News: Kunsan Fire Department among best in Air Force
Story by Senior Airman Brigitte Brantley
BUSAN GWANG'YEOGSI, South Korea - The Kunsan Fire Department recently won an Air Force-level award for consistently going above and beyond in their duties as they keep the Wolf Pack safe.
Earning the service’s Small Fire Department of the Year for 2011 was welcome recognition for the station’s 38 firefighters.
“It takes a daily effort to stay focused on the mission,” said Master Sgt. Tavio Soto, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department first sergeant. “As military and firefighters, we’re on call 24/7, on weekends and after hours. If you have any other attitude, you’re already falling behind the pack.”
Their award-winning performance last year comprised 50 accomplishments in six major areas, including innovativeness, customer service, accreditation and certifications, and quality of life initiatives.
During 2011, the Fire Dawgs’ provided fire protection for 2,700 personnel, 57 F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft and 1,070 buildings valued at $2.75 billion.
They supported nearly 7,500 take-offs and landings, while also responding to emergencies such as an F-16 gear fire, which they swiftly extinguished, saving $18.8 million in wartime assets.
They conducted 458 training sessions and 4,927 hours of skill proficiency training, as well as tested 12,000 feet of fire hose and $16,000 worth of ladders, correcting 18 safety deficiencies.
The firefighters also dedicated many hours to community relations programs and provided hands-on training for Republic of Korea Air Force firefighters.
All their accomplishments protected the Wolf Pack members who work to “Defend the base, accept follow-on forces and take the fight north.”
“It’s great the firefighters come to a remote location away from family and make their time here really count,” said Lt. Col. Brian Hinsvark, 8th Mission Support Group deputy commander. “Kunsan has a unique mission and they work well with our ROKAF and civilian partners.
“To them, this is a family. When you work like they do and perfect the art of working as a team, excellence is sure to follow.”
The station is now competing at the Department of Defense level and will find out in August how they fared against the Army, Marines, Coast Guard and Navy.