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Military Firefighters

Updated on September 12, 2014

Military Firefighter Academy in San Angelo, TX

Imagine sitting in a 750 degree burning building in 65 pounds of gear. This was just another day at the office when I was a military firefighter instructor.

How do you become an Army firefighter?

You enlist in the Army as a 12M and complete one of the toughest military schools in the nation.

The Department of Defense Fire Academy is located in the small, dry and dusty town of San Angelo, Texas. It is the training site for young men and women who want to become military firefighters.

Follow me as a give you a tour of one of the best Fire Academies in the United States. I guarantee the firefighter pictures will melt you in your seat

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What To Expect As A Military Firefighter - Army Firefighters

Protecting Those That Serve

What does an Army Firefighter do? I was very lucky to have a very interesting and diverse Army Firefighter career, some Soldiers are not so lucky. We are still a nation at war. We have thousands of Soldiers deployed overseas so it is not uncommon for a firefighter to be tasked to an ordinance unit or work outside the career field.

My first duty assignment was Fort Rucker, Alabama. I worked as a crash rescue specialist on a flight line. Fort Rucker is the aviation capital of the Army. It is where most pilots learn to fly rotary wing aircraft. Every flight line has a small fire fighter crew. It usually consists of a four person crew sitting in a tiny little shack. I have been told that military firefighters no longer work in the main station but they did when I was stationed there. I worked at the main fire station as a structural firefighter for just over a year. We responded to fires in housing, car crashes and mutual aid calls in the surrounding area. My favorite job at Fort Rucker was a crew member on a Med-Evacuation Crew.

Fort Rucker is the only place in the Army where firefighters can firefight from the back of a Huey! I know it sounds crazy! It was an amazing assignment.

Flat Iron is a small Medical Evacuation Crew. Firefighters on the crew are responsible for aircraft that go down in the woods and cannot be reached by fire trucks. I can't explain the rush of donning bunker gear while you're flying in the sky.

Firefighter, Paramedic, Hero

The True Life of a Firefighter

The Home To All Military Firefighters

Training To Become A Military Firefighter

The Louis F. Garland fire academy is the only fire academy for the Department of Defense.

It is located on Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, TX.

I attended the Fire school as a young private in the Army in 1998.I had the privilege of returning to the fire school as an instructor in September 2007.

The Fire School consists of both military and civilian instructors responsible for training men and women in every branch of service.

Honor America's Fallen Firefighters



San Angelo Summer

The Average Summer Temperature in San Angelo, TX is 100 degrees.

Can you handle the heat of the DOD Fire Academy

See results

What Does It Take To Become A Military Firefighter - Six Blocks of Military Firefighter Training

The fire school consist of six grueling blocks of training

DOD Fire & Emergency Services Certification Program

  • Fire Prevention and Fire Awareness
  • First Responder/CPR/Childbirthing
  • Firefighter I structural firefighting
  • Firefighter II structural firefighting
  • Hazmat Awareness
  • Airport Firefighting

Firefighter History - Military Crash Rescue School

This is a book every firefighter should have on their coffee table. It covers firefighter history from the beginning to late nineties. It even has a chapter on military firefighters as well as a few pictures of some very good friends of mine.

Inside the Inferno at the Louis F Garland Fire Academy - DOD Fire School

Instructors monitor students during live fire training in blocks IV and VI of firefighter training.

Firefighter Coins - Firefighter Challenge Coins

Challenge coins are a tradition in both firefighting and the military.

They are passed down from seniors to rookies, commanders to first sergeants, Noncommissioned officers to Soldiers and sometimes they are given from friend to friend.

Each coin carries a story and is passed on in a hand shake. Some coins are proudly carried in the pockets of fatigues others sit proudly displayed on a desk. They represent a time and a place that should not be forgotten.

Challenge coins are often given at award ceremonies for exemplary achievement but many have also been given in the back alley of a local bar.

They represent a brotherhood, an understanding that firefighting is much more than a job. It is a calling.

The Louis F.Garland Burn House

Firefighter Instructor for the Department of Defense Fire Academy

Many Things go through your head as an instructor while you're waiting on students to enter the burn house.

“What is taking them so long?”

“I hope my gear is on properly”

“Did I turn my coffee pot off this morning?”

“Geez it's really getting hot in here”

“Oh No! I really have to use the bathroom”

“Oh man, my face shield is melting already!”

Military Firefighter History

The Goodfellow Fire Academy was featured on an episode of mail call!

Department of Defense Fire Academy Graduation - Video of Military Firefighter Graduation

The students that survive the 68 training days of the Department of Defense Fire Academy proudly join the ranks of firefighters serving in the military all over the world.

Firefighter Movies

Firefighter Trivia: What is in water that puts out fire? Answer

Train As If A Life Depends On It Because It Does - Firefighters Prayer

The Firefighter's Prayer

When I am called to duty, God, whenever flames may rage;

Give me strength to save some life, whatever be its age.

Help me embrace a little child before it is too late

Or save an older person from the horror of that fate.

Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout,

And quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.

I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me,

To guard my every neighbor and protect his property.

And if, according to my fate, I am to lose my life;

Please bless with your protecting hand

My family one and all.

Author Unknown

Thank You Department of Defense Firefighters

Thank you to the DOD firefighters that have come before us, those serving today and those yet to follow!

FireDawgs lead the way to hell and back!

Photos are of me Gina Birdsong

Photos and Video are courtesy of

Omar Moore

Retired Army, firefighter and DOD Civilian

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Did You Know Military Firefighters Existed

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    • Legenden profile image

      Legenden 4 years ago

      They sure do a great job.

    • Louidam1 LM profile image

      Louidam1 LM 4 years ago

      Wow I never knew you were a Military Firefighter! Learned something knew today! Blessed!

    • profile image

      golfspice 4 years ago

      Interesting lens and insights into the life of a firefighter. Congratulations on your purple star.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I learned from your lens today. What great men they are.

    • Mamabyrd profile image
      Author

      Mamabyrd 5 years ago

      @chris1402: I can't tell you the number of people in the military that don't know about military firefighters. I am glad to be able to share a little bit about them.

    • Mamabyrd profile image
      Author

      Mamabyrd 5 years ago

      @donnetted: Yes I was blessed to work with some amazing people!

    • profile image

      Donnette Davis 5 years ago from South Africa

      I have learned something today. Wow. What an amazing career. Blessed x

    • profile image

      chris1402 5 years ago

      no. I wasn't. but thinking about it they must have done a helluva job in Kuwait after GW1 - firefighters: god bless 'em all

    • Mamabyrd profile image
      Author

      Mamabyrd 5 years ago

      @chas65: Thank you! Yes you are absolutely right. It takes a special breed of people to put the lives of others before their own.

    • Mamabyrd profile image
      Author

      Mamabyrd 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you! The photos are from a good friend of mine. He was my instructor when I came through the fire school in 1998.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You know I never thought about there being military firefighters before, but when I think of it, there would have to be. Amazing people do amazing things. Love your article, I learned do much. Your photos are awesome! :)

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Wow - what a grueling training academy. Kudos to those of you who succeeded in becoming well trained military firefighters... and to those of you who taught the recruits. You are all very special people.

    • chas65 profile image

      chas65 5 years ago

      Loved the lens, as a native Texan, made it even more special. It takes special people to be fire fighters, miliatary or civillian.

    • Mamabyrd profile image
      Author

      Mamabyrd 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you for visiting!

    • Mamabyrd profile image
      Author

      Mamabyrd 5 years ago

      @Morgannafay: Thank you! I am so glad you liked it. The pictures were taken by a very good friend of mine.

    • Mamabyrd profile image
      Author

      Mamabyrd 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you!

    • Mamabyrd profile image
      Author

      Mamabyrd 5 years ago

      @luvmyludwig lm: Thank you!! They are very near and dear to my heart.

    • Morgannafay profile image

      Morgannafay 5 years ago

      Whew, you're a tough cookie! Much respect to you, and I feel as though you walked me through your experience. :) I also found the fiery pictures mysteriously beautiful. Good going girl!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have so much respect for you and other firefighters. I don't think I'm brave enough to tackle that occupation. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • profile image

      CatJGB 5 years ago

      Oh, I wanted to be a Fiery but my hearing excluded me, much to my chagrin. This is a lovely tribute.

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 5 years ago

      This is a great tribute to DoD Firefighters!