The 90th Space Wing Fire Department and one of its members received Air Force-level awards at the Department of Defense Fire and Emergency Services Training Conference
F.E. WARREN AFB, Wyo. – Staff Sgt. Matthew Rowland, 90th Space Wing Fire Department crew chief, (left) assists local civic emergency responders in putting a mock accident victim on a gurney during an off-base exercise, May 18, in Cheyenne, Wyo. Sergeant Rowland contributed to the team effort that resulted in the 90th SW Fire Department’s many awards, including Air Force Fire Department of the Year. (Photo courtesy 90th Space Wing Public Affairs)
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F.E. WARREN AFB, Wyo. – The 90th Space Wing Fire Department and one of its members received Air Force-level awards at the Department of Defense Fire and Emergency Services Training Conference in Denver, Colo., Aug. 14.
The unit was named Fire Department of the Year, and Master Sgt. Joseph Walsh, 90th SW Fire Department training officer, was recognized as Military Fire Officer of the Year.
These awards are among several the department and Sergeant Walsh have received since 2004.
The 90th SW Fire Department earned the Chief Master Sgt. Ralph Sanborn Award for best fire department in the civil engineer community of the Air Force, plus 22 squadron-, 11 group-, 10 wing- and three major command-level awards. It also captured runner-up honors for two DoD-level awards.
In addition to being honored as Military Fire Officer of the Year, Sergeant Walsh placed as DoD runner up in the same category.
The sergeant credits these awards to the flight’s hard work, excellent leadership, community outreach and the department’s quick, successful response to several headline-grabbing incidents. Training and preparedness make the team able to respond to minor incidents, such as a child’s scraped knee, or major incidents like the 33-car pile-up in Interstate 80. That accident claimed seven lives and injured more than 40 others.
“Unfortunately, a lot of the recognition in emergency services stems from the misfortune of others,” said Sergeant Walsh, “but we’re trained and ready to respond when needed, and that happened several times during the past year.”
For Warren’s firefighters, awards are a byproduct of a job well done.
“[The fire department] performs at such a high level, they easily rose to the top, and that’s why they were selected [for recognition],” said Sergeant Walsh.
John McDougall, Warren Fire Department chief, attributes a portion of his flight’s success to responders in the local area, with whom the department has a mutual-aid agreement.
“No fire department is capable of handling large-scale incidents on its own,” said Chief McDougall. “[Our civic emergency responders] deserve a great deal of credit.”
Sergeant Walsh agreed the awards came as a result of teamwork.
“Everybody is deserving,” said Sergeant Walsh. “What brought their accomplishments to the forefront was their dedication to duty and their ability to act as a team on the fire ground. It’s just part of [the] job.”