PŌHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — U.S. Army Garrison Pōhakuloa Training Area recognizes and celebrates the work of Fire Inspector Lothian “Chuck" Brown. Brown, who has been a firefighter for 33 years, is a Marine Corps veteran and has worked at PTA for over 10 years.
Brown said he knew his career path at the young age of eight growing up in New York City. “I’d see the fire engines go by and wonder where’s the fire, what do they do,” said Brown. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after his high school graduation and learned how to be a firefighter, specializing in aircraft firefighting and rescue operations.
He fell in love with the Hawaiian Islands while stationed at Kaneohe Bay, Oahu in 1993. “I didn’t really get to appreciate the islands while I was in the Marines because of the many training missions and deployments,” said Brown.
The Marine Corps took him to Tennessee, Virginia, Japan, and many other places. But he always came back to Hawai’i for vacations and has visited most of the islands. “I fell in love with the lush landscapes, wide bike lanes and all that the Big Island offers,” said Brown.
Brown previously worked as an Air Force civilian firefighter and a contract firefighter for the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Kwajalein Atoll before arriving at PTA in 2012.
Brown has a wide range of training and experience in his long career but says he likes responding to structural fires the best. “That’s your chance to save peoples’ homes and businesses,” he said. “The appreciation you get from people are very gratifying.”
The highlight of his career was serving at Fort Wainwright in Alaska. “Learning to fight fires in waist-deep snow, ice rescue training and the comradery was a great experience,” said Brown. He responded to 15 structural fires during his year-long assignment from 2011 to 2012.
Working in Hawai’i is a sharp contrast to Alaska. “It’s like a desert here and with lots of wildland fires,” said Brown. In remote areas, such as PTA, first responders from military installations are often called upon as to support the local communities. Brown and the PTA Fire Department respond to wildland fires and vehicle incidents on Daniel K. Inouye Highway, or DKI, routinely.
“We are the closest first responders to Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and communities along the DKI,” said Brown. “So, we are able to provide quick and urgent care to help stabilize patients until we transfer them to the County for transport to the hospital.”
As the PTA fire inspector, Brown inspects all buildings, fire extinguishers and pipes — among other equipment — for safety issues. He ensures issues are addressed and pass inspections. While on the job, he enjoys being able to interact with people and contributing to the safety of those working and training at PTA.
“Public service and protecting the community is a rewarding career field,” said Brown. “It’s a physical job, and you get to utilize all the skills and training provided. You’ll also make life-long friendships with co-workers to do whatever is needed for the community’s safety.”
The Army builds its diverse and inclusive force from communities around the country, drawing the widest set of backgrounds, talents and skills. The Army offers a wide range of career opportunities. To learn more about careers in the Army, visit GoArmy.com.