Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, SC --
Marines with Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort conducted live fire training exercises, June 28.
The firefighters trained in the burn pit, which is a tool used for controlled training exercises that simulates aircraft mishaps with 200-gallon JP-5 fuel fires and the propane-fueled training aircraft, which is used to train Marines on how to put out helicopter and larger jet fires. The tool is used to test the personnel knowledge and endurance of the Marines with flames that are uncontrolled, in a controlled environment.
“Our mission is to preserve life and protect property through fire prevention procedures on the airfield and base,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Neuer, a section leader for ARFF aboard MCAS Beaufort. “That is why we not only train in the burn pit, but we also train on the propane training aircraft and the fake houses used by the Structural Fire Department as well.”
Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Marines specialize in aircraft fires, but can get called to provide mutual aid for any incident covered by the Structural Fire Department, that is why they train every day with aircraft or structural fires in mind.
“We can get anything from fuel spills and engine fires to hydraulic failures and landing gear malfunctions,” said Sgt. Nicholas Romanyk, a fire fighting specialist with ARFF aboard the air station. “We always train and prepare because we are always on call and ready to respond to any accident that happens on base, and anything can happen at a moment’s notice.”
Each Marine has a job when facing the heat. Two Marines carry the hose to the fire, the point man controls the nozzle and the direction of the water, while the second Marine provides support for the point man and stands by to pull the hose out of the fire on a moment’s notice. Each Marine works as a team and is critical to the safety on one another and the completion of the mission.
“We are a team first and foremost, and without proper training we wouldn’t know how to effectively work as one,” said Romanyk. “We always sit and discuss how the training went at the end, and figure out what we can do to become more effective and efficient firefighters. Everything we do is made to prime us for the fight so we are always ready for that alarm to go off.”