624 CES firefighters train with Marines to support total force structure

  • Published
  • By Kelly Owens
  • 624 Regional Support Group

Last month, Senior Airman Josiah Williams, a firefighter with the 624 Civil Engineer Squadron (CES), joined active duty Marines in a vehicle extrication training exercise at Marine Corps Air Station in Kaneohe Bay.

He, along with approximately 20 firefighters from the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting and Federal Fire Department Hawaii, participated in the training, which provided instruction and hands-on learning on the techniques and tools used to hone skills and know-how while simultaneously improving the ability to work cooperatively.

This cooperative spirit isn’t only an act of good will; it’s also vital to ensure a seamless joint forces structure.

“In the future fight, joint forces, especially emergency response entities, must be able to promptly perform operations from numerous locations with combined capabilities and interoperability,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Justin E. Barnes, aircraft rescue and firefighting officer-in-charge at Marine Corps Air Station. “Joint force operations are increasingly interconnected, interdependent and challenging. Training together, in a joint forum, allows inter-service agencies to conduct emergency operations at a speed, scope, complexity, and scale throughout all phases of continuum events.”

“Our relationship with the Marines on K-bay is incredibly valuable for our Reserve Citizen Airmen and the future of our Fire Flight,” said Senior Master Sgt. Daniel Palacios, deputy fire chief, 624 CES. “Senior Airman Williams is one of the first 624th CES firefighters of many who will have the opportunity to train with the Marine Firefighters at K-Bay.”

Senior Master Sgt. Palacios and Senior Master Sgt. Kaweo Andreas-Feeney, 624 CES fire chief, working with Chief Warrant Officer 3 Barnes, Gunnery Sgt. Gabe Rojo, spearheaded the joint forces training efforts, which kicked off in April 2022. This new partnership has only begun to scratch the surface of the joint training and real world benefits that can be achieved from collaboration and diversity of participants.

“Each service member brings unique individual experiences and talents to a Joint training event like this,” said Barnes. “These individual proficiencies are then shared and practiced in a group forum creating resourceful thought and generating aptitudes that cannot be understood without melting-pot-like experiences. Each participant gained valuable knowledge of vehicle extrication, and because it was a joint function, the individual knowledge that was gained generally is not taught in a manual.”

It’s likely a relationship that will continue to build and grow to strengthen all participants involved.

“Working shoulder-to-shoulder with our active duty counterparts is vital training and experience for our Reserve Citizen Airmen,” said Lt. Col. Rudolph Bartley, commander of the 624 CES. “Because we get called to supplement and support active duty around the globe, we need to be postured to respond – and be an effective teammate when called upon to do so. We are grateful for these partnerships and exercises that better prepare everyone to answer our nation’s call.”