• TAJI, Iraq - Fire fighters from Fire Station 1, Camp Taji, Iraq, set barrels surrounding a truck ablaze to simulate an aircaft fire for the Sodliers of 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, in order to train on a new fire suppression system, June 26 at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad. The Soldiers are part of a downed aircraft recovery team for the 1st ACB.

    TAJI, Iraq - Fire fighters from Fire Station 1...

    TAJI, Iraq - Fire fighters from Fire Station 1, Camp Taji, Iraq, set barrels surrounding a truck ablaze to simulate an aircaft fire for the Sodliers of 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National...

  • TAJI, Iraq - Under the supervision of Ron Bailey, the fire prevention officer for Fire Department 1, Camp Taji, Iraq, Spc. Jose Ontiveros, from Covina, Calif., an aircraft mechanic in Company B, 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, moves against the heat to extiguish a blaze during a training exercise at Camp Taji, Iraq, just north of Baghdad, June 26. The training was conducted to familiarize the Soldiers on a new fire suppression system that will be used as part of a downed aircraft recovery team kit.

    TAJI, Iraq - Under the supervision of Ron...

    TAJI, Iraq - Under the supervision of Ron Bailey, the fire prevention officer for Fire Department 1, Camp Taji, Iraq, Spc. Jose Ontiveros, from Covina, Calif., an aircraft mechanic in Company B, 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry...

  • TAJI, Iraq - Using a new foam fire repellent, Staff Sgt. Jeremy McNichol from Lockeford (left), Calif., a downed aircraft noncommissionofficer in charge in 615th Avaition Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, sprays barrels filled with desiel fuel, under the watchful eyes of Ron Bailey, the fire prevention officer for Fire Department 1, during a training exercise, June 26 at Camp Taji, Iraq, north of Baghdad. The buring vehicle was a simulation for the Soldiers to test out a new chemical foam and fire suppresion system that will be included in a kit for a downed aircraft recovery team.

    TAJI, Iraq - Using a new foam fire repellent...

    TAJI, Iraq - Using a new foam fire repellent, Staff Sgt. Jeremy McNichol from Lockeford (left), Calif., a downed aircraft noncommissionofficer in charge in 615th Avaition Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National...

CAMP TAJI, Iraq - A downed aircraft is a worst-case scenario in an aviation unit. Having a well-trained team on standby is a vital piece to this unwanted puzzle.

A downed aircraft recovery team, or DART team, is comprised of Soldiers who do a variety of jobs, including mechanical and electrical repair.

The team also has special equipment at their disposal: tools to cut the aircraft open and safely remove crew members, fire suppression equipment and a slew of tools to repair the aircraft.

Staying well trained on equipment to help prevent injury to the crews and damage to the aircraft is a high priority for the DART team, made up of Soldiers from 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad.

"What we are learning to do is use our new Mckaw packs; they are a new fire fighting device we got with a new type of foam," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Vann, from San Antonio, a DART noncommissioned officer in charge in Company B, 615th ASB, 1st ACB. "They are a little heavy, but they actually work quiet well; we are very impressed with them."

Knowing nothing about the packs, the DART Soldiers went through training about the use of the pack and the chemicals contained within, said Vann.

"We came out to the training area and actually lit some stuff on fire with the assistance of the fire department, giving us a chance to use the packs," he said.

Spending 13 years in the Navy dealing with aircraft fires, Ron Bailey, the fire prevention officer for Fire Department 1, Camp Taji, has experience with fire suppression equipment and hazardous situations.

"This training gives the Soldiers a realistic view on the heat coming off of a fire that large," said Bailey. "When you are in a real situation, the adrenaline gets going and some people want to rush in, so it's good for these guys to feel what it's like being 10 feet from a large fire."

Although he has years of experience, Bailey regards the outcome of an accident the best measure of success.

"I have had Soldiers come back up here and say 'this system has saved lives,'" said Bailey

"For as small as this system is, it works wonders and will work very well for what these guys have to do," said Bailey.

The fire training was being conducted on a broken-down vehicle with numerous barrels surrounding it. The fire department filled the barrels with fuel and set it ablaze, allowing the Soldiers to deal with a large object on fire - simulating a burning aircraft.

"We got right up in there and felt the heat; it was very realistic. It was the best we could do without having an actual aircraft to use," said Vann. "The confidence in the equipment is what matters the most - the fact that we know the equipment works and we are not lugging around this thing for no reason."

"I was impressed how little of the chemical foam it took to put out a fuel fire - a couple of quick blasts and a barrel was put out," added Vann.

The DART Soldiers extinguished the blaze to gain experience in a skill they hope to never use during their deployment.

Page last updated Wed July 1st, 2009 at 12:40