Active-duty bonds forged in fire

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Tony Harp and Senior Airman Echo Rogers
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing

Five firefighters from the 193rd Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron completed joint training May 1-7 with their active-duty counterparts at the 316th Civil Engineer Squadron at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

The goal of this training was to strengthen the relationship between Air National Guardsmen and their active-duty counterparts, while also fulfilling mandatory yearly readiness certifications.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Lyle Cosner, a firefighter with the 193rd SOCES, believes in the value of this partnership, which began in 2021 as a way to meet annual training requirements.

"This year, firefighters from the 193rd SOCES trained on the aircraft fire simulator at Andrews to meet their Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting certification," said Cosner. "The simulator allowed them to train on both interior and exterior firefighting techniques. They also took advantage of other training facilities not available to them at the 193rd Special Operations Wing. The structural fire and confined space simulators both provided practice to expand their skills and techniques."

In addition, the firefighters trained on a fire apparatus with a piercing nozzle - a piece of equipment not normally available to them. The smaller group size allowed for more focused, in-depth training.

"The 193rd firefighters worked directly with their active-duty counterparts, responding to calls and providing fire protection to the base," said Cosner. "This allowed them to experience the operational tempo of a large, active-duty military installation, and to respond to a larger variety and frequency of calls. It was an excellent opportunity to network and meet with firefighters from other parts of the nation and within the Department of Defense. This interagency training offers a chance to share different firefighting techniques and styles, as well."

While at Andrews, the firefighters also assisted with presidential standby detail, providing standby emergency support for the arrivals and departures of Air Force One.

“They get to go see a larger air base, get experience working with the active-duty component, and it gives them the opportunity to run more responses,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Scott Kramer, fire chief with the 193rd SOCES. "Andrews benefits from us, as well - we can help them with manning.”

The firefighters were able to see different types of fire protection systems across the base, to include the Air Force One hangar, said Cosner. The size of the facilities and hangars gave the firefighters a different perspective on fire protection, showing them what it takes to provide fire protection on that scale.  

Kramer said the 193rd SOCES is already planning more training with active-duty forces, and is confident they’ll continue to build their relationship.