Fire trucks retire after 20 years of service

by Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Two fire trucks were retired Aug. 19 during a ceremony held at Fire Station 1 on Ramstein.

The fire trucks’ service life had been reached and around their 20th birthday the two trucks were formally retired.

The P22 and P23 fire apparatuses had a combined 40 years of service and more than 39,000 responses under their belt. Now, they’re on their way from the fire station to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office. However, their replacements are beefy, monster machines each capable of delivering 3,000 gallons of water on scene.

Built in 2008 and 2011, the new Oshkosh fire trucks have been regarded as one of the best in their class as far as handling and driving.

“It drives like a Honda Civic,” said Staff Sgt. Douglas Fox, 86th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Station 1 crew chief, in regards to the way the new truck handles and accelerates. “The new trucks are far superior. They almost
double our firefighting capabilities.”

One of the add-ons for the new trucks is the Snozzle. According to the manufacturer, the Snozzle features a piercing nozzle that can strategically enter an aircraft’s passenger cabin, cargo compartment or other structure for direct fire retardant application.

“(The Snozzle) allows us to extinguish fires without putting personnel in harm’s way,” said Staff Sgt. John Richi, 86th CES Fire Station 1 crew chief.

The cost for one of these colossal machines is about $675,000 and it is money well spent to ensure the safety of personnel, said Randall Marshall, 86th CES Fire Station 1 fire chief.

In the dire seconds needed to save a life, the old P22 and P23 engines could only go about 30 mph, leading to precious seconds being wasted on transit times.

“The (Striker 3000) can go up to 70 mph, which is good if you need to get to the other side of the runway in a hurry,” Fox said.

But Fox said he wouldn’t trade having the chance to drive in the old machines.
“It was a great experience, kind of like driving a tank,” he said. “To think probably 100 other firefighters have also driven it is cool. It’s got a lot of history behind it.”

Senior Master Sgt. Matthew McQuaig, 86th CES deputy fire chief, said the new trucks are important.

“The technology is so advanced compared to the old apparatus that we retired,” he said. 

Fox said they currently have two of the new Striker 3000 apparatuses and plan to have four by the end of the year, leaving any fire quivering at the thought of starting anywhere near Fire Station 1.