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Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado. (March 21, 2023): In this photo by Senior Airman Danielle McBride, 2nd Lt. Keith M. Fetzner with the 460th Civil Engineer Squadron opens a valve on a fire hose and begins to spray water during a firefighter drill at Buckley Space Force Base. The drill gives realistic fire ground training under simulated stressful conditions to help soldiers understand the mental and physical exhaustion that comes with fighting fires and saving lives.

In wartime, the 460TH Civil Engineering Squadron does rapid repairs of airfields and other critical facilities where fire control is essential. The Air Force operates with unusual materials and in unique environments all over the world. Fire Protection Specialists must be prepared for anything, from brush fires to burning rocket fuel to hazardous material fires. These Air Force firefighters even back up local civilian fire departments in an emergency.

To become an Air Force firefighter, candidates must have a high school diploma plus 15 college credits, meet National Fire Protection Association physical standards, complete 7.5 weeks of Basic Military Training, and be between the ages of 17 and 39.In peacetime, the 460th’s job is to ensure the base is operating normally by maintaining infrastructure and conducting inspections. Base upkeep is a big responsibility for this squadron and requires dedication and teamwork making continuous repairs and upgrades on base.

The home of the 460th is named after John Harold Buckley, a World War I flyer who died on September 27, 1918 on the 3rd day of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Lt. Buckley was posthumously awarded both a Purple Heart and WWI Victory Medal in 2003.

The United States Space Force is a separate and distinct branch of the armed services, organized under the Department of the Air Force in a manner very similar to how the Marine Corps is organized under the Department of the Navy.