MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
Marines with the
Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting conducted a controlled burn training exercise aboard
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Feb. 17.
involved extinguishing fuel fires on a model jet to give ARFF Marines the
experience of fighting a real fire. The Marines battling the blaze use hoses to
push the fire away from the model jet’s cockpit in order to simulate procedure
for rescuing a pilot in a real life scenario.
training fires as often as possible to train for possible fuel fires and other
emergencies on the flight line,” said Sgt. Damien Sanders, a crew chief with
ARFF. “Every crew member has to know their job and be prepared to perform in an
Training with live
fires not only makes the Marines train for a real life scenario, but also
ensures that they understand the severity and importance of their specialty to
the air station. The unit acts as one of the first response teams on the scene
to protect the aircraft crew and its passengers in fire or hazardous material
“Our mission is to
protect property and flight operations by employing advanced fire suppression
rescue operations,” said Sgt. Dustin Clayton, a hand line operator with ARFF. “Without
the immediate support of ARFF, aircraft aboard the air station could end up in
potentially dangerous situations.”
The Marines with
ARFF are trained respond to an emergency within three minutes of notification.
Their quick response time is critical to any emergency situation aboard the
air station. The jet fuel is utilized in training to give the Marines the
opportunity to work in a more realistic setting.
“The [MOS] school
uses propane that you can just turn on and off,” said Clayton. “Here, there is
no on/off switch so you have to put the fire out yourself just like in real
All ARFF Marines
must complete a three-month long military occupational specialty school at
Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, which teaches basic firefighting skills and
hazardous material awareness training.
encompassed in an ARFF Marine’s schedule includes water survival training, burn
pit exercises and response training. All of which provide them with potentially
important training skill we learn is how to effectively extinguish an aircraft
fire,” said Sanders. “We learn proper technique on how to extinguish it and to
build and maintain stamina because we’re in the gear for hours at a time.”
Station fire fighters
wear heat resistant silver suits to keep themselves safe from the blaze. The
gear is rated to withstand up to 2,100 degrees of heat. Along with the
reflective suit, the firefighters also use a separate breathing apparatus
attached to a canister that provides them fresh oxygen as they navigate through
the many hazardous chemicals generated from burning fuels and materials.
could not operate without us,” said Clayton. “Our job is to support the Air
Station and to save lives and property from damage.”
When the training came
to a close the pit is cooled down and the Marines loaded onto their trucks. The
training was a success not only for the firefighting Marines but for those who
lives depend on the unique skill set of the ARFF Marines.