MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Five firefighters from the 193rd Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron completed joint training May 1-7 with their active-duty counterparts at the 316th Civil Engineer Squadron at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.
The goal of this training was to strengthen the relationship between Air National Guardsmen and their active-duty counterparts while fulfilling mandatory yearly readiness certifications.
Master Sgt. Lyle Cosner, a firefighter with the 193rd SOCES, believes in the value of this partnership, which began in 2021 to meet annual training requirements.
Cosner said this year, firefighters from the 193rd SOCES trained on the aircraft fire simulator at Andrews to meet their Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting certification. The simulator allowed them to train on interior and exterior firefighting techniques. They also took advantage of other training facilities not available at the 193rd Special Operations Wing. The structural fire and confined space simulators provided practice to expand their skills and techniques.
In addition, the firefighters trained on a fire apparatus with a piercing nozzle — a piece of equipment not usually available to them. The smaller group size allowed for more focused, in-depth training, said Cosner.
The 193rd firefighters worked directly with their active-duty counterparts, responding to calls and providing fire protection to the base. This allowed them to experience the operational tempo of a large, active-duty military installation and respond to a greater variety and frequency of calls. They also networked and met with firefighters from other parts of the nation and the Department of Defense and shared firefighting techniques.
While at Andrews, the firefighters assisted with presidential standby detail, providing emergency support for the arrivals and departures of Air Force One.
“They get to go see a larger air base, get experience working with the active-duty component, and it gives them the opportunity to run more responses,” said Senior Master Sgt. Scott Kramer, 193rd SOCES fire chief. “And Andrews benefits from us. We can help them with manning.”
The firefighters got to see different fire protection systems across the base, including the Air Force One hangar, said Cosner. The size of the facilities and hangars gave the firefighters a different perspective, showing them what it takes to provide fire protection on that scale.
Kramer said the 193rd SOCES is already planning more training with active-duty forces.