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Colo. National Guard firefighters released from fire line, headed home soon 
By Colorado National Guard Public Affairs 
1157th Engineer Firefighter Company 

U.S. Soldiers from the 1157th Engineer Firefighter Company, Colorado National Guard, smother hot spots around residential areas in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 14, 2013. The Colorado National Guard has been supporting civil authorities fight the Black Forest fire since June 11. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Richard McMullen/RELEASED)

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Wednesday June 19, 2013

Colorado National Guard
Public Affairs
Capt. Darin Overstreet

CENTENNIAL, Colo., (6/19/13) — As the Black Forest fire reached 85 percent containment June 18, Colorado National Guard firefighters were released from the fire line.

Fourteen Soldiers of the Colorado Army National Guard’s 1157th Engineer Firefighter Company will soon return to their civilian jobs – many as professional civilian firefighters and paramedics in communities across the state – following a 48-hour recovery period.

“We very much appreciate the experience and knowledge these Soldiers bring with them wherever they are assigned – whether the Black Forest, High Park, or the many other fires and emergencies they respond to every day in their own communities,” said Brig. Gen. Pete Byrne, commander of the standing Joint Task Force-Centennial.

The 1157th firefighters, with the support of their tactical firefighting trucks and tenders, arrived in El Paso County, Colo., June 11 and began fighting the fire June 12. The recovery period will allow them to clean and maintain their equipment, and tend to administrative needs, in order to be prepared for their next assignment.

Still supporting the incident command team are the 120 members of Colorado’s National Guard Reaction Force, who are still providing security at multiple checkpoints.

Also maintaining support are Airmen from Colorado’s National Guard Communications Element, who are providing a phone and commercial internet platform that allows communications for, and between, civilian and military authorities.

Colorado National Guard aviators and helicopters assigned to the Army Aviation Support Facility on Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo., were released from the incident June 15 after dropping more than 176,000 gallons of water on the fire and providing a command and control aircraft to support rotary-wing operations.

“When we call up these Soldiers to serve, we understand it takes them away from their civilian jobs and families, and that sacrifice is priceless,” Byrne said. “As we release these men and women from their military obligations, we’re simultaneously grateful to their employers and families for allowing these Soldiers and Airmen the time away from their normal lives to serve the Colorado community.”

Fact sheet:
1157th Engineer Firefighter Company: http://bit.ly/17Yzqgs

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