This is the first of a three part series that will focus on Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting. This installment will feature the training necessary to be an ARFF Marine as well as the follow-on training they must complete in order to stay qualified.
When potential panic involving aircraft ensues, the Marines of Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting act one of the first response teams on the scene to protect the aircraft crew and its passengers in fire or hazardous material emergencies.
“We are always training for the worst,” said Sgt. Ty Crittenden, the senior rescue man with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron.
Due to the dangers accompanied with fire emergencies, ARFF Marines must be prepared to react immediately.
“All of our training puts us in dangerous situations that simulate real life fires that we have to extinguish,” Crittenden said. “It’s better to go through realistic training because we walk away with a better understanding of what could happen.”
All ARFF Marines must complete a three-month long military occupational specialty school at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, which teaches basic firefighting skills and hazardous material awareness training.
Training encompassed in an ARFF Marine’s schedule includes water survival training, burn pit exercises and response training. All of which provide them with potentially life-saving experience.
To handle the potentially life threatening events, there is a multitude of equipment at their disposal like the Jaws-of-life, axes and first aid kits, to help prepare them for almost any scenario.
“We go through a lot of training and sometimes will do [un-required] training outside of the Marine Corps,” said Lance Cpl. Dorian Conrad, a dispatcher with H&HS.
Without the immediate support of ARFF, aircraft aboard the Air Station could end up in potentially dangerous situations.
“The airfield could not operate without us,” Crittenden said. “Our job is to support the Air Station and to save lives and property from damage.”