Kunsan AB fire team celebrates excellence, DoD award

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Emili Koonce
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 8th Fighter Wing commander unfurled two new award banners in the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron fire station vehicle bay, recognizing the 2022 Air Force and Department of Defense fire department of the year October 6.

The recognition coincides with the start of Fire Prevention Week, a historic national observance with the first proclamation signed by President Calvin Coolidge in 1925. Fire Prevention Week is the longest-running public health observance in the U.S.

Kunsan AB’s fire department also has a long-running history of excellence.

“Kunsan has won the DoD three times in the past 15 years and the Air Force five times,” said Senior Master Sgt. Paul Watts, 8th CES fire chief. “I tried to foster an environment for people to be successful and use innovation to solve problems, but a big reason for our success would be the continuity our eight Korean national teammates bring.”

As a station with three fire trucks always on standby, the station won within the small department category. However, their feats for the year include battling a fuel truck fire and stopping the flames from reaching a 6,000-gallon fuel tank, preventing an explosion and saving an $18 million facility by extinguishing kitchen and boiler room flames.

“We hung the banners in our vehicle stalls so people see them every day and I hope they feel proud to be a part of the Wolf Pack dynasty and contribute additional banners in their time here,” said Watts. “I want the future firefighters to see the standard at Kunsan is winning and try to live up to the past teams and so I hope it inspires them to achieve similar results.”