On June 1st, 2nd, and 3rd 2018, the GFC provided firefighting support to the Reading Regional Airport’s Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) unit during the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s 28th annual World War II Weekend celebration.
World War II Weekend celebrates the end of WWII by bringing together vintage WWII aircraft from around the country. Along with aerobatic demonstrations and rides in some of the aircraft, there are battle reenactments, paratrooper demonstrations and 40’s era entertainment. One reenactment, the battle of Iwo Jima, uses 2 functional flame throwers which set fire to simulated Japanese bunkers. With all the activity at a festival of this size and nature, there is always the potential need of emergency services. On the firefighting side, the task of arraigning fire and rescue crews to man the show was the responsibility Greenfields Fire Co. Fire Chief Brian Fisher.
Chief Fisher marshaled together the resources of 14 fire companies from around Berks County to augment the Reading Regional Airport’s ARFF unit, and to ensure that there were apparatus available to handle the firefighting needs of Bern Township during the air show. Fire apparatus was positioned around the airfield at the Terminal, the West Ramp, Gate 5A, the T-Hangers, and Station 55. During the Iwo Jima reenactments, a combination of 7 Brush and ATVs were positioned at the reenactment location to suppress the fires that were started by the live flame thrower demonstration.
Traffic control is a major task with an event of this size. The Bern Township Fire Police were in charge of this task and were led by Fire Police Lt. Dylan Heckman. Lt. Heckman worked hand-in-hand with the Bern Township Police, led by Bern Township Police Sgt. Mike Wiley, to keep traffic moving.
Naturally a group of this size gets hungry and needs to be feed. This task was superbly handled by Support Unit Captain Leslie Fisher and her loyal minions, Support Lt. Sarah Green and Support Unit member Elisa Henry. Capt. Leslie Fisher also enlisted the help of Mission Bar-B-Que to feed the hoard of hungry firefighters. Mission Bar-B-Que supplied a feast of pulled pork, pulled chicken, sausage, baked beans, and mac and cheese. Needless to say, no one went away hungry.
Except for two minor incidents, the weekend went smoothly. On Saturday there was an aircraft that reported a landing gear malfunction. Shortly after reporting the malfunction the pilot was able to clear the problem and land safely. The second incident occurred on Sunday when one of the WWII fighter aircraft called a May Day, reporting a loss of engine power. The aircraft was able to land safely without incident.
Chief Fisher wishes to thank everyone who participated in the activities this past weekend. And he hopes to see all of them again for next year’s show.
Special thanks to John Sileski of Municipal Emergency Services for supplying Hurst “Jaws of Life” rescue tools for the weekend event.
Special thanks also to Jenny Winchester and Mission Bar-B-Que for their support.
In addition, special thanks are in order for Mohnton Co 57 for being on stand by, manning Station 55 to cover the emergency needs of Bern Township.
Fire Companies and Units participating were:
Greenfields Co. 55; Reading Regional Airport ARFF Unit; Walnuttown Co. 32; Alsace Manor Co.8; Lower Alsace Co. 4; Eastern Berks Co. 97; Fleetwood Co. 45; Central Berks Co.38; Leesport Co. 37; Hamburg Co.61; Mohnton Co. 57; Monarch Co. 6; Ruscombmanor Co. 34; Bernville Co. 29; and Brecknock Co. 72.
Those participating for the GFC were:
Chief Brian Fisher; Asst. Chief Eric Thrush; Capt. Joe Stoudt; Lt. Scott Trate; Fire Police Lt. Dylan Heckman; FF Betsy Thrush, FF Joe Green; FF Jenny Reedy; FF Dylan Matz; FF William Pagan; FF Mike Berger; FF Britni Cummings; FF Brent Wisniewski; FF Richard Stoudt; FF Dylan Noll; Jr. FF Victoria Calleja; Jr. FF Carrie Huntsinger; Support Unit Capt. Leslie Fisher; Support Unit Lt. Sarah Green; Support Unit Member Elisa Henry; and Photographer Steve Spies.
Fire Police participating from Greenfields, Hamburg, Fleetwood and Cumru were:
FP Sgt. Richard East; Don Sando; Howard Olsen; Donna Shollenberger; Mike Heffner; Leroy Hetruck; Glenva Kohl
Below are some pictures from the weekend event: