Camp Guernsey and Wyo. Air Guard firefighters train together

Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy McGuire

It hasn’t been done before May 24th’s live fire training in Casper, Wyoming, but plans are already in the works for the Camp Guernsey Fire Department and the Wyoming Air Guard’s Fire Department to train together again.

Military airfield firefighters have to certify their skills every year and one of the tasks they have to show proficiency in is handling a live fire burn.

The training is costly, and in these times of budget constraints someone had the good idea to travel to Casper and extinguish simulated crash fires together.

CGFD Chief Alan Baldy and five of his firefighters drove up from Guernsey while the Air Guard contingent flew over on a C-130, loaded with one of their brush trucks, and they all met at the Wyoming Airport Rescue Firefighting Training Facility, one of the few such places in the country where firefighters can hone their skills on live fuel burns

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“This worked out really well as we really can’t afford to send our people up here,” Baldy said. “This is a great use of sharing resources.”

In addition to the cost savings, the Air Guard was able to check the capabilities of its new brush truck while giving the loadmasters an opportunity to hone their skills by securing it in the back of the Herc and delivering it to Casper.

“It took a little more coordination than normal, but we wanted to fly the truck and test its capabilities up there. We got Guernsey to share the cost and we got our certification done. It all went well,” said Air Guard FD Assistant Chief Darby Whitesell.

CGFD Station Captain Chad Brush, who ran the training facility from 1998 to 2006, said it’s a unique place refine the skills involved in fighting an airfield fire, one of three disciplines he and his firefighters at Guernsey must be qualified for.

“It’s designed so you can put the engine fire out and then we’ll try to create an egress and make a path to enter the fuselage and get passengers off the aircraft.”

Baldy said plans are underway for the two fire departments to train at Camp Guernsey this summer.

“We’re going to bring the C-130s up and run simultaneous operations at the airfield and the tac strip,” he said. “You have to have a certain number of firefighters at both sites supporting the aircraft, so this should be a good test of our joint capabilities.”

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