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DOD Announces Winners of the 2023 DOD Fire and Emergency Services Awards

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  • By DOD Public Affairs
  • Department of Defense

Today, the Department of Defense announced the recipients of the 2023 DOD Fire and Emergency Services (F&ES) Awards for outstanding accomplishments of its fire departments, fire officers, and firefighters.  DOD F&ES Working Group representatives from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Defense Logistics Agency selected nine winners from a total of 41 nominations.

"With a strong focus on reducing risks to military installations and training lands, DOD F&ES worked diligently [in 2023] to streamline planning and decision-making, minimizing disruptions that affect mission-critical resources," stated Brendan Owens, assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations, and environment.  "DOD F&ES will continue to serve as the foundation of installation resilience while protecting people, lands, and the Department's mission from accidents and catastrophes."

Each year, three of DOD's most outstanding fire departments receive recognition for achieving the highest degree of excellence in mission support and fire protection management.  In addition, DOD's best fire prevention program receives an award based on its depth and breadth, effectiveness, educational value, and thoroughness in direct support of the organization's mission.

One military firefighter and one civilian firefighter each receive an award for their superior job performance, innovation, and outstanding contributions to a DOD F&ES organization.  One military fire officer and one civilian fire officer each receive an award for their superior job performance, outstanding contributions, and leadership for a DOD F&ES organization.  In addition, one fire service instructor receives an award for superior job performance, resourcefulness, and outstanding contributions to a DOD F&ES organization.

Highlights of each winner's 2023 achievements demonstrating their unwavering commitment as our first responders to protecting the lives of service members, their families, and the public and their dedication to safeguard the DOD mission are below:

Fire Department of the Year, Small Category:  90th Civil Engineer Squadron, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming – Led 375 fire inspections and corrected 457 deficiencies, earning a Superior Team Award.  The department responded to a mutual aid, multi-residential fire, in which four firefighters halted the flames and saved 15 homes.  The department also partnered with the Wyoming Department of Transportation and local hospitals to develop the installation's first car seat inspection program, certifying 10 personnel, inspecting 23 cars, and validating 51 car seats.

Fire Department of the Year, Medium Category:  Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan – Responded to 1,025 emergencies, 14 fires, 420 medical emergencies, and 110 shipboard incidents.  The department organized a 16-week fire academy, training six cadets with 720 service hours, 24 certifications, and a 100-percent pass rate.  Additionally, this department published a multi-agency carrier Fire Response Plan that solidified an integrated fire response.

Fire Department of the Year, Large Category:  99th Civil Engineer Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada – Responded to 1,600 emergencies, including four structural, five vehicle, three aircraft, and four wildland fires.  The department led a 7-day safety campaign with 11 county agencies, teaching 40,000 individuals and raising $7,000 for five different nonprofit organizations.  The department also finalized a 3-year $284,000 Go-Green project in collaboration with five accredited agencies and established the first clean burning training facility in 82-years, exceeding Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards and saving $10,000 annually.

Fire Prevention Program of the Year:  Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Okinawa, Japan – Orchestrated over 1,238 fire inspections on 1,363 camp facilities encompassing 19,497,308 square feet.  This effort led to a 93-percent overall annual inspection completion.  The Fire Prevention Program organized 155 public education events, teaching fire safety to over 9,000 people.  The program also completed 560 fire evacuation drills, with participation from more than 36,000 personnel.

Military Firefighter of the Year:  Aviation Boatswain's Mate Aircraft Handler First Class Petty Officer Anna Perez, Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy – Mitigated 65 emergencies, protecting 10,000 personnel, and preserving 354 facilities with a total value of $1.8 billion.  Additionally, Petty Officer Perez provided career development mentorship to all Navy Aviation Boatswain's Mates, resulting in one of her peer sailors winning the Firefighter of the Year Award in 2022.  She also executed life-saving medical interventions for a patient experiencing an altered mental state, conducting vital assessments, and facilitating transport that resulted in the patient's full recovery.

Civilian Firefighter of the Year:  Jeffry Frawley, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas – Served as the chief architect for the pre-fire plan program, dedicating over 200 hours updating 50 plans by identifying hazards, hydrants, and facility layout, which improved team safety and incident mitigation strategies.  Firefighter Frawley also spent more than 90 hours mentoring in-house paramedic students on skills and tests and over 12 hours mentoring new members on testing Level-A hazardous materials and documentation.

Military Fire Officer of the Year:  Senior Master Sergeant Michael E. Nalley, Jr., Joint Base San Antonio, Texas – Served as the senior enlisted leader for 190 military personnel and civilians, overseeing 13 Air Force Specialty Code workforces with 57 contracts in maintenance, repair, and construction worth $12.5 million in sustainment initiatives.  Master Sergeant Nalley, Jr., also led incident command on a mutual aid call for a house fire.  He established safety protocols and provided resupply operations and a fire attack to help extinguish flames and salvage the home of a 5-member family.

Civilian Fire Officer of the Year:  Deputy Fire Chief Adam J. Montoya, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany – Managed Army's largest fire department in Europe, including six fire stations, two dispatch centers, and 235 firefighters.  Deputy Fire Chief Montoya protected 40,000 individuals and $13 billion in assets and had $0 in fire loss.  Additionally, he authored the largest mutual aid agreement in Germany between the United States and host nation partners.  He also forged a training alliance with the host nation responders and established reciprocal arrangements with the German Red Cross.

Fire Service Instructor of the Year:  Interim Training Chief Tobias Lang, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany – Managed the training program for 235 firefighters, overseeing 1,200 classes and 5,000 hours of training, resulting in zero fire loss, protecting $13 billion in assets, and maintaining mission readiness.  Interim Training Chief Lang was the architect behind the department's rookie training program.  He established a working group on active shooter situations and partnered with school emergency management/crisis intervention teams and military police responders to conduct training exercises to improve prevention, mitigation, and response for these situations.

Congratulations to all the winners for their remarkable achievements as they continue to support installation resilience. To find out more, visit the DoD F&ES Awards website at: