Always Ready to Fight!

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Betsy Winstead
  • 172d Airlift Wing

The 172nd Civil Engineer Firefighters are constantly training, fulfilling their duel role to protect Thompson Field and the Jackson-Evers International Airport. State employees work hand-in-hand with Drill Status Guardsmen to provide structure fire protection, aircraft and automobile crash response, rescue, and emergency medical care to the base, and airport facilities. They respond to automobile accident calls as far as the airport round-about traffic circle.


Chief Master Sgt. John K. Elliot says through a Master Cooperative Agreement, the base gets property for the fire department and aircraft landing rights while the airport gets a larger, better trained firefighter force. It also frees the Guardsmen for contingency training and deployments.


All firefighters must follow the National Fire Protection Association 1410, standards of training. In these training photos, the crew is performing a “Forward Lead-out Evolution”. The drill requires a three or four-man crew to lay down 300 feet of five-inch supply line, connecting the fire engine to the fire hydrant. Then the rest of the crew must lay down 150 feet of a 1 ¾ attack line and a three-inch back-up line. All of which must be done in three minutes.


Training Officer Technical Sgt. James D. Brown says that crew teamwork is the key to successfully executing these drills. Crews have to plan the attack, work together to eliminate mistakes, and communicate clearly, so everyone knows the job they’re assigned and executes it as fast as possible. Each crew must pass 13, NFPA 1410 drills spaced over two months.


This was just one small piece of the training program, which takes up most of the firefighter’s time. Brown says they’re harder on themselves than he is, but that’s why they’re always ready to fight…fire.