Fire truck comes to Goodfellow display
By Dr. Paul Garrett, 17th Training Wing Historian
/ Published February 12, 2007
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
On Saturday, a C-130 Hercules from the 910th Airlift Wing, Youngstown, Ohio, landed at Mathis Field and came to a stop just north of the terminal. As the ramp came down, a signature chrome bulldog became visible. Inside was a 1942 Mack Model 125 fire truck.
The Mack was part and parcel of what was going on in the world at the time. When it rolled off the assembly line in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1942, Franklin Roosevelt was in his third term as President and the United States was at war. Aircraft production soared to meet the war effort, creating an immediate demand for specialized vehicles designed to fight aircraft crash fires and rescue aircrews. Carrying three high-pressure hoses plus on-board foam and carbon dioxide fire extinguishers, the six-cylinder Mack crash truck brought just such state-of-the-art fire protection to Army Air Fields across the United States.
Sixty-five years later, the Mack comes to Goodfellow from the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, where it served before retiring to the museum in the 1950s. Here, at Goodfellow, it will join the world's largest exhibit of military firefighting vehicles, becoming the thirteenth vehicle in our Military Firefighter Heritage Display. It will also become the oldest, though it will hold that distinction only until Goodfellow receives a second antique fire truck from the National Museum, a 1941 Ford structural pumper scheduled to arrive at Mathis Field in a few weeks.
Goodfellow will exhibit both World War II trucks beneath the new pavilion going up next to the Fallen Military Firefighter Memorial, near the center of the display on East Vance Street. To make that happen, volunteers from the Military Firefighter Heritage Foundation will donate their time and resources over the next several months to restore both trucks to their original luster. Goodfellow hopes to have them on display later this summer.