Goodfellow AFB Fire Department Rocks AETC Awards

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Michael Bowman
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

The Goodfellow Air Force Base fire department may be small, but the impact they make is not only felt on-base, as well as in the community and across the Department of Defense.

The Goodfellow fire department provides oversight and management of all Fire Emergency Services response, prevention capabilities and HAZMAT training response. A large part of the fire department’s duties are focused on inputting preventative measures to ensure the base, and community are operating in a safe environment.

The efforts of the fire department have not gone unnoticed. Recently, they received two awards at the major command level.

“These awards mean a lot to us,” said Billy Clemons, 17th Civil Engineer Squadron, assistant fire prevention chief. “We work hard every day to provide outstanding firefighting and safety services to the wing and our community partners. It’s great to see that hard work pay off.”

On top of their duties deterring hazards and promoting safety, the department located and resolved a safety concern in the fit of the standardized fire protection gear. Without hesitation, they reached out to AETC for guidance, and by collaborating with the fire protection suit manufacturer, they implemented a new specialized piece of equipment.

This new device allows an extension of the neck cover on the jacket that all DoD firefighters are outfitted with to ensure a tight seal to keep out smoke and other hazardous debris. Since sending the new piece of equipment to Goodfellow for testing, it has been approved as an addition to the new fire protection suits to be used across the DoD.

The outstanding performance of the unit as well as their initiative to seek new solutions is reflected in their achievement of the AETC Chief Master Sgt. Sanborn Small Fire Department of the Year Award which recognized the department for performing at a level of excellence not found anywhere else in the MAJCOM.

In addition to wining small fire department of the year, Goodfellow’s fire department was awarded the AETC Fire Protection Program of the Year Award is given to the fire department that goes above and beyond in preventative measures and public engagement to promote fire safety. The unit expanded their reach across West Texas as they partnered with school districts in surrounding cities to teach young students the basics of fire safety and first aid.

 “We had one family tell us how the junior firefighter camp helped their daughter,” said Clemons. “She and her brother had been playing alone at a playground, when the young boy fell off of the monkey bars and broke his arm. The young lady remembered what she had learned from our classes and set his arm in a sling to stabilize the wound until the family got in to see a doctor.”

These classes are just one of many ways the fire department engages with the community in an effort to raise fire safety awareness. Whether it be bringing the fire engines out during Halloween at various trunk or treat events, or hosting the on-base fire muster and blood drive event, the Goodfellow AFB fire department was able to educate over 11,000 people across West Texas about the importance of fire safety last year.

“It’s a lot of work, especially when preparing these events, but if we can help save even one life, it will have been worth it,” said Clemons.

The Goodfellow fire department may only have 35 members, but their excellence far exceeds the expectation.

“We worked hard last year, and these awards are proof of that,” said Clemons. “The hard work doesn’t stop with the awards. We want to carry that level of excellence forward with us into 2022.”