FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Jan. 28, 2022) -- Fire Capt. Jeffrey Hambsch, a training captain with the Fort Drum Fire and Emergency Services, has been recognized as U.S. Army Installation Management Command’s top fire service instructor.
“We are very proud that Capt. Hambsch won the IMCOM Fire Service Instructor of the Year award,” said Fort Drum Fire Chief Jason Brunet. “He is the type of guy we could nominate every year.”
Brunet said that Hambsch brings all of the right experience and knowledge to the department as a fire service instructor.
“With Jeff, he has it all,” Brunet said. “He is well-rounded and has the passion to train firefighters. We have several young firefighters, and to teach them the ins and outs of our profession takes a really special person who commits themselves to the mission.”
Hambsch has served at Fort Drum for 10 years, and he has been in his current position for the past 10 months.
“I started out in the volunteer fire service on Long Island, and I liked the camaraderie and the ability to help others in need,” Hambsch said. “Then after retiring from the New York Air National Guard and (having) served our country, I thought it would be an honor protecting those who are currently serving now.”
Brunet said that Hambsch has enhanced department mission readiness, while repeatedly being selected for challenging and complex assignments due to an established history of superior results.
Among his accomplishments, Hambsch has developed a program that provides comprehensive, realistic scenario-driven training to facilitate trench rescue and structural collapse training to technician level. The training includes the breaching, breaking and stabilization of concrete.
He created awareness and response curriculum about the dangers of hydrogen cyanide poisoning on the fire ground, which he used to train Fort Drum personnel and other mutual aid agencies. Hambsch also coordinated mutual aid training on ice rescue and aircraft rescue firefighting.
“Currently in our fire department, we have many new firefighters,” Hambsch said. “I wanted to introduce them into another discipline of the fire service and spark some interest to show them that what we do is not just about putting out fires.”
Along with mentoring newly assigned firefighters and providing leadership through the initial hire process, Hambsch assisted 17 personnel with becoming certified Type II Wildland firefighters.
Hambsch served a pivotal role as an observer-controller during the annual Fort Drum full-scale mass casualty exercise, which incorporated the interoperability of more than 120 agencies across the tri-county area.
Last year, Hambsch won Directorate of Emergency Services Employee of the Month in May and Fort Drum Civilian of the Quarter (3rd Quarter). He also received the State University of New York Outstanding Part-Time Faculty Member of the Year Award for his work developing the Fire Protection Technology Program and curriculum.
When the list of IMCOM awardees was announced, Hambsch said that he was congratulated by the garrison command team. This came as a surprise to him because he wasn’t even aware he had been nominated.
“My initial thoughts were, ‘I can’t believe I won,’” he said. “I just do my job at the best of my ability.”
Hambsch, and 11 other honorees in their respective categories, will represent IMCOM at the Army Materiel Command, Department of the Army and Department of Defense levels later this year.
“It is a great honor to be recognized by higher command and a great honor to represent Fort Drum moving forward,” he said.