MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, ROMANIA (January 20, 2023) - The fire departments at Army Support Activity-Black Sea (ASA-Black Sea) stationed on Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) Air Base in Romania and Novo Selo Training Area (NSTA) in Bulgaria were recently awarded the Installation Management Command Europe (IMCOM-E) "Fire Department of the Year" award in the small category as well as the “Military Fire Officer of the Year” for their hard work and dedication among garrisons in Europe.
The fire department at ASA-Black Sea is responsible for providing fire protection and emergency services to the base and its surrounding areas, along with inspections throughout the installation to ensure fire prevention.
Given the unique situation of the garrison having two installations in two different countries, as well as a recent increase in population at both installations, the fire department has had to increase its efforts in fire prevention and fire protection for not only the garrison but its tenant units as well.
The efforts displayed by the fire department with the increased demands over the last year were only one of the many reasons they were selected for the awards.
Leaders of IMCOM and IMCOM-E Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) took the opportunity during a visit to ASA-Black Sea to recognize the Soldiers from the fire station.
“Fire Department of the year in the small category is no small accomplishment, you are all doing wonderful things, and everyone sees it from the upper echelons down. So, thank you for what you do every day.” Said Col. Jonathan Doyle, Provost Marshal/Protection Director IMCOM.
The department is staffed by highly trained and experienced firefighters who are equipped to handle a wide range of emergencies, including structure fires, vehicle fires, hazardous materials incidents, and more.
“My team didn’t know they were up for an award; they work hard every day, and they do what they do because they love it. Knowing they worked as hard as they did not for an award but because they are passionate about their work says a lot about them,” said Cpt. Mark Gardner, Commander ASA-Black Sea Fire Department.
In addition to the department's award, one of its soldiers was also recognized for his outstanding work.
Staff Sgt. Michael Wells won the "Fire Inspector of the Year" award. This award is given to individuals who demonstrate exceptional skill and performance in the field of fire inspection.
“We are a 500 million dollar plus account every year to manage; we are 325 fire stations, 937 fire trucks, and over 87,000 responses a year. When you think of the vastness of the program, the amount of responses, and what we touch on every continent of the world, it puts into perspective the accomplishment of Staff Sgt. Wells and his contribution to the overall mission.” Said Scott Delay, Senior Fire Chief IMCOM.
The award recognizes Wells' outstanding achievements in the European theater as a first-time fire inspector.
“When we first deployed here, we found out there was no real fire prevention person in place, so I assumed that role having never done it before. As firefighters, we are there for fire protection and fire suppression, but something we do that is always overlooked is how we educate people in fire prevention so that we can mitigate risk,” said Wells. “It feels awesome; it’s pretty intense, Cpt. Gardner put us in for these awards, and it means a lot that he thought I was doing a good enough job to compete for it; it feels great to be recognized for this.”
The award and the recognition of one of its members is a testament to the dedication and excellence of the fire department at ASA-Black Sea.
It is a recognition of the hard work and commitment of the firefighters and staff who work tirelessly to keep the base and its community safe.
The ASA-Black Sea community is fortunate to have such a dedicated and professional fire department at both MK Air Base and NSTA.