Fire burns in the heart of these Airmen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ruben Rios
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing
Three Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 514th Air Mobility Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., split their time between working at the Freedom Wing and at Engine Company 238 of the New York City Fire Department.

Senior Master Sgt. David Gold, 88th Aerial Port Squadron first sergeant, 514th AMW, here, posed for a photo next to his junior wingmen who happen to be under his command in Engine 238, Brooklyn, N.Y., May 5, 2019.

“The leadership skills they gain from being Airmen in the U.S. Air Force definitely translate to the skills necessary to be firefighters in the FDNY,” said Gold. “They’re the guys I know I can count on in any situation.”

Staff Sgt. Ainsley J. Atwell, 714th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion and jet mechanic, and Senior Airman Saul Gonzalez, 514th Aeromedical Staging Squadron health service management journeyman, both with the 514th AMW, work under FDNY Lt. Gold in E238.

Atwell and Gonzalez, who both have approximately three years each in the FDNY and at least six years each of military service in the Air Force, both agree that the skills they have gained in their careers in the FDNY complement their careers in the USAF.

“The Air Force helped me get college credits and get into the FDNY,” said Gonzalez. “As a medic in the 514th ASTS, I have skills that are advantageous for medical emergencies as an engine firefighter in the FDNY.”

These Airmen who face and overcome challenging situations on a daily basis due to the nature of their civilian job, epitomize the concept of resilient leaders.

“The Air Force helped me become a better firefighter because of the discipline instilled in me as well as the ability to think on my feet and troubleshoot situations,” said Atwell. “I’m proud to serve both my local community as a firefighter and, on a broader scale, my country as an Airman.”

In the Freedom Wing more than 20 percent of our Reserve Citizen Airmen also serve as first responders. For the reservist who are firefighters, it’s another way to give back to others.