Seven firefighters from Delaware Air National Guard depart Delaware to begin a six-month deployment to Southwest Asia

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  • By 020511
The Delaware Air National Guard is sending seven Airmen from the unit's firefighting flight to Southwest Asia for six months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

The seven Airmen will relieve two fellow unit members; seven of the nine total unit Airmen are Delaware residents, with one Airman each from with one Airman each from Pennsylvania and Maryland.

The Airmen gathered together Monday at the New Castle ANG Base to complete final preparations and to meet with 166th Airlift Wing and 166th Civil Engineer Squadron leadership. They left home May 10 for Norfolk, Va., where they boarded an overseas flight.

The deployed Airmen are assigned to the fire department under the 405th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, which is part of the 405th Air Expeditionary Group, whose parent wing is the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, operating at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.

Each Airman will work a 24-hour shift, working for 24 hours straight at one of the two base fire stations, then off-duty for 24 hours. The firefighters will perform all standard base firefighting duties to include fire protection services for all U.S. and coalition aircraft at their facility. This will be the first overseas deployment for three of the firefighters.

The deploying Airmen will relieve two Airmen from the same Delaware ANG firefighting unit who have been on duty for several months in the same location. All of the deploying and returning Airmen live in the local region; seven of the nine Airmen are residents of Delaware, with one each from Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Six of the Airmen are volunteer firefighters in their community. Three of the firefighters work full-time in the fire department in the Delaware Air National Guard. The seven deploying Airmen have a combined 75 years of volunteer firefighting experience, and 47 years of full-time firefighting experience.

Colonel Jonathan H. Groff, 166th Airlift Wing commander, said, "Like some of our other smaller units, our firefighters leave for overseas duty and return home without much fanfare, but their service matters every bit as much as that of the Airmen in any other unit of our wing."

"This is a community of firefighters, a family in the best sense of what the Guard is," said Senior Master Sgt. Jim Zent, fire chief of the 166th Civil Engineering Squadron's firefighting flight. "We are proud of the service of the two Airmen who are completing their duty at the deployed location. We are sending a very capable team to replace them, to include one very well-trained but relatively new member, and six highly experienced firefighters. These firefighters are what we call the human insurance policy for the many military members they will be serving alongside."

The seven deploying firefighters:

Tech. Sgt. Martin Krasavage, a resident of Middletown, Del., and a volunteer fighter in Middletown, Del.

Staff Sgt. Michael Puglisi, a resident of Newark, Del., and a career firefighter with the Washington D.C. Fire Department. Sgt. Puglisi also worked for the U.S. Forest Service 2001-2007 as a wild land firefighter in the states of Washington and Minnesota.

Staff Sgt. Edward Brooks, a resident of Wilmington, Del., and a career firefighter with the Wilmington, Del. Fire Department.

Senior Airman John Buchanan, a resident of Elsmere, Del., and a volunteer firefighter in Elsmere, Del.

Airman 1st Class Ronald Stanton, a resident of Newark, Del., and a volunteer firefighter in Avondale, Pa.

Airman 1st Class Burns, a resident of Philadelphia, Pa.

Airman Joshua Davis, a resident of Newark, Del., and a volunteer firefighter in Newark, Del.

The two firefighters being replaced and returning home soon:

Staff Sgt. Jason Goodsell, a resident of Delaware.

Senior Airman Sean Simon, a resident of Maryland.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

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