Firefighters: protecting those who defend America

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jeremy Roman
  • 301st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

On October 1, 1994, NAS JRB Fort Worth was established as the first joint base in the country. Currently, the installation is comprised of approximately 40 separate commands which includes 10,000 (Airman, marine, sailor and soldier) Active Duty, Guardsmen, Reservists, and civilian employees. As each team or office completes its respective mission, their total force integration combines into overall national defense strategy accomplishment.

One installation unit who plays an essential role to the success of each mission here is the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Fire and Emergency Services Department.

“Our mission—Protecting Those Who Defend America— is written on the sides of our apparatus,” said John Shelton, NAS Fort Worth Fire Dept. firefighter emergency medical technician. “Our in-house motto is "YEA, WE DO THAT", as in, whatever we are called upon to do for our community, we are there, eager, and ready to serve.”

Along with base responsibility, NAS Fort Worth FD also has joint response capability with Lockheed Martin (Fort Worth) and the City of Fort Worth Fire Department. The NAS Fort Worth FD stands ready whenever called.

“We have a fully manned station of at least 14 personnel each shift on duty [in order to] handle a variety of emergencies and support which includes fire, medical, hazardous material and confined space,” Shelton said. “With the 301st Fighter Wing or other squadrons, we also support aircraft emergencies which include everything from fuel leaks, bird strikes, arrested landings, and of course, crashes.” 

Having to cover the myriad of potential scenarios, Shelton explained the importance of their proficiency.

“With more than 40 personnel on board in our department, we are all certified through the Department of Defense Accreditation Program for a multitude of firefighting skills, as well as National Registry Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics,” Shelton said. “The program aims to enhance DoD emergency response capability as well as ensure fire and emergency services (F&ES) personnel are medically qualified to perform F&ES duties.”

Coupled with skill, mission readiness within the department is paramount.

“A typical rotation at the firehouse is a 48 hour shift, from 7:45 A.M. to 7:45 A.M.,” said Shelton. “A typical day includes cleaning and inspecting the apparatus and station, continuing education training for the various certifications we hold, preparing meals, and of course, being ready to respond at a moment's notice. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year we're here.”

Many of these firefighters who protect those who serve America, understand what is required because they have served themselves.

“I would say 98% of our team are veterans, from all branches, and most of us served in the fire service while in service,” Shelton, a U.S. Marine Corps firefighter veteran of six years explained. “We have a handful of personnel presently serving in the Reserve as well. Our team members who never served in the military are definitely serving the military now, so we are all in it together.”

We may not be able to see all of their skill, experience, knowledge and preparedness demonstrated, but one thing which really shines through is their passion.

“We love the interaction with the public. We were all that little boy or girl back in the day, and would see the big, bright, shiny fire truck drive up, and we love nothing more than to visit with the young (and old) and show them the trucks and equipment,” Shelton said. “If we're out and about, and not in an emergency status call, come up and say hi. We may even let you pull the air horn.”

Shelton concluded by expressing the pride he and his team feels while appropriately summarizing how the missions of this joint reserve base get accomplished: “serving our country in different capacities, we, of course, are all together…as patriots.”


MISSION: Protecting those that defend America.



  1. INTEGRITY (for those we serve and those we serve with); keeping our promises, walking with character and integrity are the only ways to earn trust in each other and with the public we serve.
  2. HONOR (for those who have gone before us); this captures tradition, remembrance, respect and pride.
  3. LEGACY (for those we will entrust the future); looking ahead, acting in a way today that cements a path worthy of others to follow tomorrow.


ETHOS: “Yeah, we do THAT!”

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