MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Fire can be the most serious and deadliest hazard to a ship and its crew at sea. Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-264 (Reinforced) learned the skills and knowledge essential to assisting a crew in combating a blaze aboard ship at Basic Aircraft Shipboard Firefighter Training, held here June 5-9 at the firefighting training area.
Each day, a different group of 30-50 Marines learned the importance of shipboard firefighting.
Navy firefighting instructors from the Farrier Firefighting School in Norfolk, Va., conducted the training, which introduced the Marines to proper hose-handling procedures, different firefighting systems aboard ship and the chemical agents used to fight shipboard fires.
The instructors taught the Marines valuable lessons which emphasized the teamwork required to battle shipboard fires.
"Everybody aboard a ship is responsible for fighting fires," said Petty Officer 1st Class (AW/SW/MTS) Gary L. Credit, Leading Petty Officer of the Mobile Firefighting Training Team. "Anyone who comes aboard needs to be able to lend a hand."
The instructors presented most of the information in a series of classroom lectures identifying the different types and compositions of fires and how to fight them.
Marines donned flash hoods, gloves, goggles and helmets to test their new-found knowledge and skills with a practical application, which followed the classroom portion of the course.
The instructors divided the Marines into two teams to battle a tower of fire that soared more than sixty feet in the air.
The instructors and the Camp Lejeune Fire Department monitored the training and ensured Marines used the proper safety and firefighting techniques.
The course is a requirement for all MEU embarkation personnel as well as those who will work on or around a flight deck, and gives the Marines good shipboard safety training, said Maj. Eric J. Jessen, 26th MEU Air Officer.
The MEU continued to enhance operational skills in advance of its established pre-deployment training schedule by working closely with HMM-264 (Rein.) and getting the necessary personnel to attend the firefighter training, said Jessen.
He added that the MEU is also further along in establishing good working relationships with HMM-264 (Rein.) and its other major subordinate elements, Battalion Landing Team Second Battalion, Second Marines, and Combat Logistics Battalion-26, than it was at this point before its last deployment in April 2005.
"There is a real one team, one fight mentality going on right now," he said.
The 26th MEU will assume operational control of its MSE's when it stands-up later this month and then embark on a rigorous six-month pre-deployment training program culminating in a scheduled 2007 deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.