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Nigerian Air Force Firefighters Visit 17th AF, Ramstein Fire Dogs
In the early morning hours of September 2, 2010, Senior Airman Winston Jerez hung suspended from a building in the 435th Construction Training Squadron (CTS) compound, demonstrating the basket operation rescue maneuver to three firefighters from
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany - (Left to right) Nigerian Forces Warrant Officer and Fireman James Ochai, Wing Commander Sola Akinboyewa, Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Wyatt, and Senior Airman Winston Jerez, Ramstein Fire Department (86th Civil Engineer Squadron), demonstrate life-saving rescue maneuvers for the Nigerians as a part of their familiarization visit to Ramstein September 3, 2010. During their visit, they received a series of orientations to provide information and the basis for continued cooperation between U.S. and Nigerian Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Jodi Leininger)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 2: RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany - (Left to right) Nigerian Forces Warrant Officer and Fireman James Ochai, Wing Commander Sola Akinboyewa, Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Wyatt, and Senior Airman Winston Jerez, Ramstein Fire Department (86th Civil Engineer Squadron), demonstrate life-saving rescue maneuvers for the Nigerians as a part of their familiarization visit to Ramstein September 3, 2010. During their visit, they received a series of orientations to provide information and the basis for continued cooperation between U.S. and Nigerian Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Jodi Leininger) Download full-resolution version
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany - Major General Margaret Woodward (right), commander of 17th Air Force (Air Forces Africa), gives Nigerian Forces Wing Commander Sola Akinboyewa, HQ Air Traffic Services, a coin during a Nigerian familiarization visit in Ramstein September 3, 2010. The team, comprised of firefighting officials, received a series of orientations on U.S. Air Force firefighting techniques and resources, and established a basis for continued cooperation between U.S. and Nigerian forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Jodi Leininger)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 2: RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany - Major General Margaret Woodward (right), commander of 17th Air Force (Air Forces Africa), gives Nigerian Forces Wing Commander Sola Akinboyewa, HQ Air Traffic Services, a coin during a Nigerian familiarization visit in Ramstein September 3, 2010. The team, comprised of firefighting officials, received a series of orientations on U.S. Air Force firefighting techniques and resources, and established a basis for continued cooperation between U.S. and Nigerian forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Jodi Leininger) Download full-resolution version
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany - (Left to right) Nigerian Forces Warrant Officer and Fireman James Ochai, Wing Commander Sola Akinboyewa, Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Wyatt, and Senior Airman Winston Jerez, Ramstein Fire Department (86th Civil Engineer Squadron), demonstrate life-saving rescue maneuvers for the Nigerians as a part of their familiarization visit to Ramstein September 3, 2010. During their visit, they received a series of orientations to provide information and the basis for continued cooperation between U.S. and Nigerian Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Jodi Leininger)
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany - Major General Margaret Woodward (right), commander of 17th Air Force (Air Forces Africa), gives Nigerian Forces Wing Commander Sola Akinboyewa, HQ Air Traffic Services, a coin during a Nigerian familiarization visit in Ramstein September 3, 2010. The team, comprised of firefighting officials, received a series of orientations on U.S. Air Force firefighting techniques and resources, and established a basis for continued cooperation between U.S. and Nigerian forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Jodi Leininger)
In the early morning hours of September 2, 2010, Senior Airman Winston Jerez hung suspended from a building in the 435th Construction Training Squadron (CTS) compound, demonstrating the basket operation rescue maneuver to three firefighters from the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

The representatives included NAF Wing Commander Sola Akinboyewa, Warrant Officers Abibu Kazeem and James Ochai, who were visiting Ramstein as part of a familiarization hosted by 17th Air Force (Air Forces Africa). With the help of Ramstein firefighters, they observed U.S. Air Force techniques with hopes of putting what they learned into practice back in Nigeria.

Using a complex arrangement of rope pulleys, CTS Fire Instructor Staff Sergeant Ron Lee hoisted Jerez, also an instructor with the CTS, off the ground and halfway to a training building's roof while instructor Technical Sergeant Jeffrey Wyatt narrated events and responded to questions from the experienced NAF firefighters. Explaining the use of the rope system and how to bring a man up from the ground, and a patient down, Lee emphasized the importance of rescuer communication to preserve patient safety, during this critical operation.

"The men are more conscientious of patient safety when they have experienced riding in the basket for themselves; so we try to give everyone a turn in the basket," Wyatt explained to NAF firefighters.

While the Nigerians have been fighting fires and rescuing occupants for more than 15 years, they had never seen the type of equipment used by U.S. firefighters.

Responding to what he observed, Commander Akinboyewa noted the difference in his firefighting experience, "in our training and operational methods there isn't enough emphasis on safety to personnel."

Akinboyewa expressed his desire to create new safety standards for NAF firefighting doctrine once he returned to Nigeria.

Following the rescue demonstration, the NAF officers were treated to a tour of Ramstein fire facilities, including classrooms, further reinforcing the preeminent role that recurring training plays within this critical occupation. Ramstein firefighters also demonstrated the vital requirement to document and track individual firefighter skill attainment.

The NAF guests, who hail from both the managerial and operational spheres of NAF firefighting, seemed to take away real-world knowledge from their review of operations.

"It only makes sense that we should learn from them [U.S. Forces]. They are the most experienced in the world. And Nigeria still has a long way to go in terms of experience. So visits like this give us a chance to borrow from that experience as we further develop our own systems," Akinboyewa said. "We can take this knowledge back with us and share with our firemen."

The Nigerians also spent time at 17 Air Forces headquarters, meeting with Commander Major General Margaret H. Woodward to discuss future engagements and build on the partnership that began shortly after the unit stood up in October 2008. The group also observed the mutual aid exercise in Ramstein village September 4.

A key element in strengthening the partnership between the participants was the expertise shared between firefighters. The hosts from Ramstein were delighted to share their knowledge with their occupational brothers, Wyatt explained.

"They show a great interest in our practices. Firefighters share a special bond which reminds us of how important our mission is."
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