Crandall of the 143rd Airlift Wing, Rhode Island Air National Guard. "The emphasis is to cool down the aircraft so that any potential passengers in a real-world situation have a path to get out of that danger zone. That's what we are ultimately there to protect."

The live aircraft fire training exercise is one of the many joint training sessions that the five Air National Guard Units will conduct during the upcoming week at the 165th Regional Fire Training Facility.