By Sgt. Yvonne C. Vairma, 361st PAOCAugust 4, 2009
One team attacked the faceless enemy from the front door of the smoking building, while the other team mounted the roof to contain the threat from above. Although the teams were a combination of Army Reserve Soldiers and civilians, they had one thing in common - they were all firefighters, and the enemy they faced was the smoking fire filling the building.
For the duration of operation Golden Cargo 2009, the civilian-staffed Blue Grass Army Depot Fire Department is receiving assistance from firefighter Soldiers. A team of ten firefighters assembled from the 802nd Ordnance Company, Gainesville, Ga., and the 811th Ordnance Company, Fort Gillem, Ga., is training and working to supplement the civilian fire department. During a joint military-civilian training exercise held July 17, the Soldiers and civilians responded as a team to a simulated structure fire.
"Today we did search and rescue, ventilation, and basic fire-fighting drills," said Spc. Amber L. Ilstrup, a firefighter with the 811th Ordnance Company from Rainelle, W.Va. Ilstrup stated that as a Reservist, each opportunity to train and refresh skills is valuable.
"Being here a whole two weeks, we get to do what we're supposed to be doing," she said. "It brings back all the knowledge we're supposed to have."
"The drill went down very well, I thought, as a coordinated effort," said Capt. Wayne Adams of the Blue Grass Army Depot Fire Dept. He explained why working together with the firefighter Soldiers was a good experience, saying it allowed his firefighters to see how things can be done outside his department.
"It pulls new people in and let's us learn from them," Adams said. "It also let's our instructors get experience training them."
Prior to the exercise, the Army firefighters also had the opportunity to demonstrate the unique firefighting capabilities of their Tactical Fire-fighting Truck.
"If an airplane breaks and there's fuel on the runway, the ground sweeps will activate with either water or foam and push the debris away," explained Staff Sgt. Christopher W. McGhee, 811th Ordnance Company fire chief.