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Firefighter becomes an Honorary Aviation Boatswain’s Mate

29 December 2022

From ABHCS Anthony F. Pena, Military Firefighter Program Manager

Former Deputy Director of Navy Fire & Emergency Services, Ricky Brockman, was inducted into the Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Association (ABMA) as an Honorary Aviation Boatswain’s Mate by CAPT Rodney Moss, Senior Limited Duty Officer for the AB community and (Naval Air Systems Command) NAVAIR PMA-251 Fleet Liaison Officer, during a ceremony held on November 1, 2022 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River.
The ABMA was established in 1974 as the professional working organization of the Aviation Boatswain’s Mates in order to collectively identity and develop corrective action to the problems that affect AB Sailors, their equipment, and Naval Aviation Safety. Since its founding, the association has been extraordinarily successful in providing numerous improvements in the areas of aircraft launch and recovery, refueling, aircraft handling, and more effective firefighting procedures.

Brockman was recognized for becoming the first firefighter to receive the title of Honorary AB in the NAS Patuxent River airfield fire station in front of the Navy’s newest fire truck and surrounded by his wife Kim, fellow firefighters and a group of Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Sailors from NAS Patuxent River and CNIC HQ.  He joins other leaders such as Secretary B.J. Penn, RADM John Meier, MCPON Steven Giordano and multiple commanding officers
 who have received this recognition.
“Ricky worked with us at CNIC for a number of years and his retirement was a big lost for us,” said Carl Glover, Director of Navy Fire & Emergency Services. “Ricky has done a lot for us and this is another opportunity to recognize what he has done, not only for Navy Fire program, but the Navy,” said Glover. 

Brockman started his military career in the U.S. Air Force progressing from the rank of E-1 to E-8. After 30 years of military service, he retired and he joined the Navy Fire Service in 1992, devoted his passion “Protecting Those Who Defend America” and reached the position of Deputy Director at Navy Fire & Emergency Services (F&ES) until his 2020 retirement from Commander, Navy Installations Command headquarters (CNIC HQ) in Washington, DC.
“People in the community sometimes don’t understand why we do what we do everyday” said Capt Rodney Moss, who presented Brockman with his honorary induction and AB insignia. “Aviation Boatswains’ Mate and Navy Fire correlates because we both do similar things regardless of time of day: rain, sunshine, snow… we are one Navy operational team.”

“This is an incredible honor. I couldn’t have done this without the help of many AB in the field including Senior Chief Tony Tranumn, who I met many years ago during a training symposium in Goodfellow when he was an ABH1,” said Brockman during his award speech. “Years ago, Carl, Gene Rausch and I were onboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman for a day cruise and we watched so many young people operate that multi-million dollar war machine flawlessly. It was just perfect. I have big respect for the millennials who defend our country every day.”
Brockman was instrumental in realigning unused CNIC HQ firefighter billets and reallocating Navy billets to the Department of Defense (DoD) Fire Academy as instructors to assist with the anticipated student throughput, and to other U.S. Navy installations, in need of ABH firefighter billets. He also established the first active duty ABHCS billet at CNIC HQ F&ES (N30) to manage the Shore Based Firefighter community. This achievement allowed ABH detailers to cut specific orders to the DoD Fire Academy, for individuals prior to reporting for assignment to a firefighter billet. 
“We looked for ways to integrate all ABs active and reserve who were underutilized at the time into firefighting billets to get them more proficient and give them opportunities in the field,” shared Brockman. “Today, that integration is seamless and we have many Navy Reserve F&ES personnel all over the world serving as civilians in Navy Fire. I am very proud of that.” 
In 2006, Ricky assisted in the rewrite of OPNAVINST 11320.23G Navy F&ES Program complying with DoDI 6055 DoD F&ES Program language allow for ABHs serving in a Firefighter billets to be certify in accordance DoD firefighter certification attained at the DoD Fire Academy at Goodfellow, AFB.  He accurately coded all ABH Shore-Based Firefighters with the legacy 7012 NEC changing nearly 300 active duty ABH billets and 65 reserve ABH billets. 
Brockman established and provided CNIC F&ES a robust Navy Reserve Firefighter augmentation capability in 2007. He created, organized, trained, and equipped, two Fire & Emergency Services Reserve units subsequently growing into five units at five fleet concentration areas. He established the annual Navy Reserve Fire & Emergency Services Fire Academy where any Navy Reserve member accepted into the Navy Fire & Emergency Services Program attended Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute of the University of Maryland as an alternative to the DoD Fire Academy. The program funds 20 students each fiscal year and maximizes combat readiness for the Navy Reserve.
In 2009, Brockman was instrumental in providing Navy Reserve firefighter augmentation capability to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) installations: NAS Brunswick, NAS Willow Grove and Naval Station Ingleside. He also coordinated reserve augmentation to NAS Whiting Field, for Outlying Landing Field Firefighter support during a period of active duty ABH manpower shortages, which assisted in the continuous cycles of pilot training without interruption.  This augmentation model is still utilized today to train and supplement manning shortages at shore installations with military firefighter personnel. It was even used in Guam during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis when an aircraft carrier was side-lined due to a COVID-19 outbreak and the Navy fire station manning was impacted in the island.
His efforts have allowed for multiple ABHs now working as civilian fire captains and installations fire chiefs to represent the AB community in the fire service as well as for 239 ABH personnel and 198 Navy Reserve personnel stationed around the world at 15 locations. These national certifications and unique experiences earned through the DoD Fire Academy and at shore installations can be used by our Sailors ashore and afloat to impart wisdom and firefighting knowledge to our young ABs. Furthermore, it provides Sailors better employment opportunities as some transition into civilian positions in the public and private sector.

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