Veterans being trained as wildland firefighters


The CNN video above features veterans being trained by the California Conservation Corps in southern California to be wildland firefighters. The two that are interviewed in the piece were both female and served as a helicopter mechanic and a quartermaster. In the background you can see a Type 3 engine from the Cleveland National Forest, but I could not make out the engine number.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

7 thoughts on “Veterans being trained as wildland firefighters”

  1. No reason why ex military personel should get preference over other federal seasonals that are busting their butts every summer to get a perm. Especially when seasonal firefighters do more dangerous work than ex military (desk clerk, mechanics, cooks… ect.)

    1. Anthony – I suggest you look at the number of wildland fire fatalities (about 15 per year on the average) against the numbers of military personnel that have died in Iraq and Afghan. Yes, some ex-military were clerks and drivers, but all carried weapons in active combat areas and were at risk of IEDs and other threats, all so that our freedom to have this discussion in the open is allowed.

  2. Excellent! And there is EVERY reason that Veterans as well as AmeriCorp volunteers should get preferential training and hiring in Federal jobs…

  3. Wow Tony

    We are back to this age old argument? I used to think the same way about folks who did NOT serve and got their positions by virtue of education, “I was Peace Corps”, etc etc etc. Now it’s ” ihave served 2-5 yrs on a shot crew, I am /was Americorps etc etc etc etc. You know the “fairness thing…

    I saw the writing on the wall yeeeeeearrs ago when I applied the USFS and others….got a career seasonal fire position when I was 12 credits short of my Forestry / Fire and Aviation management degree. Left that position to finish the degree and I was one of the FEW that had a specific aviation background to my name with my degree….applied a few rounfds with the alma maters of fire…Guess What? Me too. Did not mind to lose out to Vets or even Guard and Reserve guys BUT losing out to shots and Peace Corp types who did not posses NEAR the quals that I or a number of others in the TRUE Fire and Aviation world got perm appointments, either….

    So alot of us went other routes and careeers non Guv and back into State or Fed work as State employees or WG types to get to where we are today.

    Again, saw the silliness of the USFS HR world and went different routes.

    What I will say, Tony, is: ANY GI or vet with a modicum of intelligence and who has repeatedly has had to return to the Stans and Iraq for multiple deployments, whether they be Active Duty or Guard / Reserve component, could very well be a shining example ( or not) to many a Shot, Engine, Helitack or SJ crew, any day.

    I was a seasonal firefighter and even I would not compare my duties to even the REMF types in theatre ( you know …..desk jockies, cooks, support folks in or near the combat zone). I know , I know we seasonals MAY have had tougher assignments and we, like the GI’s volunteered for our positions. NO ONE forced either one of us to be either a soldier or a seasonal firefighter…..

    I suggest you rethink this one , Tony. This “ain’t” the box of chocolates that Forrest Gump or his Mom had promised. There is no box of chocolates waiting for you when one / you get a permanent appointment. It is highly sought after until a point in time one get a varied other experiences and then maybe apply later…it could be years before one gets a perm appt!

  4. I think that Tony was agreeing with your position, Leo. He actually is a veteran. That being said; Dick…. Come on!! Nobody is diminishing their duty. But not every war has to do with “OUR” freedom. In fact, really only one truly has. I think what Anthony was getting at was that those that have served their country, as wildland firefighters, Forestry or range technicians, should not be shoved to the curb. Their service to the nation is service to the nation…. When many were delivered home to their families, flag draped, on a DC-3 it surely was, right? I’ve sat with many a combat veteran that completely agrees with Anthony. In fact, it could be that Anthony is a combat veteran. No facts to support that, but it pretty presumptuous to make a judgement call that he’s not.

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