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NEWS | Dec. 7, 2020

Montana National Guard partners with college for training

By Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh Camp Ripley Training Center

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. – In preparation for deployment to Romania in 2021, the 1051st Fire Fighter Tactical Group conducted training with Central Lakes College at Camp Ripley Nov. 30-Dec. 4.

Sgt. Jared Rubel, the station chief with the Montana National Guard’s 1051st Fire Fighting Tactical Group, said it was great to have the opportunity to come to Camp Ripley.

“Camp so far has been amazing. We aren’t used to a base this large,” Rubel said. “The barracks we use [back home] do not have a kitchen or offices or anything like that. We can do all our training here without having to shuttle everybody back and forth to the different courses.”

The training involved eight courses required before deployment. After each course, the Soldiers take a nationally recognized test to get certified through The Pro Board.

Noncommissioned officers completed Fire Inspector and Fire Officer courses, while the lower enlisted took Mobile Water Supply, Pumper Operator, and Driving courses.

Spc. Justin Wilkinson, a nozzleman for the 1051st FFTG, explained how the course would benefit the unit.

“Once you pull up on scene, the first thing you have to do is establish water supply,” Wilkinson said. “The truck is designed to increase the water pressure because every hundred feet of hose, there is friction loss. The pump turns the water into a higher pressure so we can fight fire. We are training to be able to operate that pump and learn how to direct pressure based on how much hose is out.”

Eric Makowski of Central Lakes College led the unit’s training. “It’s a fun group,” he said. “They are very energetic.”

The unit’s main mission is to respond to wildfires, structural fires, natural disasters, and car crashes on base. Once deployed, the main mission will be structural fires, such as house or dumpster fires on post.

The training completed on Camp Ripley will ensure each Soldier is fully certified to operate the fire trucks. It will also help the unit to understand how to run a fire station.

“At home, we have our unit, battalion, brigade, and everyone we know to help us through things,” Rubel said. “While we are over there, it’s just going to be us and firefighting groups we have never met before. The training will make it better, not only from a certification standpoint of being qualified to do our jobs but also having the knowledge to do it.”