YOKOSUKA, Japan -- Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) announced on March 3 that Commander, Navy Region Japan (CNRJ) Fire and Emergency Services (F&ES) Yokosuka and two of its firefighters garnered four awards in the 2016 F&ES awards.
The unit won the Navy Medium Fire Department of the Year and Navy Fire Prevention Program of the Year. Japanese Fire Fighter Yu Nakazawa won the Navy Civilian Firefighter of the Year and Japanese Fire Inspector Keiko Sato won the Navy Fire Inspector of the Year.
The department is unique in the Navy because its ranks are filled with both American and Japanese firefighters. Additionally, the Yokosuka fire department has been a trailblazer of sorts as its firefighters have gone aboard ships at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, working hand-in-hand with shipboard damage control crews to respond to emergencies.
“It feels good. We’ve done things on the ships that haven’t been done before; participating with the operating crews, helping them out. I feel great about all of that,“ said Shipboard Lead Fire Inspector Chief Angel Roman. “We’re showing the Navy that this shipboard program is able to work. We plan to win more awards, we don’t accept second!”
It’s unusual for one unit to be recognized with so many awards, but F&ES Yokosuka maintains a high operating tempo.
“Coming from another organization (Air Force), I’ve never seen four awards come out of one base,” said Fire Prevention Chief Robert Wimes. “This department is involved in numerous operations, training programs with the Japanese (civic) fire fighters, and coordinating with shipboard firefighting activities. It can all be a challenge but we’re able to accomplish that training and meet those goals.”
Some of the firefighters were surprised to learn that they had won.
“All of the things I did, they were just normal operations for us,” said Nakazawa, who has also recently received a “Life Saving Award” for performing CPR on an unconscious Japanese citizen and helped to respond to a fire aboard a Yokosuka-based destroyer. “I’m humbled and honored to be recognized for this award. We will continue to help protect everyone every day.”
The awards are expected to be formally presented to the command during a ceremony at CNIC headquarters in Washington DC sometime in May. They will also compete against the top fire departments in the other military services later this year for the honor of being the top medium-sized fire department in the Department of Defense.
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