Airmen Participate in German Firefighter Challenge

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Spangdahlem Air Base firefighters hosted and participated in the first Mosel Firefighter Combat Challenge July 5-6, in Ediger-Eller, Germany.   "(The) firefighter combat challenge is where all the firefighters from across Europe come together to have fun and compete against each other," said Senior Master Sgt. Jason Theriault, the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron deputy fire chief. "We have firefighters here from Poland, Slovenia, Great Britain, Canada, France and three U.S. air bases in Europe."   The trial consisted of obstacles a firefighter could face while battling a real fire.

"The challenge simulates a structure fire, such as people going inside a building, hoisting up equipment, hammer blow, pulling hose and rescuing a victim," said Gerd Mueller, a 52nd CES firefighter. "It's a task of five different events, combined into one sporting event."   Mueller was a key organizer of the challenge, which took more than six months to plan and execute.

"As firefighters, this is the best way to showcase our job to the public," Mueller said. "A lot of people think we just sit around waiting for a call, but we have to train and maintain our fitness and firefighting techniques."   The Spangdahlem AB firefighter team beat out firefighters from Ramstein AB, Germany, and Royal Air Force Alconbury, England, to take home the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa championship.

The challenge is known by firefighters as the toughest two minutes in sports.

"Pain!," said Airman 1st Class Scott Weeks, a 52nd CES firefighter. "It's a pain like no other. You can train as hard as you can for this competition and you're still going to feel the same when you finish. Doesn't matter if you finish in four minutes or a minute and a half, you're going to feel the same."

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