180th FW Firefighters shine during base inspection

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman William Winston
  • 180th Fighter Wing
A team of 180th Fighter Wing firefighters sprung in to action to simulate the extraction of an unresponsive pilot at the 180th FW flight line Oct. 13 for the Consolidated Unit Inspection inspectors.

"We were given a scenario where a fire was underneath a grounded air plane with an unconscious pilot," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Pugh, 180th FW firefighter. "One crew was assigned to put out the fire under the plane, while the rescue crew took care of the pilot extraction."

This exercise displayed the firefighters' preparedness for the CUI, as well as real-world emergencies, and it was a teaching moment for the younger Airmen in this unit.
In the months leading up to CUI, the firefighters spent several hours preparing for this scenario.

"Everyone did a little extra work to prepare for the CUI," said Pugh. "The rescue team took two hours out of every drill this year to practice getting the pilot out and there were extra trainings between our computer-based trainings."

Pugh continued, "There was a lot of room to mess up in this scenario because there were certain switches and knobs that we had to hit at the right time to shutdown the aircraft. Also, once the ladders that we used hit the jet, we had 60 seconds to get the pilot out."

Moments after the start of simulation, the rescue team found a patch of grass to set down the gurney with the pilot and went through life saving procedures.
"They were precise, and moved quickly," said Airman 1st Class Jacob Adams, 180th FW firefighter.

Adams stood among the observers during the whole exercise. "My task, during the CUI, was to watch and learn," said Adams.

In July, Adams transferred to the 180th FW from Selfridge ANG base in Michigan. He explained that he transferred because a fellow Airman told him good things about the 180th FW fire department.

"I just completed my rescue and fire career development courses, and today I got to see everything I learned in action," said Adams. "Plus, the CUI inspectors pointed out little details that are important from the extraction, like the placement of the oxygen tank."
"I think we did really well today - everything worked out exactly how we thought it would," said Pugh. "I am happy with how we did and I know everyone else was happy with it too."
"Right from the start, I noticed great team work," said Adams. "I think they were pretty confident in what they doing."

The effort by these firefighters was only one example of why the 180th FW exceeded their goal for the CUI.

"The Airmen of the 180th FW demonstrated a great attitude, high motivation and very high morale during my visit to the Wing," said Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Schwenk, superintendent of the headquarters inspector general team. "The level of that motivation, esprit de corps, and positive attitude demonstrated by their Airmen during this inspection was very impressive."
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