Marines turn up the heat at MCAF

Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting Marines rush into an simulated aircraft to put out a fire during a fire training evolution at the Marine Corps Air Facility aboard Quantico on Feb. 12. The Marines went in groups of three when attempting to put out the fire inside of the simulated aircraft. Photo by LCpl Antwaun Jefferson.

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, VA. (February 19, 2013) - Normally people back away from a fire that has engulfed an object the size of an aircraft. Yet, without hesitation, Marines who are part Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting at the Marine Corps Air Facility, rushed into a wall of fire to put out several fires during a training evolution on Feb. 12.

The ARFF's leadership tried to create a realistic aircraft fire emergency scenario with a Mobile Aircraft Fire Training Device.

"We want the Marines to get into the mindset that this is a real situation," said SSgt James Langille, section leader, ARFF. "We can only do so much with the simulation. This training does give them idea of how things could go in the event of a real fire and what it takes to alleviate the problem."

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Marines rotated between the front man position, who attacked the fire and the rescue man, who was the extra set of eyes that led the other two Marines into the aircraft. He would be able to help get people to safety in a real situation.

"I enjoy this type of training, because it makes an average day an awesome one," said Cpl Shawn Gore, apparatus operator, ARFF. "On top of receiving good information and improving our skills, it also breaks up the day-to-day monotony. The heat from the fire is intense and it's just really fun."

Using the fundamental skills acquired through training and exercises, the Marines open a path through a simulated fuel fire exercise. In a real-life situation, if they were to spray the simulated fuel improperly, trying to clear a pathway, it could lead to fuel splattering back onto the fire fighters or the people they are trying to save causing serious injuries to them.

"At times, this is job can be a double-edged sword because we can't wait to do our job," Langille said. "Unfortunately, when we do it, that means someone is having a really bad day. In the end, our mission is still to save lives and protect property and to us that is really rewarding and an honor. What more can we ask for?"

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