Nellis' first-ever fire muster

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jacob R. McCarthy
  • Nellis AFB Public Affairs
Strength. Grit. Endurance. An unwavering determination to bravely run into burning buildings when everyone else is running out. Not everyone possesses what it takes to be a firefighter day in and day out; but it won't stop Nellis Airmen from trying.

As a conclusion to Fire Prevention Week, the Nellis Fire Department hosted their first-ever Fire Muster at the Nellis Sports Pavilion, Oct. 12, pitting more than 70 competitors in 11 teams against each other in a no-holds-barred showdown to see who had what it takes to keep up with the best in the business.

Teams from the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center/Judge Advocate Office, 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 99th Contracting Squadron, 99th Mission Support Squadron, 763rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and 57th Equipment Maintenance Squadron faced-off in events that would test not only their strength, but their endurance as well. A confidence course, a bucket brigade, a hose relay and a fire hose tug-o-war would determine who would come out on top.

In a narrow one-point margin, the Judge Advocate Office's Legal Team II ousted the 99th LRS Fuels Team 33 - 32 in the four competitions, carrying away the traveling "Playpipe" trophy and bragging rights for the year.

"The Fire Muster was a blast! I believe all the participants and spectators really enjoyed the event," said Airman 1st Class Sammy Harris, a military justice paralegal with the USAFWC/JA. "Hopefully, this tradition is continued for many years to come."

In addition to the team receiving the coveted "Playpipe" trophy, each team member received a gift pack and a personalized plaque commemorating their winning performance.

Airman Harris proved to be a vital asset in Legal Team II taking home the title, said Tech. Sgt. Nancy Windham, military justice noncommissioned officer in charge at the USAFWC/JA.

"I led Legal II through the tug-o-war event, which sealed the win," Airman Harris said. Fighting the intense water pressure throughout the entire event in the lead position was the most challenging part, he added.

Airman Harris never once wavered from aiming the hose despite the 100 PSI water constantly hitting him in the face, said Ramon Fitzgerald, assistant hazardous material and safety fire chief at the Nellis Fire Department.

But the competition was about more than prizes and bragging rights. The event was used to illustrate firefighter skills sets to those less aware.

The purpose of the muster was to give Airmen an opportunity to see the physically demanding things firefighters have to do on a daily basis in emergency situations, said Mr. Fitzgerald.

Fire department officials hope to make the Fire Muster an annual event to foster an educational relationship with the rest of the Nellis community.

"We're hoping it grows to where we get more participation from the base as a whole. Hopefully next year, we can get more teams to participate," Mr. Fitzgerald said.

This year's event provided not only a beneficial lesson for those participating, but gave future fire muster organizers a great learning opportunity as well.

No matter what job participants of this year's fire muster perform on a daily basis, Airman from all walks of Nellis left with a hands-on understanding of what it takes to be a firefighter.