Thursday, July 13, 2017

Oklahoma Air National Guard Firefighter charged in Okla. Air Force recruitment center blast.

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On Wednesday, Attorney Loretta F. Radford charged 28-year-old Benjamin Don Roden of Tulsa with malicious damage to federal property by use of explosive, use of explosive to commit the federal felony and two counts of destruction of federal property. Radford stated she believes Roden's motive was "pure hatred against the military."

Roden was a decorated senior airman in the U.S. Air Force, where he worked as a firefighter at the Oklahoma Air National Guard. He received three awards for operations dealing with the global war on terrorism and a national defense service medal, according to Oklahoma Air National Guard Capt. Jennifer Proctor.

Court documents show the former airman wanted to become a U.S. Marine, but was rejected and ultimately blamed the Air Force. His last commanding officer, Sgt. Brian Curtis, said Roden "hated the military" and "received disciplinary actions for his conduct." He said he believes Roden is "smart and capable of constructing electronic devices."

A search warrant served at Roden's home, along with his parent's residence, recovered materials associated with manufacturing explosive devices and a bag that contained two pipe bombs.

"We do not believe he should be released to the community, mainly because of his ability to create pipe bombs," Radford said.

At this time, the FBI does not believe the incident was an act of domestic terrorism.

Roden is being held at Tulsa County Jail. He is expected to appear in court on Friday.

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A bomb exploded at a US Air Force recruitment center in Bixby, Oklahoma

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Camp Pendleton’s annual Wildland Firefighting Exercise

Roblar Fire 2016
Photo By Cpl. Tyler Dietrich | Helicopters fill up with water from Lake O’Neill to assist Camp Pendleton Firefighters during the Roblar Fire on Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 22, 2016. The Roblar Fire has burned 2,000 acres and currently at 30% containment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tyler S. Dietrich)
Story by Gunnery Sgt. Lynn Kinney
Marine Corps Installations West - Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Marine Corps Installations West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton’s annual Wildland Firefighting Exercise is, once again, bringing together assets from I Marine Expeditionary Force, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Navy Region Southwest, 3rd Fleet, CAL FIRE and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, May 1 to 5, to prepare for fire season.

Significant wildland fires throughout San Diego County in October of 2007 lead officials to seek a partnership between military and civilian aviation and firefighting assets to better manage crisis aboard regional military installations and in the surrounding communities.

Though several fires burned during the 2-week, according to CAL FIRE archives, the Ammo Fire alone burned more than 21 thousand acres of Camp Pendleton.

Since then, Camp Pendleton security and safety agencies, and local departments have been working together to streamline response and integrated communication efforts to provide ready, trained and certified military and civilian resources to combat wildland fires in the region, culminating with a cooperative effort to extinguish wildland fires.

According to George Shinrock, MCI-West Fire and Emergency Services program manager, the coordination for Defense Support of Civil Authorities is a year-round mission.

“With ever-changing and rotating personnel, it is important that we maintain communication and exercise the methodology and allow those decision makers the opportunity to [make the call to] get aircraft to respond,” said Shinrock.

All regional agencies participating have a vested interest in honing the relationships in preparation for what could be a heavy fire season, said Shinrock, career fire fighter and retired Marine, stressing the importance of Camp Pendleton’s training areas to I MEF’s ability to deploy it’s global force.

“While the recent rains were great for the region and have resulted in a very nice Spring, it is a part of the natural life cycle. Fire is also a part life cycle, when (the vegetation) dies off,” said Isaac Sanchez, the public information officer with CAL FIRE. “There has been a massive increase in grass here in San Diego County, increasing the threat of a catastrophic fire. It just adds more fuel.”

Sanchez highlighted the uniqueness of the relationships between the organizations participating in the exercise.

“All these agencies are eager to maintain open lines of communication to ensure the process is known and can be implemented in an efficient manner,” said Sanchez of the flow in which requests are routed from civil agencies to regional military units and installations.

“We are all working to combat the ravages of wildfires, both on and off the installations in the region,” said Shinrock, explaining how all these communities are affected by wildfires, from traffic on Interstate-5, to the rail line that travels through part of Camp Pendleton-which can all have direct off-base effects.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Air Force responding to Avon Park AFR wildfire

Air Force Wildland Fire Center responding to Avon Park AFR wildfire
Courtesy Photo | An Air Force Wildland Fire Center team, supported by teams from the Florida Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is working to contain an 8,000-acre wildfire on the Avon Park Air Force Range in Florida. The AFWFC is part of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Environmental Directorate at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. (Florida Forest Service photo)
Courtesy Story
Air Force Civil Engineer Center

An Air Force Wildland Fire Center team is leveraging internal assets and interagency partnerships to contain the Echo Springs Wildfire, an 8,000-acre wildfire on the Avon Park Air Force Range in Florida.

Avon Park serves as a bombing range and air ground training complex for the military.

Currently, 25 percent contained, the wildfire started May 17 from range activity and is burning in an area with unexploded ordnance which limits suppression options, according to Tracy Meeks, AFWFC branch chief.

To contain the fire at the range, located in Polk and Highlands Counties, firefighters are focusing on cutting firebreaks with bulldozers and heavy equipment.

“Firebreaks create gaps in vegetation and remove fuel from the wildfire’s path to slow or stop the burn,” Meeks explained.

The AFWFC is the lead agency in the response efforts; the center is supported by strike teams from the Florida Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Firefighters and equipment from AFWFC Wildland Support Modules at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, are also en route to assist the efforts.

The AFWFC is part of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Environmental Directorate at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. WSMs around the country are trained and equipped for wildfire response and management either on a seasonal or full-time basis.

Robust training, preparation, and strong interagency collaborations enable quick responses to wildfires threating Air Force missions, assets and people. Wildland firefighters are also National Wildfire Coordinating Group qualified and always ready to respond to a wildfire.

“(Our teams) are in a constant state of preparing and training for wildland fire operations. WSMs take proactive measures to mitigate wildfire risk, including prescribed burns and mechanical fuel treatments which reduce combustible materials available to a fire,” Meeks said.

Additionally, the AFWFC routinely collaborates with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service to focus on fire threats and maximize shared resources.

“Interagency collaboration is critical to ensuring we can respond to wildfires and take proactive preventive actions. The success of our program relies on those partnerships because they have established expertise in wildland fire management and the core competencies to ensure our program’s success,” Meeks said.

“The AFWFC was established through interagency collaboration in order to better prepare the Air Force for these types of events. The quick interagency response to this wildfire, including the Wildland Support Modules is going exactly according to plan,” said Richard Trevino, operations division chief for the AFCEC Environmental Directorate.