17th TRW honors fallen firefighters

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 312th Training Squadron held a memorial service for five deceased firefighters at the Department of Defense Fallen Firefighter Memorial May 12.

The service honored Captain Alan Hicks, 145th Fire Emergency Services, and Adam Long, Defense Service Center, who both died in 2015 and 2016 respectfully and three firefighters who died in Vietnam: Airmen James Price and Jerald Sumida, and Lance Cpl. Rufo Santos San Nicolas.

“For those that remember, they have provided just a small part of the impact that the [firefighters] had on the lives of so many; family, friends, those that they’ve saved,” said Col. Dean Hartman, Air Force Civil Engineer Center Planning and Integration Director. “As a career Civil Engineer … I got an exposure to a team of experts, courageous professionals, where I took away some lessons learned.”

Hartman said the three lessons he learned were: firefighters lead, innovate and deliver the mission.

For the first ceremonial act, Col. Michael Downs, 17th Training Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Scott Knupp, Air Force fire chief, unveiled the names of fallen firefighters immortalizing them in the stones of the memorial site.

“It is important for us to hold events like this so they will not be forgotten,” said Ryan Dunn, San Angelo fire chief. “They didn’t lose their lives in vain.”

The unveiling was followed by Kevin King, Chief Bill Moore, Chief Heinz Mueller and Chief Donald Capps laying a wreath, symbolizing the remembrance of the deceased.

Also during the ceremony, the Joint Base Color Guard and Mike Robertson, Military Firefighter Heritage Foundation president and executive director, gave two of the fallen firefighter’s wives helmets with their husband’s name on it.

“As a firefighter we take care of our own,” Tech. Sgt. Kyle Dobler, 312th Training Squadron instructor. “No matter what happens, we are going to take care of you and your family members, not just for first year, but for the rest of the time like you are still a part of the fire service.”

One of the final acts of the ceremony, a color guard member rang the firemen’s bell four rings, five times, marking the end of the watch for the firefighters.