Friday, June 3, 2011


Fighting fire in Iraq's 'DMZ'

Written by Tech. Sgt. Randy Redman, 321st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Thursday, June 02, 2011

BAGHDAD - For firefighters, preparation is one of the most crucial elements of success. It leads to the ability to step in confidently when lives are on the line. Now firefighters at Baghdad International Airport are one step closer to realistic training.

Multiple firefighting agencies working at and around BIAP came together for the first exercise using the new aircraft simulator here May 18. Firefighters with Iraq Training and Advisory Mission-Air, KBR Engineering and Construction, Sallyport Co., Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority, Baghdad International Airport and Readiness Management Support were on hand to evaluate the effectiveness of the new simulator, which is located in an out-of-the-way portion of the Victory Base Complex. Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Lysher, 447th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Emergency Services chief, has been working on this project since he deployed in January. Chief "Smokey," as he's known around here, said the location was chosen so all of the firefighters would have easy access to a neutral area for training.

"It's kind of like the demilitarized zone in Korea... That's why we chose the location we did. It gives everyone the opportunity to use it because it's right in the middle," said Chief Lysher, deployed from the Minnesota Air National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing.

Rafie Sahi, BIAP Fire Department deputy fire chief, has been in the fire fighting business in Iraq for nearly 40 years and is excited about the possibility of using the new simulator. He expressed his concerns about different techniques used by Americans, but said the firefighters who participated in this exercise were impressive.

"They should have brought the trucks much closer to the aircraft. This way they do not have to use as much hose," said Mr. Rafie. Nonetheless, he added that capitalizing on these differences and training together will benefit all of the organizations involved....

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