GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Affectionately known as the smallest Air Force base in the world, the Norma Brown Air Force Trainer is also known to have the most disaster incidents out of all other bases. This is due to the fact that the 1979-era tabletop model is used to assist in training fire protection specialists in the Fire Officer II and III courses at the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy.
Originally named Flamoke Air Force Base, the trainer was built at Chanute Air Force Base to improve training. When the training was relocated to Goodfellow the trainer was transported in four separate pieces. To honor the commander that spearheaded the building, the model was re-named, Norma Brown Air Force Base.
This miniature version of an Air Force base is amazing in its complexity and has flashing lights and smoke that will fire around scenes to add to the overall effect.
“It was a far better course, the model makes it much more relevant,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Gresley, 312th Training Squadron fire officer course trainee. “I wish that I had come through here for other courses, it is so much better than clicking through screens.”
Through a control panel, the instructor directing the course is able to re-create various accidents and situations that test the student’s ability to mitigate damage and direct resources.
“I wish that this training and this course was available when I was going through,” said Tech. Sgt. Douglas Cox, 312th TRS Fire Officer II and III instructor. “We strive to make it as immersive as possible, we have sound to accompany some of the situations and add that little something extra.”
Goodfellow has joint training throughout the various courses, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen are all able to participate in the classes offered. As a part of joining with the community, civilian firefighters are also able to receive training.
“It isn’t just military,” said Cox. “Or even citizens of the U.S., we train with our allies as well. We even have a specific course that uses the Norma Brown Trainer along with the accompanying town, Moorsville, to practice all types of scenarios.”