Joint Task Force-Bravo supports Honduran firefighting efforts
1 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk with the 1-228th Aviation Regiment prepares to take off with a Bambi Bucket March 31, 2016, Tela, Honduras, to respond to a request from Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez for support in extinguishing a forest fire... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Joint Task Force-Bravo supports Honduran firefighting efforts
2 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook uses a Bambi Bucket to drop water on a fire March 31, 2016, near Tela, Honduras, at the request of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez. The Chinooks were a part of aircraft from the 1-228th Aviation Regiment to support... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Joint Task Force-Bravo supports Honduran firefighting efforts
3 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk with the 1-228th Aviation Regiment takes off with a Bambi Bucket, March 31, 2016, Tela, Honduras, to respond to a request from Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez for support in extinguishing a forest fire near Tela... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Joint Task Force-Bravo supports Honduran firefighting efforts
4 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook uses a Bambi Bucket to drop water on a fire, March 31, 2016, near Tela, Honduras, at the request of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez. The Chinooks were a part of aircraft from the 1-228th Aviation Regiment to suppor... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Joint Task Force-Bravo supports Honduran firefighting efforts
5 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawk provide Bambi Bucket firefighting capabilities in support of a Honduran effort to extinguish a forest fire, March 31, 2016, near Tela Honduras, at the request of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Joint Task Force-Bravo supports Honduran firefighting efforts
6 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 1-228th Aviation Regiment connect a Bambi Bucket, used to fight fires, to a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook, March 31, 2016, Tela, Honduras, to respond to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez's request to help fight a ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Joint Task Force-Bravo supports Honduran firefighting efforts
7 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook uses a Bambi Bucket to drop water on a fire, April 1, 2016, near Tela, Honduras, at the request of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez. The Chinooks were a part of aircraft from the 1-228th Aviation Regiment to support... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Joint Task Force-Bravo supports Honduran firefighting efforts
8 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Joint Task Force-Bravo supports Honduran firefighting efforts
9 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Representatives from the Honduran Fire Department, Air Force and Army pose for a group photo with U.S. Servicemembers from Joint Task Force-Bravo after working together in firefighting mission near Tela, Honduras, April 02, 2016. The U.S. responded t... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras (April 5, 2016) -- A fire near the town of Tela, Honduras, March 30, warranted a large scale reaction from Honduran firefighting forces, to include the National Fire Department, Army and Air Force.

The initial response involved Honduran ground and air assets working together in the Jeanette Kawas National Park working to contain the fire, however, due to dry conditions, shifting winds, and the dense vegetation at the location of the fire. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez requested U.S. support to assist in the effort to prevent the fire from quickly spreading throughout the park and potentially threatening local communities.

Joint Task Force-Bravo is one of two task forces under U.S. Southern Command. Their air assets supplemented two Honduran UH-1N Huey helicopters, beginning March 31, with Bambi Buckets to carry water from the nearby lake, Laguna de Los Micos, to the fires and a hoist capability, in case a need to retrieve personnel on the ground arose.

During the operation, Honduran and U.S. command and control elements reviewed inputs from the ground forces and surveillance from air assets, to determine where the fire, which had split into three separate fires by March 31, needing the most attention.

"The team, consisting of Honduran and U.S. personnel and capabilities, conducted joint planning to continuously assess the situation and synchronize an effective, combined response to the fire - working as one to quickly gain control and extinguish the fires throughout the park," said Col. Rob Harman, JTF-B commander.

After the majority of the efforts wrapped up, March 31, only one fire still remained burning, though it was considered mostly under control by those on the ground.

"It's always a good feeling to use our training and resources when a real-world need arises," said Chief Warrant Officer Kyle Johnson, 1-228th Aviation Regiment CH-47 pilot. "It's not often we get to work side-by-side with our Honduran hosts in a situation like this, but this was an opportunity to work together on a common goal and everyone performed excellently."

Both teams suspended flight operations on the evening of March 31, due to potentially unsafe night flying conditions and crew-duty days, and would reassess the situation the following morning.

The next day, the team noticed that one of the fires, which was previously extinguished, had re-ignited, and they had to orient their efforts toward two fires, April 1.

"When the Hondurans sent their helicopter up to assess the fires, they discovered one of the fires they put out the day prior was ablaze again," said Lt. Col. Daniel Moore, 1-228th Aviation Regiment commander and officer in charge of U.S. response forces on the ground. "We quickly went to work on refueling aircraft and putting them in the fight against the two blazes."

After continued operations through April 2, a joint assessment by Honduran Col. Barrientos, Air Force Chief of Staff met with Moore and concluded the fire was contained to the point that U.S. support was no longer required.

"It's satisfying and rewarding to see that our efforts resulted in total mission success," said Johnson.

During the time frame of three days the 1-228th Aviation Regiment dropped over 390,000 gallons of water over the course of 55 hours flight time, earning thanks from President Hernandez, Ambassador Nealon and local community officials.

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