DVIDS – News – Increasing Interoperability: 442nd AF Reserve Unit Deploys to NAVSTA Rota Fire Department


Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota Fire and Emergency Services (F&ES) recently hosted the 442nd Air Force Reserve unit to fulfill their reserve duty as well as comprehensive annual training requirements, March 7-19, 2022. This deployment has provided a unique opportunity between two services to integrate and train together.

“We currently train regularly with Moron F&ES and Spanish Navy bombers, but this is significant as this is the first time we have had this level of interoperability with any branch of service outside of the Navy. F&ES,” said Thomas Wiley. , Training Manager for NAVSTA Rota F&ES.

Early in the planning phase, Chief Master Sgt. 442nd Fire Chief Stephen Johnson contacted Wiley regarding training opportunities at Rota while deployed to Moron Air Base near Seville, Spain. It was later decided that it would be more beneficial for the unit to remain in Rota to maximize training while minimizing travel time. It would also allow the reserve unit to augment the current Rota staff, allowing the local command to reduce overtime, provide time off for military firefighters, and allow additional Rota personnel to complete the course. of emergency medical technician.

“I think I speak for everyone that this has been one of the most unique experiences an Air Force firefighter can have,” Johnson said. “The possibility of joining the Navy is something most of us don’t get to experience.”

This was reiterated by Wiley who stated that it is not a common place for an Air Force reserve unit to deploy to a Navy base, and this was perhaps one of the first collaborations of this magnitude.

“We fight the same fight, so why not train and fight together more often,” Wiley said. He underlined the interest of this type of training, particularly at Rota, where the installation’s aerodrome receives a large number of passing Air Force planes.

During the unit’s time in Rota, they underwent several live trainings including aircraft rescue firefighting, structural fires, flash fires, and shipboard fires. Other training included confined space training, hazardous materials response, airfield and aircraft familiarization, and shipboard familiarization. In addition, two individuals also received their HAZMAT technician level certification.

Although many reservists serve as civilian firefighters in and around Kansas City, Missouri, most have never had the opportunity to receive this type of training and familiarization with ships and aircraft.

“The best training we can get as Air Force firefighters is in a diverse environment,” Johnson said. “Between the 442nd F&ES and NAVSTA Rota F&ES, we have similar training, but diverse gunnery experience. There are several techniques that our citizen airman has shared with naval personnel, and vice versa.
This cooperation and sharing will make both groups better firefighters. Johnson said it was important to be able to “glean skills from each other” in their daily duties as firefighters and as a reserve firefighter. Wiley agreed and said the impact of this cooperation goes beyond this deployment.

“This event is bigger than Navy and Air Force reserves, and even goes beyond the Department of Defense,” Wiley said. “Many of the Airmen deployed here are full-time firefighters in their home communities. The training they received could one day help save their lives as well as those of citizens in their home communities.

At the end of the deployment, both parties felt that the collaboration was mutually beneficial and hope to have more opportunities to work together in the future.

“This trip uncovered a hidden gem of a fire service that is NAVSTA Rota Fire & Emergency Services,” Johnson said. “They balanced their own needs against ours and were incredibly flexible with the formations. We will leave here with a good part of our training completed – not to mention several certifications. On behalf of the 442nd Fire & Emergency Services, we thank NAVSTA Rota Fire & Emergency Services.

Date taken: 24.03.2022
Date posted: 24.03.2022 03:41
Story ID: 417051
Location: ES

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