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Manas Airmen train with Kyrgyz fire fighters

Staff Sgt. Vincent Anselmo, 376th AEW fire fighter, hands a fire hose to Stas Suleymanov, a fire fighter with the Manas International Airport. In this exercise, the Kyrgyz fire truck will receive water pumped from the 376th AEW coalition fire truck.  Sergrant Anselmo is deployed from the 31st Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Deptartment, Aviano Air Base, Italy. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Daniel Nathaniel)

Staff Sgt. Vincent Anselmo, 376th AEW fire fighter, hands a fire hose to Stas Suleymanov, a fire fighter with the Manas International Airport. In this exercise, the Kyrgyz fire truck will receive water pumped from the 376th AEW coalition fire truck. Sergrant Anselmo is deployed from the 31st Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Deptartment, Aviano Air Base, Italy. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Daniel Nathaniel)

MANAS AIR BASE, Kyrgyzstan -- Since the establishment of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing Fire Department here more than five years ago, Airmen have worked side-by-side with the firefighters of Manas International Airport. 

With each new Air Expeditionary Force rotation every four months, a new crew of Airmen arrives and the Kyrgyz firefighters have been right there training with them. 

"The Kyrgyz Fire Department is very knowledgeable," said Staff Sgt.Vincent Anselmo, a 376th AEW firefighter deployed from Aviano. "I would call them the resident experts as far as Manas Air Base goes." 

This past week, AEF 5/6 firefighters began the first of three planned exercises with the Kyrgyz firefighters. 

The scenario was the same for both days of training - respond to an aircraft fire on the flightline, practice hooking up the Kyrgyz and Coalition trucks with hoses. One object of the exercise is for the Kyrgyz truck to supply the 376th AEW coalition truck with water.
"If it's a ground emergency, it's going to be on the flightline or the parking area," said Senior Master Sgt. Daniel Krowpman, 376th Air Expeditionary Wing fire chief. "A lot of those areas do have hydrants, but they could be several hundred feet away. The crash trucks usually don't carry a lot of hose on them. 

"Those hydrants several hundred feet away could be a mile a way, and it wouldn't matter," said Sergeant Krowpman. "If you do have that much hose then there is a lot of friction loss with those hoses pushing the water from the hydrant to the truck. You won't get the volume of water you need." 

For other types of emergencies, response training is practiced in case a plane crashes off the runway where there are no hydrants, he said. "These trucks will bring the water to you rather than worrying about hose lines." 

The Airmen appreciate working with the host nationals. 

"They seem pretty used to working with us," Sergeant Anselmo said. "They knew exactly what we needed. They hooked right up. They just said 'adapter' and it worked very smoothly; they knew exactly what they needed to do and they did it." 

The Kyrgyz firefighters said they also appreciate working with the Airmen. 

"We can always rely on their help," said Leonid Suleiymanov, 4th Shift leader, MIA Fire Department. "We have to work together and give help to each other." 

The effectiveness of the joint training between the departments was aptly demonstrated last September when the two fire companies came together to put out an aircraft fire.
"The two departments did an excellent job by not letting the fire extend further into the plane," Sergeant Krowpman said. "The past training that was done between the two departments paid off." 

Air Force fire departments are required to have mutual aid agreements with neighboring fire departments, Sergeant Krowpman said. 

"If there was an emergency that was overwhelming or outside our scope of capability, they would be able to help us or we help them," he said. 

Before they begin training with their host country counterparts, the members of the rotation must first train to work as one. 

"We are represented by six different units that have never actually worked together," Sergeant Krowpman said. "We do our own in-house training to become a cohesive unit first and then we start our training with the mutual-aid companies, so we can become one big group and know what's going on together." 

The continuous training with each rotation does not grow old for the Manas team.
"We definitely learn from each other," said Suleiymanov, a 30-year veteran firefighter. "We learn new techniques and teamwork. 

"Sometimes we have a language barrier but professionally we are similar," he said.
Sergeant Krowpman agrees. 

"We all pretty much do business the same way," he said.