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Army Firefighter discussion

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  • Army Firefighter discussion

    Hey everyone, this is my first time posting. I'm an active duty Army firefighter working at Fort Wainwright Alaska. There isnt much comunication between us all over the country (or world),so this forum will be a good place for us to discuss topics like what our duty stations are like, deployment expierences, training, and and any other thoughts we can come up with. If anyone is enlisting or thinking about enlisting to become an Army firefighter feel free to ask questions. I know I had a lot of them before I came in.

  • #2
    Maybe the webteam will create a section called "Military Firefighting"

    Hey webteam read this.
    FF I
    FF II
    Hazmat Operations

    The light at the end of the tunnel has been temporarly shut off due to the current work load. The Mangement

    When all else fails USE DUCT-TAPE!!!

    My views posted in this fourm are my personal views only and do not reflect on any agencies that I am afiliated with.


    • #3

      Methinks you might want to discuss this concept with someone over at the Millitary Police. And see how DEEP the smelly stuff could become around your neck.
      Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
      Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.


      • #4
        There is a Federal Firehouse Forum on this site that occasionally has DoD stuff on it. Mostly see civilian DoD FFs and Air Force though.

        I've heard there are not many 21 Mikes around, and those there are don't see much fire duty-getting used as a working party. I'd be glad to hear differently.

        BTW, one of my Captains at my civilian FD used to be an Army Firefighter in Alaska about 20 years ago. I've heard lots of stories of burning tents in the frozen tundra.


        • #5
          I was just told that the 21M MOS is making a comeback (this came from an AGR Engineer 0-5). Heard anything like this firedawg? If so, screw retirement!


          • #6
            I was thinking about joining the Military as a Firefighter. I was originally thinking about the Airforce, but because there so overmanned i think it would be hard to get a guaranteed contract. Can you tell me anything about the Army Firefighters (training,certs etc.)i also heard that the army was getting rid of their firefighter MOS and getting DoD contracters, is this true? Also, do Army Firefighters striclty do firefighting? or are they given other jobs as needed by the army? If you know or if anyone else know's anything about Airforce or Army firefighting could you please compare the two. Thanks


            • #7
              bob - join the AIR FORCE. I put in 23 years as a 51M, and if I had it to do over, I would have went with the Air Force. As far as not getting a guarunteed job with the AF. Just be stubborn about it. If they want you, they'll get what you want. If you wind as an Army firefighter, there's no telling what you may wind up doing. You may get lucky and be at Ft Rucker or Alaska. You may also wind up with an ordinance unit and hump ammo. It is also up to your commander if you participate with the post fire department. The Marines have firefighters (mostly ARFF) and I cannot tell you much about them. Worked with a few in Iraq. Good bunch.

              Most firefighters in the Army are Reserves now. I'd like to see more active duty, but they need to fix the rank problem. As a reservist, we stuck to firefighting. The active duty guys I met over seas were NOT.

              As far as certs - all the same. It's DOD wide. The Army, however, doesn't really bother with them for the greensuit firefighters. The Air Force however, was very strict about it.

              **Also, don't forget about checking into the Reserve units - Army or Air Force


              • #8
                Hey everyone, thanks for the interest. To answer a few of your questions:
                gunnyv I looked around the federal forum but your right it looked like mostly civilian topics, so I thought it better to post here in the general forums. About # of 21M's (firefighter) there are only about 250 active duty in the Army so no there aren't many of us. Not sure about # of reservist though. As far as not seeing much ffing duty, that's one of the reasons I started this forum. I'm curious to see what other Army ff's are up to at their installations. All of us here up at Wainwright work at the Wainwright fire dept. so we get to have some fun, but really not sure about everyone else. What post was your captian stationed at. I'm curious if it was here, because we got some older fellas that may remember him. Never fought any tent fires. Just the standard structural and wildland stuff.
                Tiredoldman: I havent heard much about our MOS making a comeback but the army is in the middle of restructoring itself right now into a more mobile and deployable force, so I wouldnt be surprised if they added a ff unit to some of the new brigades with aircraft, if not all of them, but really, who knows? Also what did you mean they should fix the rank problem?
                bobbob21:I heard the same thing about the Air Force ffs. That you may or maynot get the job, I personally dont like those chances. But then again I hear its next to impossible to get a ff position in the Army so I guess it would come down to whoever has a job open. As far as the Army switching over to contract or civilian, well thats true to an extent. Mostly the fire depts. on the Army posts will be switching over to civilian and all of the military positions will be moved to deployable units that will be more tactical. So we will be going over to Iraq or Afgan or wherever and probably be doing mostly crash/rescue for the aircraft. But we will see. I'll let you know what happens as I hear more. As far as training and certs go I love it. We come out of the ff academy with FF2,Airport FF, and haz-mat ops2. Where I'm stationed at I'm able to work on pumper/aerial/ARFF/tender driver, Inspector,Instructor,Officer 1's, EMT, HAZ MAT Tech. But its mostly correspondence courses you do on your own, lots of help around though. Get lots of hands on training too. Lot of expiereance and knowledge around here, but not sure about everywhere else. As far as tiredold man says, hes right about some army guys getting stuck with units that dont do ffing. Crapy deal that has yet to be fixed. Not sure how common that is though. Maybe someone else has some info on it.


                • #9
                  Tiredoldman is giving good scoop. You're right about the Marines, ARFF is all we do stateside. Overseas we do it all-structure, vehicle extrication, hazmat-you name it. We do have firefighters in the Reserve, in California, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. Also some assorted cats and dogs in Michigan (me, for one) and Texas. All 3 reserve squadrons that contain firefighters have deployed since 9/11, 1 of them to Iraq.

                  As for as gaining fire experience/training in the armed forces. I'll say it once, emphatically-GO AIR FORCE!!! If you want to be a Marine, join the Marines for that, not firefighter training. I believe the Army will say the same. Too many competing responsibilities in the combat oriented land forces to spend the $ on firefighters-equipment or training. The military side training comes first.


                  • #10
                    The rank problem. Highest rank you'll ever se is E-6. MAYBE E-7 if your lucky. I know of 1 Master Sergeant at the schoolhouse. Know what an Air Force fire chief is???? Anywhere from an E-8 to an E-9.


                    • #11
                      Oh ya, that rank problem. I definently agree the problem needs to be fixed. Not much insentive for promotion beyond E7 unless you want to leave firefighting. Airforce seems to have it together in that aspect from what I've seen. I have heard the AF is pretty anal about the certs, but I guess thats a good thing. Seems in the Army that the opportunity is there to get whatever certs you want if you have the motivation. But your right, if you join the Army or the Marines, be prepared to be a soldier or marine first. Times have changed since 9-11 especially, and you may not be needed for firefighting but for any number of other details or assignments. So thats definently something to consider. If you want the whole military atmosphere then the army or marines is the way to go. If you want the buissness atmosphere where you'll probably never be asked to anything but ffing then the airforce may be the way to go. Either way you'll get the same basic certs. FF1,FF2,ARFF,HAZ-MAT OPS2.


                      • #12
                        I was active duty Army stationed at Ft. Drum, NY 10th Mountain Div.
                        The Army firefighters there do not do firefighting on the base. There are a couple who get to work with the cilvilians, but the rest just sit around or train when they aren't deployed, which is quite often. I got out of the Army and joined the Air Force national guard. The Air Force is truley a better deal. If you want to fight fire, go guard or reserve, get good traing and get a job with a city. Thats what I did. Saw more fires in the first year on the job than I did the entire enlistment in the Army. Lets face it, the military is strict about codes and can enforce them. I know some of the older bases might have a few more fires than Drum but not many. The guard or reserves get you good traing, send you to some ok places for a couple of weeks that you may never get to see and might even help you get a job with some of the contacts in the units.
                        In the Air Force guard or reserves, the lowest ranking position is E-5. So all you have to do is get your certs and time in grade/service and you will get promoted. No waiting for someone to retire. The Army guard or reserve is only E-4. Right away it is a better deal to go Air Force just because you can make more money.


                        • #13
                          Thanks to everyone who answered my questions,definitely more helpful than the military sites that i have been to. For those of you who have gotten out of the military (Air Force especially)is it hard to get a job once you seperate? I have heard its helpful because you have on job experience and certs but, i also heard that you dont do alot of structural firefighting which could count against you and alot of states dont except DoD certs . Does anyone know of states that do except them? or if its possible to transfer them? I was also looking into the Guard, but i there dont seem to be alot of firefighting jobs in michigan. Thanks again, and have a Happy Memorial Day


                          • #14
                            wow haven't been to firehouse in awhile since aIT it seems...

                            Anyways, i'm here over at Fort Lewis, as a 21M.... we were in iraq for a year, some firefighters here before iraq were in the station before i got there, and were pulled out to goto iraq... now we're back and i've been working here at the Fire Dept... Things are great, we have a MOU our unit an ordnance unit can't touch us only for PT tests, UAs and deploying... other than that we fall under the Fire Dept, the Civillian Fire Cheif who is an ex 51M gives us all the backing we need, we are on our own, never goto the company, and work out of the station as a normal firefighter/EMT with the civillians. My Civillian co-workers are great and treat me like one of the guys and we go on calls... our engine got called to backfill a civillian station out here due to a fire in the city outside of the base, so we ran alot of EMS calls in lakewood, was a pretty good shift and been good experience.... However they keep sending us more Firefighters from other basees, Ft Bragg, Ft Rucker all sending us their firefighters, unfortunately any new firefighters coming here don't get put in the station and are used for everything else, i'm one of 7 military firefighters in the dept. We have a total of 15 firefighters in the unit... so i'm pretty lucky.... anyways we are doing our jobs here at fort lewis, but unfortuantely anybody who transfers is not....


                            • #15
                              In Michigan there are Air Force Reserve (927th Wing)and Air National Guard (127th Wing)Fire detachments at Selfridge ANG Base near Mt Clemens. Both rate about 20-22 FFs, I'm not sure what their #s are right now though. We also have about 10 Marine Reserve FFs at Selfridge, but we can't take any new ones.

                              The Army Guard has 2 firefighting units up at Grayling, part of the 1440th and 1439th Engineers. Each with about 25 FFs.

                              As far as getting a job, almost every DoD firefighter I've met got trained as a military firefighter. It's harder to get on a civilian dept, especially if the state doesn't recognize IFSAC or NPQ certs (like Michigan). Look up or NPQ for their lists of states that accept them. There is a type of job that is easier to get with military experience-Airports-not many people with ARFF experience outside the military. However, most are more interested in a paramedic license than an ARFF cert now.


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