Air Force firefighters almost made it a clean sweep, receiving all but one Department of Defense annual firefighting award and sharing top honors for the other.
The Air Force firefighters received awards for military firefighter, civilian fire officer, military fire officer and fire department of the year. The heroism award was shared between an Air Force firefighter who responded to the World Trade Center attack and three Army firefighters who responded after the attack on the Pentagon.
DOD's Military Firefighter of the Year is Senior Airman Emilio Aguilar, from the 18th Civil Engineer Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan; the Civilian Fire Officer of the Year is Randy Tsurusato, 99th CES, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; and the Military Fire Officer of the Year is Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Helgerson, 3rd CES, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.
The 56th CES fire department at Luke AFB, Ariz., was named DOD Fire Department of the Year.
John Wright III, a Navy firefighter at Naval Air Station Jacksonville Fla., was named DOD Civilian Firefighter of the Year.
Staff Sgt. Tyree Bacon, from the 514th CES at McGuire AFB, N.J., received DOD's heroism award. He was a co-winner along with three Army firefighters -- Mark Skipper, Alan Wallace and Dennis Young -- assigned to the Pentagon's fire department.
Bacon, a reservist and New York Supreme Court officer in Manhattan, received the heroism award for actions taken just minutes after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. He and several co-workers rushed to the site to help rescue injured victims and administer emergency first aid. He barely escaped when Tower Two collapsed as he exited one of the center's buildings. He and a badly injured victim he was assisting were blown several feet by the collapsing building's shockwave. Three of his co-workers died in the collapse. The person he rescued died six days later from injuries sustained in the attack.
The awards were presented Aug. 28 at the DOD Fire and Emergency Services Training Conference in Kansas City, Mo.