Army Firefighting details the history of this low-density military occupational specialty which represents a small section of the Corps of Engineers. Beginning with the Civil War through present day, this historical perspective contains the lineage and history of Army fire fighting units and includes unit rosters, activations and deactivations, deployment locations and description of some of the major fires fought. The book also contains photographs of Army fire fighters during World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm and the War on Terrorism. Using interviews, correspondence and diaries, as well as archived material, Leroy Allen Ward tells the remarkable story of the Army's Engineer Firefighters.
Within the Army, the U.S. Army Engineer School located at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, manages the Military Occupational Specialty 12M for all Active Duty, Army National Guard and Army Reserve units. This includes doctrine, combat development, new equipment, training and military personnel issues. The federal mission of the reserve components is to maintain well-trained units and soldiers to support the capabilities necessary during peacetime, contingencies and wars. Army firefighters fill Tables of Organization and Equipment (TO&E) and Tables of Distribution and Allowances (TDA) assignments in the fifty states as well as overseas. TO&E units are FORSCOM assets, which means that they are a deployable asset. TDA positions are assigned to the installation, and work in direct support of the installation fire department, as instructors at the Department of Defense Fire Academy, Training Support Brigades as Observer/Controllers for ARNG and USAR firefighting units, or as Recruiters assigned to the various recruiting commands. Peacekeeping operations, humanitarian missions, and other operations short of war require firefighters who are able to think on both a tactical and an operational level. Firefighters must be highly skilled, support-oriented and well trained to adapt to complex, dangerous and ever-changing situations throughout the world, often while supporting in small groups, working in remote locations, and dealing with ambiguous situations. Take for example the following story. The author, while a member of the 89th Engineer Detachment (FFTG) during Operation Desert Shield/Storm, was asked to provide ARFF services to the USAF Combat Control teams, who were setting up dirt airstrips for USAF pilots to practice dirt landings and take-offs. Many times, this unit had to pack up and drive 300-400 miles to the next dirt landing strip before aircraft arrived the next morning. Many times these six firefighters would be the only U.S. soldiers for miles. The aircraft would conduct touch-and-go landing procedures until the desert sand was loosened to the point that the aircraft could not land. While the USAF personnel would load up on the last aircraft and return to their base, the members of the 89th would pack up and begin the drive to the next airfield. At other times, when they were co-located at an army camp and attached to the local engineer unit for administrative support, they would operate the winterization kit on the fire truck, which warmed the water and would then fill the unit's showers in order to get extra meals or additional maintenance support. Life in general, and especially life in the military, comes with certain risks, dangers and possible catastrophes. These risks and dangers take place in war as well as peace, in civilian and military life and in all weather conditions. In response to these potential situations, highly- trained emergency response personnel must take action to alleviate the impact and lessen the loss of life that could be involved. All Army installations have their own protection services, including fire departments. The majority of these installations use civilian firefighters, with a select few utilizing the Army engineer firefighters assigned to Engineer Firefighting Detachments or firefighters who are embedded in the Ordinance unit Tables of Organization and Equipment (TO&E) located on the installation. For today's Army, the practical theory, intent and mindset of firefighting in a military uniform is no different from fighting in suburbia USA, so the soldiers' attitudes don't vary much from the civilian firefighter. Firefighters control fires and help to prevent them in buildings, in aircraft and aboard ships.
Master Sergeant Leroy Allen Ward (Retired) has served in the firefighting career field as a volunteer, military and career firefighter since 1978. His military career spanned 25 years and included active duty as well as Army National Guard service. While on active duty, he deployed to Desert Storm with the 89th Engineer Detachment (FFTG) He was also instrumental in developing the specifications for the Tactical Fire Fighting Truck (TFFT), led the development and fielding of the Joint-Firefighting Integrated Response Ensemble (J-FIRE) while assigned to the U.S. Army Engineer Center at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. His expertise led to the creation of the 5th Army Fire Fighting Center of Excellence at Fort Lewis, WA while assigned to the 91st Division (Training). His military awards and decorations are numerous and include the Meritorious Service Medal (3 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (2 OLC), Kuwait-Liberation-Medal and the Corp of Engineers de Fleury Medal (Bronze). Since January 2001, he has been employed with Rural/Metro Fire Department serving as an aircraft rescue fire fighter, fire captain, fire chief, and currently serves as the Specialty Fire Group Command Fire Chief overseeing 10 fire department operations across the United States. He and his wife Tammy reside in Pataskala, Ohio with two tiny, spoiled Pomeranians.