DVIDS – News – Arctic Guardian voted Best Air National Guard Military Firefighter

The National Guard Bureau has recognized a firefighter from the 176th Civil Engineer Squadron as the National Guard’s 2021 Military Firefighter of the Year.

Staff Sgt. Tyler Larimer, 176th CES training chief, said Alaska Air National Guard Master Sgt. Brenden Turney, 176th CES firefighter and station captain, won the award because he embodies the image of an all-around firefighter.

“The things that go into the award reflect our career field very well,” Larimer said. “Our work includes many aspects, including operations, administration, training and preparation. All of these things must be linked for us to be successful as a ministry. The reason we put Turney for this award is because he truly shows exemplary performance in all four categories.

Turney, from Anchorage, said he won the award as a traditional part-time guard working as a trained firefighter to respond to everything from a kitchen fire to a plane crash.

“In military firefighting, we do everything,” he said. “We go through Fire Fighter I and II [instruction]which includes the fundamentals of structural firefighting and firefighting in general, and then we get our ARFF certification, which stands for Airport Fire Rescue, which applies specifically to firefighting techniques for cells.

Turney said airfield firefighting is especially exciting and challenging because of the unique nature of tactical aircraft.

“You face extreme dangers,” he said. “There is fuel involved. There is ammunition involved. You are working to protect people who are in grave danger – danger that can develop very quickly. There are no easy answers on how to perform a rescue here.

Another aspect that makes Turney an all-around firefighter, Larimer said, is his extensive experience working with other Alaskan civilian departments as well as overseas military departments.

“Each department has its own culture,” he said. “Each location has their own unique responses, their own unique dangers, and they have unique tools to respond to what they have in their jurisdiction. I’m experimenting with different versions of this work, which allows me to have a bigger set of tools and to be able to teach more, do more, and have different options to respond to a real emergency.
Larimer said Turney also got high marks for his leadership, a notion echoed by the young non-commissioned officer.

“My job, especially as a new supervisor and non-commissioned officer, is to lead my crew and meet their needs,” he said. “My job is to be an expert in the field and find every possible way to apply what I’ve learned to support the mission.”

As well-received as the award was, Turney said the ultimate prize is at the end of his quest for a job as a full-time firefighter. Although curiosity about military service brought him to the Air National Guard, his ultimate goal is to join a fire department.

“I wanted to serve,” Turney said. “I’m very curious about experiences, and the only way to satisfy those curiosities is to experience them.”

He said his goal really came into fruition after he graduated as an emergency medical technician from a local university.

“From there it was about figuring out how to put that skill to good use,” he said. “I looked into local volunteer opportunities. I applied to the local fire department. It didn’t all work out right away, but I really wanted to keep going.

Fortunately, a friend told Turney he could get the training and experience he was looking for in the National Guard.

“It’s unique in that you’re fully supported as you continue training,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about anything else; you are 100 percent focused.

Larimer said that since Turney joined the 176th CES, he’s gone after every available deployment and temporary duty assignment, including a six-month stint with the JBER Fire Department. Additionally, Turney volunteers with the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, which performs high-angle rescues throughout the Alaskan backcountry.

Turney said that while he wasn’t looking for recognition, he was thrilled to be named the top military firefighter.

“I don’t intentionally look for awards like this, but I see it as a gauge that I’m doing a good job, because everyone wants to feel like they’re doing a good job,” he said. .

Date taken: 13.07.2022
Date posted: 13.07.2022 19:14
Story ID: 424936
Location: JBER, AK, USA

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