Story & photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer
435th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
MANDA BAY, Kenya — Firefighters assigned to the 475th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron hosted a training circuit with the Kenya Navy here, Aug. 29.
Airmen designed the training to build upon the established partnership between the two nations by enforcing teamwork and endurance while enhancing technical proficiency.
“I like that we’re doing these things for our relationship with the Kenyans,” said Senior Airman Zachary Barna, 475th EABS firefighter and supervisor for the training. “It shows them that we care. We’re taking the time out of our day to spin them up on what we do.”
The circuit included fire-hose drills, ladder drills, and lifting heavy equipment, all while maintaining a sense of urgency.
“I think this course is about teamwork, so it’s a very nice experience,” said Kenya Navy Lt. Dominic Eloiloi, technical officer. “Firefighting is a skill, so it needs a lot of practice. The refreshing helps enhance our effectiveness.”
Barna said the idea to conduct joint training came from their first real-world event, where they directly worked with the Kenyan firefighters to extinguish a fire.
“From firefighter to firefighter, they’re no different than us,” said Barna. “They love working with us and we love doing it, so I think it’s a good thing all around, for us and them.”
Kenya Navy Sgt. Thomas Maisiba, firefighter and crew commander, participated in the course and said it was good for increasing speed and efficiency.
“If you want to be a fireman, you have to be physically fit,” said Maisiba.
Maisiba said they lack in equipment, so having the U.S. Air Force firefighters’ support is necessary. During the training, the Airmen outfitted the Kenyan firefighters with gloves, one notable piece of equipment they do not have a lot of.
“With the equipment, we are able to move very fast,” he said.
He added that by continuing the training circuit in the future, his colleagues will improve tremendously.
The Airmen plan to continue their training with the Kenya Navy on a weekly basis, establishing positive relationships that will last through future rotations at Camp Simba.
“The cooperation with the U.S. Air Force has been so nice, so we expect more from them, and our team,” said Eloiloi.