MARINE CORPS AIR STAION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Bulk fuel specialists with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 completed annually-required training, with help from Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting, at the burn pit near the harbor here Dec. 8.
“Once a year MWSS-171 bulk fuel specialist Marines come out and do this training to stay proficient in their job skills,” said Gunnery Sgt. Robert A. Rudolph, MWSS-171 ARF embarkation chief. “They pump fuel every day so if fuel catches fire they have to know how to put it out.”
This annual training is required for all Marines here who work with fuel.
“Working with fuel all day long, the Marines have to be ready to deal with whatever may happen,” said Rudolph.
All Marines who participate in the training, whether putting out fires or working around the burn pit, are required to wear proper safety gear.
“Safety is paramount,” said Staff Sgt. Nathan K. Lanham, MWSS-171 ARF section one leader. “You can never emphasize (safety) enough.”
The proximity gear that the Marines wear protects every part of their body and can prevent injuries if a wind change were to turn flames toward the Marines.
“We want the Marines to be confident when it comes to their job, to be able to deal with fires efficiently and effectively,” said Lanham. “This training is done to make sure the Marines are comfortable with the gear they use every day.”
Marines worked in pairs of two per water hose, switching off which Marine controlled the hose so both Marines gained experience spraying the flames and guiding the other Marine.
“We do this training to be the best at what we do every day,” said Lance Cpl. Frank Rodriguez, MWSS-171 bulk fuel specialist.
The heat from the flames could be felt on anything or anyone who approached the blaze too closely.
“We deal with fuel every day, so we need to know every aspect of our job,” said Rodriguez.
Marines with ARF perform this training at least once yearly to meet the safety requirements for their job.