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Andersen Firefighters demonstrate Courage to Act, Ability to Perform, Desire to Serve

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Courtney Witt
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The Andersen Fire Department won three out of six Pacific Air Force level awards available for fire squadrons in 2008 including the Firefighter Heroism Team Award. 

"There were nine fire departments in PACAF vying for only six awards," said Fire Chief John Thompson. "So us winning three of the six and seeing five tremendously talented fire departments at other PACAF bases be shut out was humbling to say the least," he said. 

The Firefighter Heroism Team Award was awarded to 52 members for their bravery during the B-2 crash Feb. 23, 2008. 

"The Andersen firefighters are Airmen just like you and me," said Chief Thompson. But in 2008 they were tested like no other Fire Department in the history of the Air Force and they performed magnificently and I am extremely proud to lead this organization!"

Other Andersen firefighter award winners for 2008 include: Mr. Jason Crandall, Civilian firefighter of the year and Senior Master Sgt. Richard Lien, Senior Fire Officer of the Year.

Senior Master Sgt. Richard Lien was the first and only senior fire officer to command during the February 23, 200 B-2 crash, where he was in-charge of hundreds of personnel and 56 emergency responders. He was also fire chief during the B-52 crash July 21, 2008, and was one of the first on scene when a young team Andersen member nearly drowned in the base pool. Stress does no justice to the monumental tasks he was faced with in 2008.

"He is clearly the best fire officer in PACAF and in the entire Air Force in my mind," exclaimed Chief Thompson.

From day one, firefighters are imbued with the motto "Courage to Act, Ability to Perform, Desire to Serve." A culmination of this creed and the 23 years of experience, and a hardworking team of firefighters provided Senior Lien the means needed to respond to the events of 2008.

"I had a great year because of the tremendous synergy that we have in our fire department. It's a humbling feeling to work and live around real-life heroes who are dedicated to putting forth the extra effort 24-hours a day to protect the lives, property, and environment on Andersen," Senior Lien said. "Getting to be on a team of all-stars is a reward unto itself. I was successful, because our team was successful."

The award winners are now competing at the Air Force level and then the Air Force winners will compete for Department of Defense honors the results are expected to be released June 2009.

"I am extremely proud to lead this great group of firefighters during such an historic time in our Air Force," said Chief Thompson. "I've been in Air Force fire protection for 26 years and saw things in 2008 that I have never seen before, and frankly hope I never see again."