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WTI Aviation Ground Support Students Get a Taste of Firefighting

By | Marine Corps Air Station Yuma | September 11, 2014

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Aviation ground support (AGS) students of Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 1-15, hosted by Marine Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1, were educated about the intricacies and operations of the MCAS Yuma flight line, Tuesday.

The exercise aimed at acquainting the WTI students, who come from a variety of technical backgrounds and military occupational specialties, with the flight line’s terminology, markings and resident services.

“We are learning that, as aviation ground support, our job is to provide capabilities to the Marine Aircraft Wing, and that we have a lot of capabilities at our disposal,” said Maj. Christian Felder, an AGS student from Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, based at MCAS Cherry Point, N.C. “Hopefully we’re able to use that for our benefit, not only for the [Aviation Combat Element] as part of the Marine Air Ground Task Force, but for all of the supporting agencies we have as well.”

After the students observed the numerous aircraft operating on MCAS Yuma’s flight line as part of WTI exercises, they received a presentation from the station’s Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) department.

ARFF simulated an aviation mishap by igniting their mobile aircraft firefighting training device, which is a mock aircraft capable of lighting propane fires outside and within to simulate a burning airframe. Running through their tactics, techniques and procedures while subduing the flames, ARFF explained their capabilities to the AGS students in detail.

“’Save lives and protect property’ – that’s our unit’s motto, and it’s heavily emphasized during WTI,” said Lance Cpl. Kenny Speciale, a lineman for ARFF. “We do this kind of training at least once a month, but our tempo has picked up leading up to WTI because we have to learn how to tend to aircraft that aren’t usually on station.”

The AGS students will continue to receive extensive education on their mission as WTI unfolds in the upcoming months.

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