FORT MCCOY, Wis. - Citizen Soldiers and firefighters from the 683rd Engineer Detachment rehearsed life-saving techniques at Combat Support Training Exercise 86-19-04 this August at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

At Sparta/Fort McCoy Airport, a Pascagoula, Mississippi-based detachment conducted firefighting and operation drills. They started by receiving an emergency call, followed by rehearsing search and rescue, property-saving measures and fire suppression.

"It can wind you," said Spc. Mikail Greene, from Mobile, Alabama. "But it won't beat you up if you just got your heart into it."

On Sunday, the detachment trained with flight medics with G Company, 7-158 General Support Aviation Battalion. The firefighters learned shutdown procedures on the UH-60 Black Hawk, especially with throttles, bottles and batteries, and extraction procedures for members of the flight crew.

As U.S. Army Reserve firefighters, accidents involving the UH-60 Black Hawk are one of the most common types of accidents that the 683rd could respond to.

"That would be the task of the firefighter," said Sgt. Hollingsworth.

The training the firefighters received with the flight medics increased their level of readiness.

"We're all prepared at anytime," said Sgt. Crew Chief Roger Hollingsworth. "This greatly enhances our level of preparation to respond to any kind of incident ... or a crash involving these aircraft."

The Army has less than 200 active duty firefighters. The vast majority of the Army's life and property-saving forces are found in the Army Reserve and National Guard.

"We cannot win a fight without our Reserves," said Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Catlett, the 683rd's senior observer/controller. "So we're here today trying to train up our Reserve brethren ... so they're ready to go when that call to serve their nation is sent."

The closeness of the brothers-in-arms became apparent after spending nearly three weeks at Fort McCoy.

"That's your second family," said Spc. Michael Andrews, who is also a civilian firefighter. "You become that close, you spend so much time with those people that they do become your family."


And some Soldiers have relished their time at CSTX.

"I thoroughly enjoy it, every time we come out here," Greene said. "Fort McCoy might not have the best weather, but they have the best training."