MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan — Senior fire officers with the U.S. Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, Army and Department of Defense Master Labor Contractors attended a Bambi Bucket firefighting water delivery system and MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft display June 10 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific.
The displays are part of the MLC Senior Fire Officer Sessions held at different U.S. installations across Okinawa to showcase firefighting capabilities, techniques and equipment, such as the Osprey and the Bambi Bucket.
“The Bambi Bucket is a firefighting tool that can hold up to 7,600 pounds of water or fire retardant foam,” said U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. David M. Bryant, a crew chief with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The Bambi Bucket is used Marine Corps-wide to help fight wildfires on both federal and private land, most recently during fires which swept across southern California in May 2014.
The fire officers assigned to Camp Hansen maintain the large orange bucket, and the event provided them a chance to display the fruits of their labor while affording them an opportunity to get up close with an Osprey, one aircraft capable of using the bucket.
“The Bambi Bucket is universal and is used on all different types of aircraft,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Jason Noll, a Kirksville, Missouri, native and Osprey pilot with VMM-265. “The experience to come out and look at the Osprey, that’s unique.”
It was good for firefighters to see where their efforts were going, like providing the fire bucket, according to Bryant, a Lynchburg, Virginia, native. They saw the assistance they were providing the Marine Corps and how it played a part in overall mission accomplishment.
The MLC Senior Fire Officer Session provided firefighters, whether service members or civilian, from a wide range of backgrounds and expertise with an opportunity to build camaraderie and learn from one another as they shared stories and experiences.
“If somebody’s already doing things (correctly), procedures or some enhancement to the program, we certainly want to share that knowledge,” said Paul O. Sugita, the assistant chief of operation with MCIPAC Fire and Emergency Services.
With the completion of another successful session, the Marines and their counterparts can depart with a better understanding of each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures, and how the Bambi Bucket can play a role in their dangerous yet vital occupation.
“There are many similar challenges in managing the fire services overseas that other DOD fire departments have dealt with and have solutions (for),” said Sugita, a Honolulu, Hawaii, native. “These sessions provide a means to share information such as accreditation, language training and translated material for training. We don’t need to recreate the wheel.”