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Face of Defense: Dutch Airman Learns U.S. Firefighting Skills

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Antoinette Gibson
633rd Air Base Wing

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va, April 25, 2014 – U.S. Air Force firefighters from the 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron shared working knowledge on methods of combating fires with Netherlands Royal Air Force Sgt. Maj. Rene Van Noordeme here, April 23.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Firefighters from the 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron simulate a pilot rescue during a training exercise at Langley Air Force Base, Va., April 23, 2014. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Antoinette Gibson

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Noordeme is currently assigned to the NATO Headquarters in Norfolk, Va. Throughout his two-and-a-half-year assignment Noordeme traveled the Hampton Roads area to tour various fire department facilities.

Noordeme toured the 633rd Fire Department facility, studied vehicle features, and watched airmen don fire protective gear. Airmen also demonstrated a simulated downed-aircraft response to an aircraft fuel-pit fire using a mock metal airplane frame.

“For so long I wanted the opportunity to observe and train with the U.S. Air Force to help extend [Netherlands Royal Air Force] capabilities,” Noordeme said. “It can be difficult to rely on literature for knowledge. This hands-on training the 633rd provided me is invaluable.”

International partnerships enable forces from around the globe to prepare for emergencies and support contingency operations.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Dennis Scott, 633rd CES crew chief, said partnerships allow firefighters to share specific fire procedures, analyze best practices, and hone their skills.

“We are all firefighters achieving a common goal or mission,” Scott said. “The possibility is there to operate alongside Sgt. Maj. Van Noordeme or any other firefighter from another country.”

Through partnerships, the firefighters fostered relationships and learned skills they can use to increase their capabilities in the future, Noordeme said.


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