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Louis F. Garland’s family visits Goodfellow

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Randall Moose
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Family members of late Chief Warrant Officer Louis F. Garland visited the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy July 13.

The Garlands visited to learn about the legacy of their forbearer and to pay their respects.  Younger Louis Garland visited the academy in 1995, when Goodfellow dedicated the fire academy to his father.

“They invited my mom and myself and my two sisters. We all came together for the dedication for my dad,” said younger Garland. “I got a small tour. We didn’t see what we saw today. Today was impressive.”

The Garlands met with Col. Ricky Mills, 17th Training Wing commander, at the Norma Brown building before riding a firetruck to the fire academy, bearing the name of Chief Warrant Officer Garland. Younger Garland began to get emotional as they approached.

“When I saw his name on the building,” said younger Garland. “I started crying.”

Once inside, they took a moment to view Chief Warrant Officer Garland’s memorial.

“I got a different view of my dad right then,” said younger Garland. “As a kid, I was going through school playing basketball. It was about all I cared about. He’d come home and ask me about how basketball was. He never came home and said, ‘I did this’ or, ‘I did that.’”

Chief Warrant Officer Garland took charge of the fire school at Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois. There, he laid the groundwork for what would become the standard for military firefighter training today. 

“It’s not named after him because he donated a bunch of money,” said Clayton Garland, younger Garland’s son. “It’s named because of the work he put in.”

According to Michael Robertson, 316th Training Squadron training manager, many considered Chief Warrant Officer Garland the father of Air Force firefighting. He also envisioned all the military branches training for and adhering to the same standards. Although he didn’t see it, the fire academy now services all aspects of the DoD; including Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Civil Service employees. Fire protection specialists from numerous foreign countries also receive instruction at the fire academy.

“My favorite part was meeting people that were impressed by what he did,” said Clayton. “We had nothing to do with what he did, but they were proud to meet us.”

It’s a shame he didn’t get to see it. Grandpa would have been so proud.”

Later, the Garlands visited the Military Firefighters Heritage Memorial. The display houses firefighting equipment from the past and stands to honor military and DoD firefighters who died in the line of duty.

“Some of these trucks are like the ones I saw as a child,” said younger Garland. “He would take my two sisters and me on firetrucks to see demonstrations like today.”

At the end of their visit, Clayton wanted to express that his grandfather was more than just a firefighter.

“I’m impressed and proud to see my grandfather like this, but he was more than his job. He was my fishing buddy, my golfing buddy and he was more than just the Air Force.”