916th Firefighters Trained To Go

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mary McKnight
  • 916th Air Refueling Wing
Six members of the 916th Civil Engineer Flight executed a simulated live-fire training on base, Jan. 9, as part of a pre-deployment training.
“Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Engine 11, you’ll be responding to a structure fire with an unknown number of victims and smoke present on the alpha and delta side of the structure,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Perry, the 916 CEF assistant chief of operations.
Perry repeated the statement twice, a requirement of military firefighters that limits the chance of miscommunication between dispatch and the responding crew.
Occupied by a four-man crew, Engine 11 was staged across the street from the simulated fire structure. The crew hit the lights and sirens to respond as they would in a real-world scenario.
“We have a motto in the fire department, be prepared so you don’t have to get prepared,” said Perry. “Because the fire services change so much, training is ongoing, you will forever be a student once you become a firefighter.”
In other words, deployment or no deployment, fire is always training.
“The training that I have acquired for the past few years, with active duty and my deployment team, has adequately trained me to be proficient and confident while deployed,” said Senior Airman Kyler Rogers-McCoy, a 916th Civil Engineer Flight firefighter.
During this training, Rogers-McCoy and his team were able to display that confidence as Lt. Col. Joseph Winchester, the 916th Mission Support Group commander, participated in the training.
“What an honor it was for me, being asked to take part in their pre-deployment firefighting training,” said Winchester. “Although I do very well on my fitness test each year, I was wore out after wearing the gear and participating in the two fire scenarios. This experience has given me a greater understanding and appreciation for what they do!” 
The 916 MSG commander and the deploying 916 CEF members share a mutual respect for firefighting training and the career field in its entirety.
“I feel the training with Lt. Col. Winchester was a great refresher of the firefighter skills I learned at the fire academy and throughout my time as a firefighter,” said Airman 1st Class Ryann Baker, a 916 CEF firefighter. “It was nice to perform search and rescue because it’s one of the most vital parts of firefighting.”
Through this training Winchester was able to place himself in his troops’ boots and boost in confidence as they prepare for deployment.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our firefighters for their professionalism, dedication and tenacity - doing what it takes by putting themselves in danger to protect others,” said Winchester.