Pixel Tracker

Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 4:13 am | Fair 46º


Book Depicts Life of US Air Force Firefighter

Many of us “old timers” like to refer to the “good old days,” usually pointing to references of how it was done much better back then.

The Life of a US Air Force Firefighter 1960–1980 is a compilation of short stories about events that occurred in the daily life of an Air Force firefighter while serving at air bases in three foreign countries and several locations around the United States.

Some would say it represents the “bad old days” because of the absence of good equipment and training that was based on how clean you kept your equipment and fire stations, rather than perfecting the skills of a firefighter.

While some of the stories are tragic, most depict the often-mundane work of fire station life and of course the attitude of the non-commissioned officers that oversaw firefighting operations at the time.

Some excerpts from the book: “A couple of hours into the shift we were dispatched to our emergency-standby spots with instructions that a German Air Force F-86 was coming in with ‘engine problems.’

“We just about got to our place at the approach end of the runway when the airplane, going over 100 miles an hour, hit the small building in front of us between the runways!

“There was not any noise at first, just a big cloud of dust and smoke and a lot of flames; then a huge BOOM.

“Our crew was the first to arrive and the crew in the cab began spraying foam from the rooftop water cannons before the truck stopped; airplane and building parts were everywhere as flaming jet fuel burned.”

“On another morning we were sitting at our position and a flight of four F-4 Phantom jets was preparing for takeoff. These jets were originally built for the Navy; however, the Air Force began testing them in 1962 as fighter-bombers and this was just supposed to be another test of a weapons delivery system.
“They were sitting there a few yards away, their engines running and canopies open doing the final checks before they took off.  Suddenly, as the canopies began to close one of the crewmembers ejected for no apparent reason.

“This was before ‘zero altitude’ ejection seats had been developed and parachutes still didn’t deploy at low altitude, so he simply went up and we sat there mesmerized as the poor guy flew about 100 feet in the air and then plummeted down onto the tail of the airplane and fell to the pavement still strapped to the heavy seat.”
The “rest of the story,”as Paul Harvey used to say, is in the book.

Every person who ever served in the U.S. Air Force or any other military branch has a story to tell; this book tells mine.

The book is divided into easily digestible segments and each chapter is a complete story of events that occurred at specific air base locations; most of those places have been deactivated, but some still exist.

Much has changed since the period this book chronicles; today the firefighters of the US Air Force are dramatically better trained and equipped.

Firefighters meet and exceed national standards, equipment is of modern design and construction, training protocols are equivalent to their civilian counterparts and fire prevention standards are among the finest in the nation.
This book is available at https://www.authorhouse.com/bookstore/bookdetail.aspx?bookid=SKU-001192864.

— Ron Fink.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Dianne and Brianna Johnson
Dianne and Brianna Johnson
"We are committed to making our clients feel special by providing the concierge level service they deserve."

Full Profile >