Firetruck Airlift

Yokota Air Base, Japan --


Recently, the last of Yokota’s 374th Civil Engineering Squadron returned home from Exercise Cope North Guam with help from the 374th Operations Group.

The 20 Airmen and two P-19 airfield rescue firefighting trucks from the 374 CES, provided airfield fire support during the exercise in case of a flight line emergency.

Senior Airman Justin Tarr, 374 CES firefighter, was part of the 20 man team to go to Tinian Island during Cope North. Tarr enjoyed his time watching the planes take off on the same runway where the historic World War II plane, the Enola Gay took off from on its way to Japan over 70 years ago.

 “It was amazing to walk on and see planes take off from such a historic place,” said Tarr. “And seeing where they stored the atomic bombs.”

Each day the 374 CES team came out to the flightline to support the aircrew should the worst happen but during the exercise.

“We were thankful that the exercise was accident free,” said Tarr. “The days we don’t need to put out fires are good days.”

Fires can be started in many different ways. To combat the different kinds of fires the 374 CES firefighters have many different methods and tools to extinguish fires. One of the pieces of equipment used by the 374 CES firefighters is the P-19. The P-19 is capable of more than just spraying water, it is also equipped with dry and foam fire retardants to handle different fire emergency situations on the flightline.

Senior Airman Aubrey Rice, 374 CES driver operator, was part of the team to bring back the P-19 used in support of Cope North. According to Rice, the P-19 is one of the most deployable firetrucks due to its compact size, reliability and breathe of abilities.

“The P-19 is just small enough to fit onto a C-130,” said Rice. “Once inside you have about two inches of room along the walls of the plane.”

While Rice was the one to drive the trucks onto and off the C-130, it was up to the load masters from the 36th Airlift Squadron to ensure the firetruck was safely aboard for its transport over the Pacific Ocean.

“The loadmasters made it all happen,” said Rice. “They did all the weight calculations, guided me onto the plane and secured the P-19 to the aircraft.”

Through the cooperation and interoperability through the 374 OG and the 374 CES, team Yokota was able to safely return all equipment and personnel home.