SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Deployed French and U.S. Air Force firefighters competed in a firefighting confidence course to ensure operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant continues safely at an undisclosed location, Jan. 17.
Firefighters were required to perform ladder climbing, hose dragging, ax swinging, equipment hoisting and rescue carrying during the timed event while donned in personal protection equipment weighing roughly 50-75 pounds.
Chief Master Sgt. Mark, 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron fire chief, discussed the importance of developing coalition relationships while in a deployed environment.
“The first time that we meet these guys shouldn’t be at the scene of a crash,” said Mark. “This training instills that sense of confidence that they are doing the same thing we’re doing and we’re doing the same thing they’re doing.”
The 380th ECES designed the course with the intent of strengthening the bonds and relationships between participants.
“It’s all about teamwork,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan, 380th ECES firefighter. “We’re coming together and cheering each other on as we’re doing the obstacles and also this stuff goes hand-in-hand with what we do daily.”
Coalition air power in support of Joint Coalition Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve has assisted Iraqi Security Forces in the liberation of more than 50 percent of the territory held by ISIL since December 2016.
Due to the high volume of sorties flown in support of OIR firefighters must maintain strong relationships with Coalition partners.
“It’s very important for my guys to develop this relationship and exchange different techniques,” said Stephan, a French air force fire chief. “If there were ever a big incident with a French aircraft, I’m sure we would need their [380th ECES firefighters] help; it’s important to know how each of us work.”