U.S.

July 6, 2012

Vandenberg sends “hot shots” to Colorado wildfire front lines

Tags:
by Staff Sgt. Erica Picariello
30th Space Wing Public Affairs
Hotshots 1

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) — Vandenberg Air Force Base officials deployed the only Defense Department wild land firefighting asset at 2 p.m. June 27 in support of the wild land firefighting efforts in Colorado Springs, Colo.

March Air Reserve Base quickly responded to the DOD request for airlift by launching a C-17 Globemaster III to Vandenberg AFB to pick up the hot shots crew. After which, the transport jet flew the crew and their equipment to the scene of the firefight.

“March Field’s global response capability was once again put to the test when called in to support combating the wildfires,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Sullivan, pilot, 729th Airlift Squadron. “From the initial call at 7:30 a.m., to wheels up at 10:40, we were able to expeditiously compose a crew and plan for the mission. The three hours it took to generate this mission made it one of the quickest turns in March Field history.”

Once at Vandenberg, Master Sgts. Frederick Fowler and Geoffry Parish, loadmasters, 729th AS, took over.  They coordinated with the 18-member Vandenberg AFB Hot Shots crew to load the crew carrier vehicles, one superintendent support vehicle and one all-terrain vehicle, into the belly of the Globemaster.

After a quick passenger brief, they pushed on to the next leg of their mission, 15 minutes ahead of schedule.  Upon arrival, Parish and Fowler quickly unchained the vehicles and had them off the aircraft in about 25 minutes.

“This is national support at its finest,” said Mark Farias, the Vandenberg AFB Fire Department chief. “The VAFB Hot Shots, being the only DOD hot shots, bring a critical skill set to the fight. These guys will be on the front lines using their training regarding wildfires and urban interface to save lives and structures in the state of Colorado.”

The VAFB Hot Shots crew will likely be assigned to the Waldo Canyon fire. As the fire rages in Colorado Springs, engulfing more than 15,517 acres, many military bases and residential areas are in danger and facing mandatory evacuation.

The California hot shots crew has been explicitly trained to save structures, not just to extinguish the flames.

“When a building or community faces a wildfire danger, we use structure triage,” said Jesse Hendricks, the Vandenberg Hot Shots superintendent. “First we remove any fuel source, like trees or shrubbery, from around the home using hand tools. Once we’ve created an area clear of fuels, we actually burn a fire around the structure that will carry the initial fire away from the homes.”

Vandenberg’s Hot Shots are going into this inferno mentally and physically prepared.

“We all got into the mindset that this is going to be a nasty situation,” Hendricks said. “We understand fatigue will be a factor, so we will hydrate and get as much sleep as we can before getting to Colorado. When we go into any wildfire we try to relate it to our ‘mental slides,’ meaning that we recall similar wildfires and pull from those lessons learned so that we will be more effective.”

Vandenberg AFB’s fire chief said he feels confident that this hot shots crew will prove to be a valuable asset to the containment of the Colorado wildfire.

“Thousands of people and homes are threatened, but the most skilled DOD wild land firefighters are being deployed,” he said. “Our hot shots are difference makers, having saved this base numerous times, our surrounding communities and now Colorado Springs.”

The March Team crew composition was comprised of, Lt. Cols. Joseph Sullivan, Thomas Noble, Jose Hoffman and Master Sgts. Frederic Fowler and Geoffrey Parish.

Darnell Gardner, 452 AMW public affairs, contributed to this article.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Untitled-1

Preparation essential for those living in “Earthquake Country”

While we continually stress the fact we live in earthquake country, the last couple of weeks have certainly lent credence to that statement. Seismic activity in the California area to include Los Angeles, La Habra and Fortuna, ...
 
 
taxes-art

Tax season deadline looms, free filing available

On April 15, the regular tax season comes to an end. Unless you qualify for an automatic extension (deployed anytime from Jan. 1 – April 15, 2014), or you file for an extension, you need to have filed your return. Why not...
 
 

UPCOMING TICKETS AND TOURS EVENTS

Some restrictions apply. Times are approximate. APRIL Date: April 12 Event: Land Sailing Trip Cost: Free Description/ Restrictions: This is a Single Airmen Program. Open to all base personnel but Single Airmen have priority. For more info please call Outdoor Rec. at 951-655-2816. Date: April 26 Event: Carlsbad Flower Fields Blues Day/ Outlet Tour Cost:...
 

 

Military officials take aim at tobacco use

Military health officials have set an ambitious goal: to have all Department of Defense installations tobacco-free by the year 2020. That’s one part of a larger effort to cut tobacco use among service members and veterans, said Col. John Oh, Health Promotion chief at the Air Force Medical Support Agency. Tobacco has long been known...
 
 
DoD
MOMC_graphic

DOD salutes children during military child month

The Defense Department believes military children serve their country alongside their service member parents, DOD’s director of the office of family policy/children and youth said. When military children serve, they do so by ...
 
 

“Live our values, step up to stop sexual assault”

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and sexual assault is a crime that is not compatible with your military service. Each April, the Department of Defense (DOD) and other organizations across the nation observe SAAM. This annual event provides the opportunity to highlight the efforts that the DOD and Military Services are taking to combat...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin