By IMCOM Public AffairsAugust 18, 2008
ALEXANDRIA, Va. Aca,!" Installation Management Command Fire and Emergency Services won two awards at the annual Department of Defense Fire and Emergency Services Conference Aug. 15 in Denver, Colo.
The DoD Civilian Fire Officer of the Year award went to Gerald William Schiedewitz, assistant chief of Fort Knox, Ky., Fire and Emergency Services, who was described by peers as "the best and most committed professional." He led his department to receive a 98 percent Operational Readiness Inspection score, the best E-911 dispatch system in the Installation Management Command, Southeast Region, and the acquiescing of a first responder training complex.
The DoD Heroism Award went to eight officers and firefighters from Fort Carson, Colo. Fire and Emergency Services who responded to a 40,000 square foot concrete operation facility that had collapsed while under construction July 9, 2007. Two workers were trapped in the debris and a third was teetering from a pillar when the rescuers went in to extricate them and provide Advanced Life Support. Two of the workers are alive today thanks to the efforts of the crews of Engine 31 and Truck 32: Captain Kenneth Rhault, Captain Steven Polizzi, Firefighter Patrick Tepley, Firefighter William McLaughlin, Firefighter Benjamin Robinett, Firefighter David Ulman, Firefighter Kevin Cain and Firefighter Nikalous Hasenauer.
Awards were presented to recognize outstanding accomplishments of fire departments, firefighters and heroes.
The Army nominated fire and emergency service personnel and units in the following eight categories for the Department of Defense competition for calendar year 2007:
Fire Department of the Year (large): U.S. Army Garrison Japan.
With the largest response coverage in the Army, the fire department protects thousands of Department of Defense personnel, 5,400 buildings and $40 billion in assets at 16 installations across 1,050 square miles. USAG Japan responded to more than 1,000 emergency calls in 2007.
Fire Department of the Year (small): Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii.
Located on the big island of Hawaii, they protect more than 140,000 acres in support of Army, Air Force and Marine live weapons fire training. PTA provides structural, wildland and aircraft firefighting, rescue and ambulance service with 22 firefighters, two structural engines, one tanker and two brush trucks
Fire Prevention Program of the Year: Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
Located at the Army's most renowned proving grounds, they provide fire prevention services to 25,000 Soldiers, Family members and civilian personnel. In 2007 APG provided 2,500 fire inspections, fire extinguisher training for more than 2,000 federal employees, 341 fire drills for 10,563 employees, issued 1,386 flame permits, and provided special inspections to 32 different agencies.
Military Firefighter of the Year: SPC Scott Radtke, Fort Carson
Radke was deployed for 15 months to Camp Anaconda, Balad AB, Iraq, as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was a member of a Rescue Air Mobilization Squad and played a critical role in the search and recovery of 33 victims. In his career he has responded to more than 300 incidents; including fires, aircraft crashes and rescues.
Civilian Firefighter of the Year: Firefighter William J. "Jeremy" Magers, Fort Meade, Md.
Magers was the 2007 Garrison Employee of the Year, received the Army Communities of Excellence award, and helped Fort Meade receive the Life Safety Achievement Award. He had a major role in the department achieving 96 percent in their Operational Readiness Inspection, and a 75 percent completion rate for Fort Meade's Fire Service Accreditation.
Military Fire Officer of the Year: Staff Sgt. Lucius Kirkland, Fort Rucker, Ala.
As the senior noncommissioned officer for Alpha Company, he is responsible for the development and welfare of 46 firefighters in six different stations; he is the safety officer for the Fort Rucker Hazardous Materials response team; and is the Operations Sergeant for the U.S. Army Aviation Warfighting Center Flight School, managing the crash rescue services for the school.
Civilian Fire Officer of the Year Winner: Assistant Chief Gerald W. Schiedewitz, Fort Knox.
Firefighter Heroism Award Winner: Engine 31/ Truck 32, A-platoon Fort Carson Fire and Emergency Services.
The DoD Fire and Emergency Services Awards program was established by Department of Defense Instruction 6055.6, DoD Fire and Emergency Services Program. The Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environment, Safety and Occupational Health) administers the awards program on behalf of the Secretary of Defense.