By Sgt. 1st Class Andrew PorchSeptember 10, 2015
KALISPEL INDIAN RESERVATION, Wash. - After conducting training over the last week in preparation to help suppress wildfires affecting Northeastern Washington, Soldiers of Task Force First Round, out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, are out on the line, and for one team, they know their relationship is just as important as the mission in front of them.
Chris Scott, a military crew adviser tasked to provide oversight of Soldiers assigned to Task Force First Round and 2nd Lt. Julian Crockett, crew team six leader, have only worked together for a few days but are already learning about each other and increasing the overall potential for success on the finelines.
"My counterpart, Chris Scott, we have been working together," said Crockett, a native of Tampa, Florida. "He is the subject matter expert and he advises me and my (sergeants) in making sure that whatever we are doing, we are doing it safely and we are not putting our Soldiers in danger."
For Scott, a native of Kernville, California, it is all about taking it one day at a time and continually building a relationship that could possibly take years to forge with other firefighters.
"We started off the first couple days working with the (Soldiers), and doing the training," said Scott. "To help ensure things were going well, at the end of the day we would come back together and talk about 'how are things working out between me and you.'"
Scott, with a smile on his face said exactly how lucky he thought Crockett was to have him on his team, "He couldn't ask for better."
As for Crockett, he looks for the similarities between him and Scott to build on the relationship.
"We get along pretty well," said Crockett. "I would say we are both kind of quiet and kind of reserved, but when we get around our guys; we get out there and we are able to lead and communicate effectively.
Scott echoed Crockett's outlook but built upon it.
"We are both reserved but we both know how it use our chain of commands," said Scott. "Our own personalities may be reserved but with that, we can use the sergeants as needed to relay information and use the chain of command better that way rather than being a micromanager."
Finding similarities between each other is not the only way to continue bring successful.
"A main way that we have been able to be productive is finding commonalities between the two organizations," said Crockett. "There is a lot of overlap between their organization, their reports, their (procedures), so we try to find those commonalities and use them to our to our advantage."
For them to be considered successful, they are required to go out daily and support the effort to suppress the fires burning in Colville National Forest and specifically, provide basic support to the firefighters who have been going at the fires for months.
"They're spread out pretty thin even with us out here," said Crockett. "To free them up for the more expert level stuff, it really helps them out and they are able to be more direct and more aggressive with the fire. We are able be out here and do stuff that takes up more time but it is necessary."
While Crockett thinks it is important to make sure the firefighters are free to go directly up against the flames, Scott knows all too well what the Soldiers are doing is just as important, if not more.
"There are different types of work to do to suppress a fire," said Scott. "All the way back to the support we have back at the fire camp to the mop up crews up here. Really, mop up is 90 percent of what goes on here to secure the fireline and keeps (fire) from picking back up, spouting across and continuing to be a problem. We are just doing one of the jobs required to be done out here. Its not that we are doing a remedial job so it frees up someone to do something more important. This is equally as important as anything else going on out here."
As the two continue to work together, Crockett knows exactly what he wants to stay with him after working with Scott.
"Three things I want to take away from him are his presence, he has a very strong sort of presence, hopefully to learn a little bit about how he built up his leadership and just a knowledge base," said Crockett.
To add to that, there is one thing that Crockett knows will make him successful in life.
"He has got a great mustache, he said. "If I could figure out his tips to growing a mustache like that, I think I would benefit from the experience."