AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
Firefighters from throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility gathered to train on the TITAN Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) P-19C vehicle at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, March 12-15, 2021.
Approximately 27 U.S. Air Forces Central firefighters participated in the training and will teach their fellow members how to operate the truck when they return to their assigned bases.
The P-19C is the newest generation of C-130 transportable fire trucks in the U.S. Air Force. The previous fleet reached the end of its lifespan, and the Air Force is replacing the current fleet for $49 million.
“The only trucks in our inventory as C-130 loadable were the legacies,” said Chief Master Sgt. Bradley Beaty, class instructor and fire chief for AFCENT Installations (A7) Directorate. “Sometimes you need the fire, crash, rescue capability taken to a place that only a C-130 can get to. This new fleet will be more reliable – decreasing maintenance requirements and saving the Air Force time and money for other mission needs.”
As AFCENT consistently practices and improves its combat competencies and integration with joint and regional partners, having flexible ARFF capabilities enables crews to be more mobile.
“This truck is going to be used to support bases throughout the AOR in many ways, such as with Quick Strike Teams whose mission is to support Air Mobility Command with short-term crash, fire and rescue support,” Beaty said. “These trucks can be more easily transported to zones where only a C-130 can land, improving our support of Agile Combat Employment events.”
The operator training process for this vehicle was different from how Air Force firefighters are usually trained. Usually the vendor provides training, but COVID-19 travel restrictions meant Beaty had to be certified as an Air Force trainer instead. Once Beaty was trained, members from bases throughout CENTCOM AOR attended the course held at Al Udeid AB. The firefighters then head back and train members of their stations in turn.
“We always want our drivers to be able to operate safely and meet mission requirements, which this training will accomplish,” Beaty said. “We truly appreciated all the commanders who sent their firefighters out here and the 379th ECES squadron and members who hosted the training and worked really hard to ensure the training was accomplished as smooth as possible; allowing us to get these trucks in service.”
While Al Udeid hosted the training, the process of ordering the trucks to delivery has been nearly five years in the making. Beaty is the last of three fire chiefs working with the Air Force Civil Engineer Center to replace the legacy vehicles in the field as well as trucks in the War Reserve Materiel stock. Introducing this technology will reduce maintenance costs for bases as well as add to the overall defense of aircraft at bases throughout the AOR.