FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELARAM II, Afghanistan --
Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 turned up the heat for new Afghan National Army firefighters during the final evaluation of a basic firefighting course at Forward Operating Base Delaram II, Afghanistan, July 26.
Throughout the course, the Marines instructed the Afghan troops on fire truck operations, extinguishing fires, and rescue saw techniques. The course was taught in three classes, spread over three weeks. Each class covered a different portion of the training.
“During the first two classes we showed them how to use all the equipment on the fire truck and gave them hands-on time, to better learn how to use it. There are a lot of different switches and gauges to operate both inside and outside of the fire truck,” said Sgt. Justin D. Rankin, the MWSS-272’s noncommissioned officer in charge of aircraft rescue firefighters at the forward operating base. “We would teach the new firefighters the basic operations and then they would go back and practice what they had learned.”
For the final evaluation on July 26, two different stations were prepared to test the new firefighter’s skills. At the first station, the Afghan National Army firefighters extinguished a fire using the fire truck. At the other, Afghan soldiers used a rescue saw to cut through a large piece of metal to simulate possible real world scenarios.
“Most of firefighting is learning by experience. You’ll get the basic courses but then you just have to do it to get better at it,” said Cpl. Kevin A. Johnson, an aircraft rescue firefighter with MWSS-272 who helped instruct the course, and a native of Rustburg, Va. “From what I saw today they have got a really good start and they’re going to do great.”
Rankin, a native of Springfield, Ill., said the new firefighters will now help put out fires in Delaram district and surrounding areas located in southwestern Afghanistan’s Nimruz province.
“They did really well on the final examination,” said Rankin. “I am very confident that they will be able to perform the skills we taught them.”
With the course complete, Rankin explained the Afghan firefighters can now take the experience and knowledge they’ve obtained during the training and share it with other Afghan troops.
“I’ve learned a lot and I want to say thank you to the Marines for all the time they spent here with us,” said Sgt. Abdul Kitaliq, a new firefighter with the Afghan National Army. “We are learning these trades for the future and the good of Afghanistan. We’ll make sure to use teamwork and share these skills with the others.”
“Firefighters, no matter what the nationality, are all a band of brothers. We understand each other and we work together greatly,” said Rankin. “It boiled down to just that. The brotherhood of firefighters came out between us all.”
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