Saber firefighters to host firefighter combat challenge

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- The Spangdahlem firefighter challenge team will host the Mosel Firefighter Combat Challenge July 5-6 at Ediger-Eller, Germany.

The U.S. Fire Administration first developed the challenge to assess the physical performance of firefighters--years later it turned into a unique sport recognized worldwide.

This year's challenge involves more than 200 participants from nine different countries.

"This will be the first firefighter combat challenge held in Rheinland-Pfalz," said Gerd Mueller, a 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter. "The challenge simulates a structure fire: people going inside a building, hoisting up equipment, hammer blow, pulling hose and rescuing a victim. It's a task of five different events, combined into one sporting event."

These challenges give the Spangdahlem community a chance to showcase their skills and interact with other European firefighters.

"When our Airmen and civilians go out and compete against other German, French and Polish firefighters, they see that we can work together," said Senior Master Sgt. Jason Theriault, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron deputy fire chief. "Regardless of our language, and our countries, we're all in the same community, we are all doing the same job, we are all firefighters and it allows us to bridge that gap and build partnership capacity."

The competition also included the 3rd U.S. Air Forces in Europe Challenge event, where Airmen from Royal Air Force Alconbury, United Kingdom, Spangdahlem, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, USAFE Fire Academy located at Ramstein will compete to see who can best beat the heat.

During the competition, activities and food vendors are available for the visitors.

"Besides the challenge, there will be lots of activities to do," Mueller said. "There will be a kids' corner for the children. We also have a burn trailer, fire truck displays, vendors and sponsors will be at the event, and, of course, good German food, brats, steaks, wine and beer."

Mueller encouraged the Spangdahlem community to come out and cheer for all the participants and to see all the work that goes into firefighting.

"This is really the only time we can showcase to the public what we do -- they can actually see us in action," Mueller said. "It's a very intense sport and competition. We would be happy to see the local support from base because we are here for them."