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    Philippine, US firefighters train ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ on rescue equipment

    Philippine, US firefighters train ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ on rescue equipment

    Photo By Lance Cpl. Kasey Peacock | U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew D. Bell cuts through a barrel with the power hawk...... read more read more



    Story by Pfc. Kasey Peacock 

    III Marine Expeditionary Force   

    CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines - Firefighters from both the Philippine Air Force and U.S. Marines trained ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ April 8 on rescue equipment at Clark Field, Philippines, as part of exercise Balikatan 2013.

    The training began with aircraft rescue firefighter Marines demonstrating the capabilities and uses of the K-12 rescue saw and power hawk, or “jaws of life,” and allowed followed with their Filipino counterparts getting hands on training with the equipment.

    BK13 is an annual bilateral training evolution aimed at ensuring interoperability of the Philippine and U.S. militaries during planning, contingency and humanitarian assistance operations.

    “As firefighters, we have to be ready to do what is needed of us at all times,” said PAF Technical Sgt. Arthuro Sumilhig, a firefighter with the 600th Air Base Wing, 1st Air Division. “That is why every opportunity we have to train is an important one. It was great to get hands on with the gear the Marines use.”

    While no real emergency was taking place, the firefighters trained together by making cuts with the rescue saw and power hawk into old barrel drums.

    The importance of being proficient with these tools is unmatched as they may be the only thing standing between you and another person’s life, according to U.S. Marine Sgt. Harry M. Nieves, an aircraft rescue firefighter with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

    “Being able to come out to the Philippines and work together with their firefighters and display our capabilities is a great opportunity,” said Nieves. “It doesn’t matter where you are or what military you are in, firefighters are always training to get better.”

    The benefits both parties get out of the training holds a lasting memory as firefighters stay constantly prepared for their next emergency, according to U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Stephen R. Kiser, an aircraft rescue firefighter with the squadron. Both the Marine firefighters and their Filipino counterparts act as first responders to their respective aircraft and need to be ready to respond to any crisis with the tools available.

    “Everything we do has a purpose,” said Kiser. “While today we were only cutting into a barrel, tomorrow that barrel could be the door of an aircraft. In this job you never know what you might be getting into.”

    Throughout the exercise, Philippine and U.S. firefighters will continue bilateral training in order to ultimately better themselves and be at the ready to respond to any emergency.

    Other units participating in Balikatan will conduct training in multiple locations throughout central Luzon to include humanitarian civic assistance, ground military training operations and a command post exercise based on natural disaster response.



    Date Taken: 04.08.2013
    Date Posted: 04.10.2013 21:39
    Story ID: 104978
    Location: CLARK AIR BASE, PH 

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