Cannon behind the scenes: combined forces coalition

Firefighters with the Clovis, N.M. Fire Department and a firefighter with the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron work to extinguish an engine fire in the burn pit at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Aug. 2, 2012. The pit houses a replicated aircraft equipped with a propane tank and several igniters used to sustain training fires. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

Firefighters with the Clovis, N.M. Fire Department and a firefighter with the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron work to extinguish an engine fire in the burn pit at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Aug. 2, 2012. The pit houses a replicated aircraft equipped with a propane tank and several igniters used to sustain training fires. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

Firefighters with the Clovis, N.M. Fire Department enter the burn pit aircraft to extinguish a fire at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Aug. 2, 2012. The pit houses a replicated aircraft equipped with a propane tank and several igniters used to sustain training fires. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

Firefighters with the Clovis, N.M. Fire Department enter the burn pit aircraft to extinguish a fire at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Aug. 2, 2012. The pit houses a replicated aircraft equipped with a propane tank and several igniters used to sustain training fires. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

Firefighters with the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron discuss strategies before entering the burn pit at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Aug. 2, 2012. The pit houses a replicated aircraft equipped with a propane tank and several igniters used to sustain training fires. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Eboni Reece)

Firefighters with the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron discuss strategies before entering the burn pit at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Aug. 2, 2012. The pit houses a replicated aircraft equipped with a propane tank and several igniters used to sustain training fires. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Eboni Reece)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- *This feature is fourteenth in a series of Air Commando highlights at Cannon.

As the U.S. Air Force fire protection motto states, members must possess "the desire to serve, the ability to perform, and the courage to act."

Firefighters with the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., do not fall short in these aspirations. Their commitment to excellence and courage is noted not only in the attention to detail they display while gearing up, but also in the fearlessness they exude as they walk head-on into blazing infernos.

The 27 SOCES teamed up with members from the Clovis, N.M. Fire Department to conduct Aircraft Live-Fire Training on Aug. 2.

Members from Clovis were able to utilize base training facilities to conduct required annual training to stay current on tactics and strategy. The day's training focused on the burn pit, which houses a replicated aircraft equipped with a propane tank and several igniters used to sustain training fires.

The burn pit allows crews to simulate different burn scenarios for training such as engine, ground or interior fires.

"Cannon is a huge asset to us for training and qualification purposes," said Chris Elam, Clovis Fire Department firefighter. "Having this facility so close to us along with training tools like the burn pit keeps us current and ready to do our job."

Crew members geared up with more than 70 additional pounds of equipment to fight the staged fires.

Hand-line techniques were one of the focuses of the day's training. Depending on the pressure applied and the necessity, the hoses are capable of emitting an average of 140 gallons of water per minute.

Training temperatures within and around the burning aircraft can exceeded 1,200 degrees, while interior suit temperatures can reach nearly 200 degrees according to officials. Additionally, firefighters had to cope with surrounding ambient heat that peaked well over 95 degrees at the time of the burns.

"This isn't anything new for us," said Airman Michael Pluhacek, 27 SOCES firefighter. "We routinely conduct burn drills like this to stay mission ready. Joint exercises like this ultimately help us coordinate with other professional agencies and teach us to function well under pressure."

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