Three reserve Air Force Fire Fighters deployed to Camp Baird
2 September 2016
The story goes that you have to 'love what you do' and that is certainly true for three Royal Australian Air Force reservists currently deployed with Combat Support Unit 15 to Camp Baird in the Middle East region.
LAC Jed Crosby, SGT Adam Elms and FSGT Lewis MacLennan are not only RAAF Firefighters but also full-time civilian fire brigade officers with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service.
At Camp Baird they work alongside eight fire fighters from the United Kingdom to protect aviation assets and buildings at the camp.
They all began their Air Force fire careers as permanent air force personnel.
They've previously deployed to the Middle East region in similar roles prior to their current service.
LAC Crosby is a station officer for the QLD Fire and Emergency Service and is a reservist at RAAF Base Amberley’s 23SQN.
"I originally did six years in the Air Force full-time as a fire fighter from 2000 to 2006 and deployed here in 2005 when the camp was much smaller," LAC Crosby said.
"I decided to join the QLD fire service in 2006, but stayed in the reserves, as I have always enjoyed my time in the Air Force.
"I wouldn't be in my civilian job if I hadn't had the training and experience from my previous military service."
LAC Crosby is a general duties fire fighter, a much different job from his position with QLD Fire and Emergency Service, where he commands a fire station, managing both personnel and incidents when they arise.
FSGT Lewis MacLennan is the Camp Baird fire manager, CSU 15 fire safety officer and is LAC Crosby's and SGT Elms' supervisor.
He first deployed to Camp Baird in 2003 and 2004.
In his civilian role he's a senior fire fighter who works under LAC Crosby.
"I joined the Air Force in 1996, re-mustered to Fire Fighter in 2000 and transferred to the reserves in 2009 going to the QLD Fire and Emergency Service soon after, where I'm now a senior fire fighter," FSGT MacLennan said.
"I'm Jed's boss here and he'd like to think he's my boss at home, which is an amusing role reversal for us.
"In my role here I manage the British and Australian Coalition Fire Section. We provide a Fire & rescue capability to the Airfield, Camp Baird and the UK's Camp Donnelly.
"In the reserves at home I work at the Fire Training, Air Force Security and Fire School, where I assist the full time staff with basic and post graduate fire fighting courses for Army and Air Force personnel and assist with driver training."
SGT Adam Elms is the airfield fire controller and is one station officer rank above LAC Crosby in his civilian job.
"I originally joined Air Force as a cook and served between 1995 to 1997 and then re-mustered as a fire fighter, serving until I transferred to the reserves in 2005, moving across to the QLD Fire and Emergency Service ," SGT Elms said.
"The reason I did this was I wanted to go on fire calls, which is something most Air Force fire fighters don't get to perfect because we are too good in Defence with prevention.
In his civilian job he is the QLD Fire and Emergency Service recruit course coordinator.
He first deployed to Camp Baird in 2010 and as a reservist now works part-time at 23SQN at RAAF Base Amberley.
"I coordinate and run all of the recruit courses for the permanent work force of QLD fire," he said.
"I programme and manage all of the courses.
"It's a full on job, before I started I didn't have any grey hairs."
Their passion for working in two fire fighting jobs is influenced by one common goal; helping people.
"Coming to work each day and not knowing what will happen, on any given day I can attend a car accident, house fire or visit a school," LAC Crosby said.
"Here I love working with all of the different people in my section from Australia and the UK."
FSGT MacLennan enjoys the opportunity to impart his knowledge and experience on both Air Force and civilian fire service personnel.
"I have real time experience working out in the public trying to keep everyone safe" FSGT MacLennan said.
"Here I take great pride in my position and I enjoy mentoring the younger blokes, It's been a real pivilege and a pleasure."
SGT Elms agrees, helping people remains one his main motivators.
"It's an adrenaline rush getting inside a fire, with the heat and not being able to see and using my other senses to search for people, rescue them and the extinguishing the fire is what I love about my job," SGT Elms said.