JROTC cadets complete challenge

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 10:41
  • U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO BY JUSTIN CONNAHER - Danny Thomas, a junior in the Eagle River High School JROTC program, uses a fire hose during a visit with Airmen assigned to the 673d Civil Engineer Squadron on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Sept. 25. The students ran through buddy-team drills with firefighting equipment used by the Airmen for training, and firefighters talked with them about their duties and the rigors of emergency service responders.
  • U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO BY JUSTIN CONNAHER - John Timmins, a sophomore in the Eagle River High School JROTC program, carries a dummy during firefighting demo challenge.
  • U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO BY JUSTIN CONNAHER - Caleb Hjertquist, a sophomore, left, and Carrie Nordlof, a junior in the Eagle River High School JROTC program, join two fire hoses during a firefighting demo challenge hosted by JBER firefighters Sept. 25.

Junior ROTC students learn basic military knowledge, but not how to be a military firefighter. Can they step up to the challenge?

The 673d Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters hosted a team-challenge demonstration for the Eagle River High School JROTC to show them first-hand what firefighters do.

“They wanted hands-on (experience), so why not let them simulate the tasks?” asked Air Force Master Sgt. Louis Martinez, 673d CES firefighter. “This lets them feel the physical rigors on scene. These are some of the things we do in case of a fire or rescue.”

The tasks ranged from pulling, lifting and connecting a fire hose, to climbing a ladder and dragging a 130-pound dummy.

“It lets them know [that even] without gear, it’s a pain in the butt,” Martinez said. “It’s truly a challenge, but a completely different beast in gear. We’ve got another 40 to 45 pounds of gear [while] doing these tasks.”

The students were divided into six teams of five players each, one for each station. After completing a station, that student tags the next student until all the stations are complete.

The firefighters demonstrated each station and stayed as support in case the tasks were too difficult or the students needed guidance.

The tasks put the students in the firefighters’ bunker boots — without the weight of the gear or a real situation.

Megan Hancox, ERHS sophomore, participated in the fireman’s drag - considered the most challenging by the firefighters and her peers, because it requires lifting the dummy by the torso and walking backwards about 10 feet.

“It was much harder than I thought it would be, especially picking (the dummy) up,” Hancox said. “I knew it was going to be the most difficult one, but it was fun.”

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