Mason McKinley recently went to Florida for a training exchange at Eglin Air Force Base. Read his firsthand account of his experience.
It was only my second day at Eglin, and we received a report of smoke on the installation from the civil air patrol. I had been designated in a trainee position to lead any wildfire initial attacks. It was the end of the normal workday, and the crew was just returning from an 800 acre controlled burn. We rounded up our initial attack crew of three and headed out to find the wildfire.
What was I doing at Eglin AFB on the Florida Panhandle? Eglin was recently recognized as the military’s center for excellence in wildland fire. This designation recognizes and strengthens the base’s emphasis on providing training for firefighters from across the nation. Our connection with Joint Base Lewis-McChord enabled me to spend the two weeks training at Eglin to become an Incident Commander Type 4 (ICT4).