MCB Hawaii Marine awarded title of Firefighter of the Year
Submitted by: MCB Hawaii
Story Identification Number: 2003991641
Story by Cpl. Jessica M. Mills



MCB HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii(September 5, 2003) -- Military firefighters may be some of the hardest working Marines in the Corps. They put blood, sweat and tears into their training and drills, all in an effort to perfect their skills in saving lives.

Each year these Marine firefighters tally their experiences, education and performance from all year together and compete for the prestigious title of Marine Corps Military Firefighter of the Year.

On Aug. 27, Sgt. Brandon Link, a primary rescue man for Crash, Fire, Rescue aboard MCB Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, attended the DoD Fire and Emergency Service Awards Banquet in Dallas, Texas, where he was named the Marine Corps Firefighter of the Year for 2002.

Link, who is also pursuing an associates degree in fire science at the University of Maryland and Honolulu Community College, did not expect the honor.

"We don't really get that many emergency incidents here at MCB Hawaii," said Link. "So, they had to look more at my overall performance than experiences, I did not think I had a chance really.

"They looked at my ideas for improving Crash, Fire, Rescue, my performance record as a Marine and a firefighter, my qualifications and promotions, as well as my outside education and volunteer work."

Although MCB Hawaii may not have had many emergency incidents, when situations did come up, Sgt. Link always played a role.

In May of this year, a wildland fire broke out by the front gate of MCB Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, on the H-3. Although Link was not at the site during the fire, he was in charge of establishing all the crews that were tasked with fighting the fire.

In 2002, he was the Halon 1301 chief for CFR, which means he was in charge of servicing, checking and maintaining the 150 lbs. Fire extinguishers that are placed throughout the flightline. He was also the fire warden for the entire flightline.

"As a primary rescue man I am responsible for pinning the aircraft, rescuing victims and extrication procedures," said Link. "If something happens and there are victims in there, I am going to go in with a hand-line man and rescue them. No questions asked.

"In this field you train for the worst, but hope for the best. I train to pull victims out of danger, but I hope that day never comes," said Link. "But that is why I love this job, I get to do something exciting and help people every chance that comes."

Link is also trained as a first responder, which includes CPR, rescue breathing and Heimlich maneuvers, which he continually updates when required.

Link also competed with firefighters from other services for the Department of Defense military Firefighter of the Year, but he did not win.

"This is a big enough honor anyway, I was speechless when they called my name. I was caught by surprise," said Link. "It is a great feeling to be awarded for something you enjoy doing."

Link plans on pursuing fire science after the Marine Corps and hopes to continue to be a firefighter.



On Aug. 27, Sgt. Brandon Link, a primary rescue man for Crash, Fire, Rescue aboard MCB Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, was named the Marine Corps Firefighter of the Year for 2002.
Photo by: Courtesy of Sgt. Brandon Link


Sempers,

Roger