ABDULLAH AL MUBARAK AIR BASE, Kuwait --
U.S. Air Force and Kuwaiti firefighters recently joined forces to put out a hangar fire, here.
The fire, which was caused by an electrical failure, engulfed a hangar and destroyed a Kuwaiti Air Police AS356-(MOI) 03 Dolphin helicopter.
The Kuwaiti firefighters worked side-by-side with the American firemen and they were able to put the fire out before it spread to other buildings and equipment nearby, said Kuwaiti Brig. Gen. Omar E. Al-Marshoud, Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base fire chief.
When the U.S. firefighters arrived and began to communicate with the Kuwaiti’s through a translator, they realized it was too hot to enter through the front door to attempt to put out the flame.
The combined team made the quick decision to cut a door sized gap in the backside of the building ventilating the smoke and helped save the adjacent building which had another aircraft inside, said Tech. Sgt. Patrick Bentley, 386th Civil Engineer Squadron assistant chief of operations.
Even though they work in different buildings, speak different languages and use different equipment their goals are the same.
“We’re firefighters, they’re firefighters, so we both want the same thing; to save lives, save property, save as much as we can. Having that communication and connection helps us do that quicker,” said Bentley. “Working together more, them getting to know their equipment, us using theirs, just working together, will create a better relationship and partnership going into the future.”
The two fire departments have been working together for the past two years, Al-Marshoud remembers what the Americans did for him and his family more than 20 years ago.
“I was here in 1990, American troops saved us, my country and my family,” said Al-Marshoud. “I hope we will work together more in the future. It would be my pleasure to have some troops near mine, eating with us maybe even learn some English.”
That is a sentiment felt on both sides.
“The fact that we worked together so smoothly and even with the barriers we overcame it together and got the job done and that’s what it’s all about,” said Bentley.