On February 3, Fire Station 27 personnel were among the well-wishers escorting the soldiers of the 376th Human Resources Company, 371st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command from their base in the City of Bell to the airport to begin their nine-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. While Fire Station 27 has regularly welcomed home troops returning from their deployments, this was the first time we helped see a unit off before heading out to their mission. Our rigs proudly displayed the American flag to the departing troops, happily surprising them and their families on this solemn day.
“They were elated to see us there,” says Battalion Chief Mike Brown. “It is very meaningful to them to see us showing our support, since they usually only get a police escort to the airport.”
This local partnership began several months ago, when Brown noticed that the local reserve Naval station, which also houses personnel from the United States Marines and Army, had a large space on their grounds. Thinking it would be a good space for our firefighters to utilize for practice, Brown contacted the Sergeant Major, who readily agreed, and asked if our firefighters would be open to setting up a flag to welcome home a unit returning from a nine-month deployment. Our crews were happy to oblige, and since then have greeted four separate units returning home from tours of duty.
“While they saw it from the local perspective, we saw it from the global perspective,” says Brown. “These are the troops protecting our country and we’re happy to do it.”