Taming flames on Ramstein AB’s new F-15 mobile trainer

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 Air Base’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 of 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 Eagle and C-130 Hercules 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 flightline, 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.

Photo of firefighters preparing to extinguish fires.

NATO firefighters prepare to extinguish the flames on an F-15 Mobile Aircraft Fire Trainer during the NATO Firefighter Fundamentals Course at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 11, 2020. This was the first ever F-15 MAFT asset used on Ramstein AB. Firefighters from Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic came to Ramstein AB to receive certification on extracting pilots and extinguishing aircraft fires. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater)

Photo of firefighters waiting for instruction.

Staff Sgt. Robert Welborn, 435th Construction and Training Squadron fire rescue and contingency training instructor instructs NATO firefighters on the F-15 Mobile Aircraft Fire Training asset during the NATO Firefighter Fundamentals Course at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 11, 2020. The F-15 MAFT asset is useful for multiple agencies to train on such as explosive ordnance and disposal teams. Firefighters from Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic came to Ramstein AB to receive certification on extracting pilots and extinguishing aircraft fires. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater)

Photo of firefighter extinguishing flames.

NATO firefighters extinguish flames on a C-130 Hercules mock-up fire trainer during the NATO Firefighters Fundamentals Course at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 10, 2020. The firefighters used the 86th Civil Engineer Squadron’s fire trucks to extinguish the aircraft fires. Firefighters from Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic came to Ramstein AB to receive certification on extracting pilots and extinguishing aircraft fires. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater)

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