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MHAFB Fire Department receives DoD Award

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- A firefighter from the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron pulls a firehose during a base-wide operational readiness exercise March 4, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Samuel Morse)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- A firefighter from the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron pulls a firehose during a base-wide operational readiness exercise March 4, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Samuel Morse)

Two Airmen from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho light a fire July 25, 2013, near a practice aircraft as part of a Major Accident Response Exercise. The base conducts a MARE as needed to ensure situational readiness of different agencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton/Released)

Two Airmen from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho light a fire July 25, 2013, near a practice aircraft as part of a Major Accident Response Exercise. The base conducts a MARE as needed to ensure situational readiness of different agencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton/Released)

Firefighters from the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron responded after reports of a simulated fire at one of the base buildings April 16, 2014, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Not only do Airmen learn to work around the changing defensive measures, they also have to learn to work around stress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Malissa Lott/RELEASED)

Firefighters from the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron responded after reports of a simulated fire at one of the base buildings April 16, 2014, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Not only do Airmen learn to work around the changing defensive measures, they also have to learn to work around stress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Malissa Lott/RELEASED)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The Mountain Home Air Force Base Fire Department was recently recognized as the winner of the 2013 Department of Defense Fire and Emergency Services of the Year award in the Small Fire Department category.

In 2013 they distinguished themselves as the best, through their innovativeness and exceptional dedication. Their achievements included battling a 328,000 acre fire and developing an aggressive fire prevention program.

"We often fight fires and save lives, but it was more than the regular activities that won us this award," said Master Sgt. Collis Jeppesen, 366th Civil Engineer Squadron fire deputy. "We've had to overcome challenges such as the upcoming personnel restructuring and budget cuts."

Each year the DoD recognizes outstanding accomplishments and honors fire departments and firefighters through the annual DoD awards program.

"For this competition, not only did we go up against other departments in the Air Force, but also up against the Army, Marines and Navy," said Jeppesen. "I would definitely say the competition was substantial."

The Fire and Emergency Services community is on duty 24-hours a day, every day, many times putting their own lives on the line while protecting those who defend America.

"A lot has happened this year, we responded to hostage situations, car fires, aircraft fires, wild fires and multiple garage fires in addition to rescuing crash victims," said Staff Sgt. Bryan Buck, 366th CES health and safety officer. "During which the department has proved to be top notch."

Achieving this recognition, the MHAFB FD inspired those in the same profession and those with whom they serve.

"It's the civilians at our station that are really amazing, military members come and go, it's the civilians who dedicate 20 or 30 years of their lives to making the department what it is," said Jeppesen. "Training alongside military members, pulling new Airmen under their wings, just to train a new batch once they've moved on to their next station. It's our civilian fire fighters that we need to be recognizing."

Not only does the MHAFB FD achieved proficiency in day-to-day operations, they excel.

"If you are the very best at what you do, that's huge!" said Buck. "Here at Mountain Home we not only can say that- we've proved it."