Navy recognizes Andersen firefighters

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Master Sgt. Essam Cordova, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire and Emergency Services assistant chief of operations during 2012, stands with Tech. Sgt. Arnold Castro, 36th CES Fire and Emergency Services station captain, during an aircraft fire training exercise on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, April, 4, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Veronica McMahon)
Master Sgt. Essam Cordova, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire and Emergency Services assistant chief of operations during 2012, stands with Tech. Sgt. Arnold Castro, 36th CES Fire and Emergency Services station captain, during an aircraft fire training exercise on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, April, 4, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Veronica McMahon)

Navy recognizes Andersen firefighters

by: Staff Sgt. Veronica McMahon | .
36th Wing Public Affairs | .
published: April 11, 2013

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam  -- Navy Fire and Emergency Services recently named two Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Airmen Firefighter of the Year and Fire Officer of the Year for 2012.

The all-encompassing awards recognized Tech. Sgt. Arnold Castro, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire and Emergency Services Station captain, and Master Sgt. Essam Cordova, 36th CES Fire and Emergency Services assistant chief of operations for their accomplishments, job performance, technical competence, leadership ability, initiative and resourcefulness.

"It's an amazing feeling knowing that the Andersen Fire Department selected me as their nominee," said Castro, who was awarded the Navy Fire and Emergency Services Military Firefighter of the Year.

Both were nominated by their leadership who said they were, "without comparison, deserving of the prestigious recognition" in their awards packages. Andersen firefighters are part of the Joint Region Marianas Fire and Emergency Services Department, allowing them to be nominated for Navy awards.

Castro spent 179 days deployed to Southwest Asia where he continuously trained firefighters to provide protection. During his time on Guam, he led Air Force and Guam firefighters in extinguishing 1,000 square feet of wildfire, served as the incident commander on three calls during Exercise Cope North 2013 and responded to mutual aid with the Guam Fire Department and Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 members to save two stranded swimmers.

Cordova was awarded Navy Fire and Emergency Services Military Fire Officer of the Year.

During 2012, Cordova deployed for 179 days where he led 49 firefighters. While on his deployment, he spent 31 hours as an incident commander for an F-15 crash. He also served as the sole certified fire inspector and enabled the first-ever hot pits at his deployed location, posturing the wing for combat operations.

While at Andersen, he led 67 Airmen, acted as a first sergeant, and according to his award package, continued to be an outstanding leader both on the ground and in the fire house.

Although both firefighters have impressive accomplishments, they said leading the new Airmen matters the most.

"My favorite part of being a firefighter now is being able to mold, mentor, train and develop new firefighters," Castro said. "Being selected as the representative for this award was amazing."

"2012 was a great year," said Cordova. "It's nice to know you're recognized for what you do."
 

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