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Reserve firefighters pay tribute to 9/11 comrades

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Krystin Trosper
  • 507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Firefighters from the 507th Civil Engineer Squadron participated in their 5th Annual Fire climb on Sept. 7 to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Inspired by firefighter cadets in Austin, Texas, members of the 507th Air Refueling Wing climbed the equivalent of 110 stories to commemorate the 343 firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center.

Members donned full firefighter gear and traded packs of equipment as they climbed up and down the fire-training tower at the end of Reserve Road. The packs contained hatchets, oxygen tanks, fire hoses and the U.S. flag. Emergency medical technicians kept time to ensure the firefighters participating could complete the 18 laps within 56 minutes, the amount of time it took the South Tower of the World Trade Center to collapse after it was struck by an airliner.

507th CES Assistant Chief of Operations Master Sgt. Adrain Smith says they are not only commemorating those killed during the Sept. 11 attacks, but also military personnel.

"Military members were not directly killed in the 9/11 attacks on the towers but many perished in subsequent battles as a result," Smith said at the end of the event.

The tribute held dual functions for the Airmen participating. In addition to paying tribute to the victims of the attacks, firefighters were able to mimic conditions that they may face during an emergency.

"We do our part and it also helps us stay in shape," said Staff Sgt. Chase Blair, firefighter for the 507th CES. "It helps us stay realistic and practical with what we may come across in real life."

Lt. Col. Patricia Pettine, the commander of the 507th CES, spoke praise of not only the firefighters under her command but other Airmen participating as well.

"This year, we opened the event to all members in the wing," Pettine said. "It was great to see such support from so many in the wing."

Even after the allotted time was up, Airmen continued to climb the stairs to complete the 110 stories.

"The family members are still living on," said Smith as he looked on. "We have not forgotten them, and we never will."