1. #1
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    Question Miltary Firefighting

    First off... I know, I know... bad junior, I didn't post in the junior section. Forgive me, but I had a premonition that I wouldn't find the right answers or the right target audience there.

    Here's the question: Somewhere in my future plans, military service has come up. I'm looking at either the Air or Army National Guard or some other form of service with which I can serve my country, carry on family tradition, and get a little money for education. I would like to know exactly what it takes to be a firefighter in the military, what kind of scores they're looking for on the ASVAB, and any other random information I cen get from people who have "been there, done that, got the t-shirt".

    I've talked to recruiters, but after a while, they all start sounding alike and I can't get any real information out of them besides "look at all the benifits, ain't it great, sign on the dotted line". The website info hasn't helped much either, I just want the cold, hard facts about the reality of becoming a firefighter in one of the branches of the military.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Lightbulb Try the search feature

    This has been discussed here many times before... Enter "Military Firefighting" in the search feature and then come back if you haven't gotten your questions answered...
    Fire service survival tips:
    1) Cook at 350...
    2) Pump at 150...
    3) When in doubt, isolate and deny entry...
    4) When in trouble, claim lack of adult supervision.

  3. #3
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    i have the manual for the Army Firefighting...it seems more difficult then any other form of firefighting

    you have to know aircrafts the equipment how to turn it off structural firefighting and a little wildland firefighting

    pretty much i wouldnt listen to a recruiter i never listened to them i find out information on my own

    another hint dont go to their websites for the info they only put enough info there to get you to talk to a recruiter then they dont tell you all the facts search for the info you need elsewhere on the web its there you just have to look
    FireSarge
    Joseph Sullivan
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    "Any man willing to die in my place is my brother. Any man willing to turn and run is my enemy. Which will you be?"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Try the search feature

    Originally posted by Firebraun
    This has been discussed here many times before... Enter "Military Firefighting" in the search feature and then come back if you haven't gotten your questions answered...
    Believe me, I don't put my head on the proverbial chopping block of the firefighting forums without first excersizing all of my options. I tried the search feature, didn't find my answer; I tried the recruiters, who all seem to be trained to lie through their teeth; and I tried searching the internet. I have yet to find anyone who can tell me anything consequential to getting my questions answered. I came here asking for those among you who have "been there, done that" with military firefighting. If you have, please step forward; if not, you can just as well not waste your time in replying to a post that obviously doesn't fit in with your area of expertise.

    Firesarge: can you tell me what the manual ID is? ie: Army Manual ##-##. I might be able to track one down, thanks for the info.

  5. #5
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    Since I currently work for the US Army fire service, I should toss my input in on your questions, SARfreak. Most of the military services have firefighters, but the most well developed active duty fire service is with the US Air Force. The other services pretty much use civilian civil service firefighters. There are a few places in the Army and US Coast Guard with active duty firefighters, but becoming one with them would be a gamble. The best bet would be the Air Force. A word of warning, the Navy does have active duty firefighters, but they are strictly for flight deck ops on carriers. They don't recieve the same certified training as the rest of the DoD Fire Services. This can put them at a disavantage getting a fire job after completion of their active duty time.
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  6. #6
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    Talking Unruffle those feathers...

    Sorry to have gotten you all riled up SAR... This has been talked about enough here in the last year or so I thought for sure you hadn't searched...

    Having been a USMC firefighter for 6 years prior to becoming a civilian firefighter, I have been there, done that. And I guess I'll waste my time further by actually giving you some of the info you seek.

    Being a FF in the Air Force is probably the closest you'll find to being a civilian firefighter. They have a fair number of active duty firefighters working alongside the civilian firefighters at tons of bases. They also will get you a lot of certifications that will look good on a resume if/when you decide to get out.

    My "alma mater," The Marine Corps, has a fair number of active duty firefighters, but they all specialize in ARFF. If you want to get any structural experience and/or certifications, you'll probably have to seek them out on your own. Plus, they have a lot of side duties that will take you away from the firehouse for weeks/months at a time. I don't regret my USMC hitch. A lot of what I got from it isn't related to firefighting, and some of it isn't really tangible, but the stuff the recruiters will say about "becoming a man" and "learning discipline" is pretty much true.

    I don't know a whole lot about the Army, but I think they have a few active firefighters working alongside civilians a-la Air Force, but I'd imagine you need a good bit of luck to become one.

    The navy will tell you that "Everyone in the Navy is a firefighter." True, and false. Everyone in the Navy is trained in shipboard firefighting and damage control, but the only ones in the Navy who do it as a full-time job are the Avation Bosun's Mates (ABH) on aircraft carriers. Everyone else does something else (peeling potatos or scraping paint come to mind) until an actual fire breaks out. Stay away from the Navy if you want some structural firefighting training and cert's that you can use to get a civilian FF job after...

    As far as recruiters, I never had any problems with mine. He was straightforward with me and I never once had any reason to think he'd fed me any BS. That said, others had. Make sure you read and understand EVERYTHING you sign. When I was in the Marines there was a running joke along the lines that if you got screwed out of something your recruiter had "said" or "promised" it was your own fault, because U.S.M.C. stood for "You Signed the Motherf**kin' Contract!"

    One last place you ought to look for info is the ARFF Working Group. They're at www.arffwg.org. They have member departments representing a lot of Air Force and USMC base fire departments. Some of the contact info you find from the respective base/unit listings will probably put you in touch with active military firefighters who can give you some better advice than someone like me, a vet who's been out for over 10 years, can.

    Good luck!
    Fire service survival tips:
    1) Cook at 350...
    2) Pump at 150...
    3) When in doubt, isolate and deny entry...
    4) When in trouble, claim lack of adult supervision.

  7. #7
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    You may want to check out the 312th Squadron at Goodfellow AFB. That is the DOD's primary fire training center. In addition to Air Force personnel, they also train USMC, Army, and some Navy (Shipboard firefighting is taught elsewhere) The center is relatively new and VERY impressive. Their website is

    http://www.goodfellow.af.mil/

    I would think that someone there could answer your questions.

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    That last link pretty well gives everything, go to http://www.goodfellow.af.mil/~trs312/newfire/index.htm for the fire training courses and have a read
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    Thanks for the links to Goodfellow AFB. From the gist of it, I think that you're all trying to tell me that AF is the best for fire service. My grandfather will be glad... he flipped when I told him I might go Army (That's a retired AF major for ya...) Thanks for the answers, but I have one more. For Firebraun and Raven (and anyone else who was or is a DoD firefighter): what did you score on the ASVAB? Was there any particular section that you scored highly in and think that maybe that's what qualified you for the FF MOS? I appreciate the help, and this will definately assist in making a decision.

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    Here is another link that will give you an idea of what Goodfellow is like. You'll note that this is a US Army story. All branches of the armed services use Goodfellow as the primary firefighing academy.

    http://www.army.mil/soldiers/may2002/pdfs/pg24-31.pdf

  11. #11
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    SarFreak i will get that for you tonight if i get online

    and another note the Air Force is the best fire service true...but they are the hardest to get into. you have to spend about 2 years doing other duties befroe you can qualify for it.


    and another thing if you want to see if your recruiter is lying

    next time he promises something tell him to put it on the contract and sign it

    if his lips start to quiver he is lying because if he signs that he can be sued and fired for making promises that he could not keep
    FireSarge
    Joseph Sullivan
    Ohio

    "Any man willing to die in my place is my brother. Any man willing to turn and run is my enemy. Which will you be?"

  12. #12
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    As far as ASVAB scores go, mine was pretty high. I don't remember what it was exactly, since nearly 15 years have passed since I took the test. I was active duty with the US Coast Guard. The only thing I did not qualify for was to be a Quartermaster(navigator). I originally went in wanting to be a flight corpsman(medic), but my vision did not allow me to pass the flight physical. At the time I was enlisted, their was no guaranteed schools or MOS's for active duty Coasties. We had to do general duty and wait until our Class A school had an opening for our chosen job rating. I waited around for 6 months as an apprentice diesel mechanic, then got fed up with it and started OJT to become a Damage Controlman. The US Coast Guard has about 5 or 6 fire departments at a few of their larger land units. These are predominately staffed by Damage Controlman and Boatswain's Mates. After my sea tour was up, I put in for a transfer to become a firefighter at one of them. Luckily, I got the job. It is not considered to be an MOS by itself in the Coast Guard. It is considered specialized duty and can be very hard to get into. Lately, they have been converting a lot of these positions to civilian civil service because of turnover problems. I don't know what the ASVAB requirements would be for it, since it is rather unique duty for the Coast Guard. I don't think there is any special requirements. You pretty much had to be handpicked.

    Anyway, that is my story. The only Air Force experience I have is the schools I attended run by them. I now work for the US Army fire service as a civil service employee.
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