SOUTHWEST ASIA, March 20, 2017 —
U.S. and Australian air force firefighters, from different installations in the same area of responsibility, have successfully created an exchange training program here in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters trained alongside Royal Australian air force firefighters from a nearby logistics installation on a weekly basis for the last three months.
Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Todd, a fire prevention inspector with the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, helped develop the exchange program with RAAF fire manager Flight Sgt. Evans.
“This experience, even just as a coordinator, has been awesome and I have made friends that I'm sure will last the rest of my life,” Todd said. “No matter where I go, or what country I'm in, I can walk into a fire house and be among my brothers. The brotherhood of being a firefighter is universal and even over comes language barriers.”
Sharing Firefighting Techniques
The multinational firefighters share differing techniques and firefighting fundamentals while serving day-to-day in a deployed environment.
“It doesn't matter what country or fire service you’re from. We are all one big brotherhood when it comes to being firefighters, irrespective of nationality,” RAAF firefighter Sgt. Humphry said. “I hope that this interaction continues with each and every rotation, because the door has been opened for a continuing dialogue between the two nations and services, which have a common goal.”
The training exercises focused on responding to emergencies on active flightlines, procedures for fighting structure fires and developing an environment that fosters the growth of relationships.
“It is a priceless opportunity to be able to forge bonds and build lifelong relationships with military service members from other countries,” U.S. Air Force firefighter Tech Sgt. Christopher said. “The fire service is an ever-changing career field, so any opportunity we have to expand and build upon the basic fundamentals especially from coalition forces is priceless.”
Service members from both nations shared an interest in continuing the training opportunities between the installations in the future.
(Editor’s Note: For security reasons, military personnel in this story are not identified by last name.)