JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska –
U.S. Air Force firefighters with 673rd Civil Engineer Squadron, Civil Engineer participated in crash fire exercise during Exercise Northern Edge 2015, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, June 15-26.
Exercise Northern Edge 2015 is an Alaskan command hosted exercise and one of Alaska's biggest joint training exercises. It brings all U.S. military services together for joint training to practice operations, techniques and procedures as well as enhance interoperability among the services.
"Our mission is to provide fire protection coverage for all aircraft participating in NE15," said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeremy Jones, a 29-year-old, Pearl Valley, California, native and crew chief with 673rd CES, CEF. "We are also here to protect individuals working on them."
Jones and his fire crew have spent 24 hours on and off since the beginning of the exercise insuring the safety of all participants in the exercise.
"The variety of aircraft is one of our biggest challenges," said Jones. "We have a certain number of aircraft here [JBER}. We usually deal with the F-22, C-130, C-5 and C-17 aircraft."
The fire rescuers had the opportunity to learn how to work with new aircraft they have never worked on until now, including the U.S. Navy and Marines aircraft the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18F Super Hornet.
"We have a lot of individuals that have not operated on any of these aircraft prior to NE15. The exercise is perfect for us to get our group of guys trained up, so if something does go wrong in the future we will be able to provide the quality of coverage that we usually do," Jones said.
In addition to all the operations, Northern Edge provides opportunities for joint training across the Navy, Air Force, and Marines.
"We are getting great training. The individuals on the aircraft and crew chiefs have been providing us with a bunch of training," said Jones. "It is benefiting us all service members across all services."
The Northern Edge exercise evolved over the years. It was first known as Jack Frost, later turning into Brim Frost and then Arctic Warrior. The first NE kicked off in 1993 and is on its 22nd iteration.