News: ARFF Marines show students how they get things done
Story by Cpl. Kenneth Trotter
IWAKUNI, Japan - Two Matthew C. Perry High School students spent the day following Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Marines aboard the station May 17, 2012, as part of the M.C. Perry job shadow day.
The purpose of the day was to give students who showed an interest in a particular military job an idea of what Marines aboard the station do.
“We were asked to escort them to our jobs, to show them the day-to-day work we perform,” said Sgt. Bruce L. Best, station ARFF assistant section 2 leader.
The Marines introduced the students to some of the training they perform in order to keep them sharp and ready at a moment’s notice.
They were also shown the equipment used when battling a blaze along with what type of support ARFF Marines give involving aircraft.
“We gave them some firefighting gear to wear and try on,” said Best. “We gave them flight suits and patches with their names on it. We wanted them to see and feel what it’s like to be an actual firefighter.”
The two students who attended hoped for the opportunity.
“I want to go in the Marine Corps and do this job,” said Joey Beall, an M.C. Perry seventh-grader.
When the students arrived at the ARFF training area they were greeted with a towering inferno.
“We pre-planned a simulated emergency at our training pit,” said Best. “When they saw us coming, they called for the simulated drill. It was pretty rewarding to see the kids’ eyes and hear them say ‘Wow, there’s a fire!’”
With full gear on and excitement in their eyes, the students had the opportunity to battle the conflagration up close and personal and from afar atop one of the P-19 fire engines with a fire hose.
“It was awesome and a good experience,” said William Eaglin, M.C. Perry eighth grader. “It was hot, too!”
After they subdued the inferno, the students went to the ARFF barn to see where the Marines train and live when away from the barracks and also to get hands-on with more equipment.
The opportunity to show the students some career opportunities they may have as civilians or service members was important to the Marines.
“Being here in Japan, they don’t get to see the way civilian firefighters work as compared to if they were in the states,” said Best. “It gives them an opportunity to see civilianized work inside the Marine Corps.”
For the Marines, this was also their way of giving back to the community.
“It breaks us from our daily operations, allows us to teach our skills, and allows some of my Marines to pass on the knowledge they’ve learned,” said Best.
After spending the day shadowing the Marines, the students had a newfound respect and appreciation for the Marines.
“I didn’t realize they did all this other stuff along with putting out the fire,” said Beall. “I was really surprised.”
The opportunity to shadow professionals, whether military or civilian, is something which may serve as a teaching tool and open avenues of interest. For those children who took part in the job shadow, the chance to experience what it is these professionals do could inspire their future career paths.
“I’m really looking forward to it next year,” said Beall. “It’s interesting and it’s a fun job. I really appreciate what they do.”