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    Task Force Rugged Soldiers join fire-fighting efforts

    Mendocino Complex Fire Support

    Photo By Sgt. Uriah Walker | 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion Soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Uriah Walker 

    5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   

    By Sgt. Uriah Walker
    5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
    August 13, 2018

    MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST, Calif. – More than 200 Soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. worked their first day in the Mendocino Complex Fire today constructing debris barriers, clearing road-side brush and cutting lines to prevent the spread of the wildland fires burning in the area.

    Soldiers from 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion were tasked to support the National Interagency Fire Center by the Department of Defense to assist the assets already on the ground. Before entering the burn area, every Soldier received personal protective equipment and three days of wildland firefighter training. In addition to the training, each active-duty fire crew is lead by two professional firefighters.

    For at least one Lancer Brigade Soldier, wildland fires are something of a way of life. Pvt. Antonio Rodriguez grew up in Whittier, Calif. and has experienced the fear associated with nearby San Bernardino wildland fires.

    “I feel very honored to come back home to help, that’s why I joined the Army,” said Rodriguez, B Co. 14th BEB. “Now that I have the chance to help I’m trying my best with all of my battle buddies. Together, with the experience I have from the Army and the training from the firefighters, I feel like we’re going to do a good job … we’re ready to go out there and try our best and see if we can stop this fire.”

    Soldiers spent today in the Mendocino National Forest working through smoke, falling ash and heat, practicing the skills needed to be safe and successful on a wildland fire. From the medics to the heavy equipment operators, each and every Soldier appeared eager and willing to learn and become a valuable asset to the fire containment efforts.

    “Working with the civilian firefighters is great,” said 1st Lt. Stanley Pearson. “They’re very knowledgeable and have been great teaching us techniques for clearing out fires while remaining safe.”

    Pearson said the training they received during the previous three days was great preparation for what they are experiencing so far.

    The three-day accelerated training program included blocks of instruction on fire behavior, personal safety, tool familiarization and use, reading weather signs and communication.

    “I’m excited to get back out there to help the firefighters prevent further property loss,” Pearson said.



    Date Taken: 08.13.2018
    Date Posted: 08.14.2018 18:02
    Story ID: 288757
    Location: MENDOCINO , CA, US 

    Web Views: 151
    Downloads: 2