MARINE CORPS AUXILIARY LANDING FIELD BOGUE, N.C. --
Clothed in heavy reflective suits and protective gear, aircraft rescue and firefighting specialists assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, approached blazing danger during live-fire training aboard Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, N.C., Feb. 1, 2017.
The training offered a realistic experience of what an aircraft fire looks and feels like. This gave the Marines a unique opportunity to evaluate themselves on how they would handle and control the situation.
“This training is important to the Marine Corps because in the case of an incident, the Marines will be ready to fight the fire, understand what hazards are presented in the situation, and be able to rescue any personnel onboard the aircraft,” said Sgt. Erik Aragon, an aircraft rescue and firefighting specialist with MWSS-271.
With water hoses in hand, teams of ARFF Marines advanced toward the flames pouring from all sides of the Mobile Aircraft Firefighting Training Device. The MAFTD is a system powered with propane to provide controlled combustions inside and out. ARFF Marines must conduct the training regularly in order to remain proficient.
“Teamwork is the most important thing during this training,” said Lance Cpl. Tyler Kingdenmark, an aircraft rescue and firefighting specialist with MWSS-271. “It helps us be able to trust one another, and mentally prepares each individual Marine for what could happen [in an aircraft fire] and it also lets them know how to strive to be better.”
According to Kingdenmark, the job can be very strenuous and mentally challenging. The training is essential in order to be on top of their game at all times.
“The most important thing the Marines should take away is that this could be an actual event,” said Aragon. “This could be a real emergency and they have to treat it as such. If they’re going to freeze up then this is their time to do it, so when it’s time to do the real thing, they’ll be able to put out the fire and rescue the pilots.”