Story & photos by Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs March 26, 2020
The 435th Construction and Training Squadron hosted the NATO Firefighter Fundamentals Course March 9-13 to train for aircraft mishaps and pilot extraction scenarios.
Twenty-two NATO firefighters from Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic were the first to train on Ramstein’s new F-15 Mobile Aircraft Fire Training asset, a mock-up aircraft in development since 2018. This capability allowed them to share new knowledge with their respective countries’ military forces.
“We have students from all over the world coming to train,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Wellborn, 435th CTS fire rescue and contingency training instructor. “A lot of them have these aircraft at their base. Some might not, but they get the opportunity to train before they (are reassigned) to another base with the aircraft.”
Firefighters trained for multiple aircraft crash scenarios during the week. They also learned about potential hazards on F-15 and C-130 aircraft.
“It’s a little difficult in some respects with the language barrier,” Welborn said, “but every country has someone that speaks English to translate and make it work.”
The NATO Firefighter Fundamentals Course is held three to four times per year. Welborn hopes assets like the F-15 MAFT will continue to attract more NATO countries in the future to further strengthen partnerships.
One of the key advantages of the MAFT asset is its mobility, said Tech. Sgt. Frank Butler, 435th CTS fire rescue and contingency training noncommissioned officer in charge.
Unlike the fixed location of the C-130 mockup fire trainer near the flight line, Airmen can transport the MAFT asset to multiple locations using a trailer. This allows the 435th CTS to conduct more training opportunities in the future.
The F-15 MAFT asset will be used for future training such as U.S. European Command, NATO and partnered-nation exercises.