U.S. Air Force annual firefighter training burns at Shaw
By Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Brewer, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 26, 2019
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Sixty-four Air National Guardsmen from Maine, Connecticut and New Hampshire performed live-fire aircraft burn training March 19.
The training is part of the required annual training for Air Force firefighters. It provides Airmen the opportunity to gain experience extinguishing fires in a structure they are not used to, builds comradery between squadrons and prepares teams for deployment.
Guard members are required two days per month, and in some cases two weeks per year of training time. This allows Airmen time to accomplish other trainings within their normal wing to maintain combat readiness.
Six years ago, the program was created for members of the Air National Guard in the six New England states to simulate a real deployment, thus accomplishing all their annual Air Force training in one week.
“We come down here for a week, knock out our training and learn from firefighters at different bases,” said Senior Airman Daniel Warner, 101st Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter. “It’s important to train with aircraft since we don’t have anything like this to practice on up north; it’s nice to be able to come down and touch up our skills.”
Normally members train once a year at the Savannah Air National Guard Base, Georgia. This year when they arrived in Savannah, they were informed the burn pit was not functioning, allowing them the opportunity to train in a new environment with Team Shaw fire truck engines.
Chief Master Sgt. Robert Cross, 103rd Airlift Wing installation fire chief said live fire training is difficult for members to receive, but, with the help of Team Shaw, the units were able to get key training accomplished.
“Firefighters need to be able to work as a team,” said Cross. “What this allows us to do is build comradery and allow us senior non-commissioned officers to train auto-education techniques, like high and low angle rescue while also accomplishing the live fire training that is very hard for us to get up in the north.”
The training also allows Airmen to practice total force training. This means active duty, guard and reservist members work together as if they are deployed.
“It allows us to look at our programs and see how we train and fight together,” said Cross. “We may see that one state has a better way of attacking a fire, so we are able to learn from that, incorporate it and improve on our programs.”
Cross thanked Team Shaw for the support because, without this training, they cannot complete their mission.