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380AEW Article

380th ELRS FaRM: Repairing firetrucks and refuelers

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady
  • 380th AEW/PA

Whenever there is an issue involving specialty vehicles at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, that is when the 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Firetruck and Refueling mechanics gets to work.

FaRM provides safety and serviceability to specialty vehicles to enable emergency firefighting response and aircraft or base assets refueling capabilities.

“The refuelers that we service and repair fuel all aircrafts on base, form KC-10, U-2, RQ-4s, and E-3s,” said Tech. Sgt. Jared Hopper, 380th ELRS NCOIC, fire truck and refueling maintenance. “The fire trucks that we are responsible for are used for flight line emergencies and base medical and structural emergencies.”   

FaRM is responsible for 70 assets including 31 Refuelers, 29 Fuels Operational Readiness Capability Equipment, and 10 Fire Trucks.

“As a Fire Truck and Re-fueling mechanic, we go through exhaustive additional training to be knowledgeable in the accessory systems added to these vehicles,” said Hopper. “We require being able to think quickly and solve difficult problems at the drop of a hat. In addition, the ability to comprehend multiple system schematics and diagnose and problem solve mechanical vehicle components to ensure that our mission continues.”  

These members directly affect the vehicles needed to keep ADAB operational.

“My favorite part of the job is having a direct impact on the mission,” said Staff Sgt. Gabriel Villalpando, 380th ELRS firetruck and refueling maintenance craftsman. “We have a direct impact on the flight line, you need the firetrucks to fight fires and the refuelers fuel the planes.”

“Being a firetruck/refueler mechanic has always been a very demanding and self-fulfilling career”, said Senior Airman Jeremy Glodowski, 380th ELRS firetruck and refueling maintenance. “I look forward to what challenges await me in the future.”

The FaRM uses the experiences from each member to enhance it’s capabilities.

“I have a pretty good knowledge on most of these trucks compared to the other guys so it helped with me being here with these guys because if they have an issue I can share my knowledge with them,” said Senior Airman Freddie Martinez, 380th ELRS firetruck and refueling maintenance journeyman. “We can work together to solve an issue. We have pretty good turnaround times and trucks don’t normally stay down too long.” 

By working together as a team, the FaRM ensures their maintainers are better equipped to solve issues here and at their home station.

“These guys have been very helpful in which they know that I don’t tend to usually work on these types of vehicles so whenever you have a question, ask,” said Senior Airman Ismael Garcia, 380th ELRS general-purpose mechanic. “I have a better understanding to how FaRM works and a better appreciation for the guys back home for what they have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.”