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Featured Profile for Firefighter

Ofman Gomez

When I was five, I came to the United States from Venezuela. I enlisted at the age of 29 which is considered a late age due to the hard physical training required. However, I was motivated to do something to help after the 9-11 attacks. This country has been so good to me and I wanted to give something back.

Before I joined the Marine Corps, I lived in Miami, Florida where I worked in different jobs. When I enlisted, I was in the delayed- entry program for eleven days, a program which allows up to two years for those unable to go into training that same week or month. I had to meet with my recruiter periodically and participate in training on the weekend.

My occupation is in Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting. Currently I work at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, where I provide rescue and firefighting to aircraft that come in with any problems. We support the airfield, protect all the aircraft, and protect the personnel who work on the airfield. Although I had some rescue background, I did not know when I walked into the recruiter’s office that I would end up in this job.

We conduct a lot of training to make sure that firefighters are using the proper techniques. We use MAFFTD (Military Aircraft Fire Fighter Training Device), a training apparatus mobile unit with 13 burn points. This allows us to simulate aircraft fires in a secure environment. We can also pursue certificates and degrees in fire science, fire instructor or fire officer, which are all skills that can be very useful for employment after the military.

I have been stationed overseas a couple of times. When I was stationed in Japan, I was at a fast- moving duty station with fighter aircraft and there were a lot of emergencies. Sometimes a plane would require us to prepare a trap which is when a band is put out on the airfield and the plane is held back by this large band as it touches the ground.

My wife is also in Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting. Before we were married, we were both deployed to Iraq where we held immediate response positions and helped to man an airfield that was open twenty-four hours. Sometimes there were hot refuels (refuels done while the aircraft is still running) or there might be aircraft coming in from combat that were not functioning correctly or even on fire.

The Marine Corps has instilled discipline within me. The transformation in my life is incredible. I can feel the difference and my family notices the change when I visit them. Just being a Marine makes me proud. I know that the Marine Corps has a very high standard and that I’ve been held to that high standard every single day. When I enlisted, I thought I was going to do my four years and get out. However, now I want to make this my career. Little did I know that I would love this life so much or that the Marine Corps would offer me so many positive experiences.

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