Arnold Fire and Emergency Services team members achieve 135 years of service
By Deidre Ortiz, AEDC/PA
/ Published December 03, 2018
ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- Six members of Arnold Air Force Base Fire and Emergency Services recently achieved milestone years of service.
They are: William Odell Crutchfield, firefighter crew chief, 25 years; Billy King, firefighter, with 25 years; Thomas Anthony King, firefighter, 25 years; Kenneth Yarbrough, firefighter crew chief, 25 years; Joe Lee Brassfield, driver/operator, 20 years; and Daryle Lopes, Chief of Fire and Emergency Services, 15 years.
With 135 years of service combined, these gentlemen have seen AEDC and Arnold Air Force Base change and grow.
When asked about the changes, Lopes said: “I’ve seen the Air Force alter the organizational structure of the base significantly via initiatives such as the Combined Test Force and changing to the Air Force Wing structure as well. The test infrastructure has received numerous upgrades and missions have changed accordingly. Through these and many other changes, the Air Force has made strides towards keeping AEDC well in front of the rest of the world when it comes to engineering, development and testing in support of the American warfighter.”
He added that though changes haven’t always been easy, Team AEDC continues to move forward and remain mission-focused.
“While meeting mission demands in today’s multi-contract environment is a challenge that we relish, one thing that never changes about AEDC is the pride everyone feels when we do our part making America safe,” Lopes said.
Positive improvements have also been made within Arnold Fire and Emergency Services.
“Within AEDC fire protection, we saw outstanding improvements in our fire station infrastructure,” Lopes said. “In 2004, we added eight new apparatus bays and an academic training room. In 2010, our living quarters were completely renovated. In 2018, construction began on an addition to house our SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) care and maintenance, a National Fire Protection Association-compliant clean room, and a much- needed, climate-controlled equipment storage.
“After a drought of more than 20 years, we received three new fire fighting vehicles and there are two more on the way in 2019 and 2020… but the absolute most important thing through all the years has been the men and women of Arnold Fire. Since my arrival in 2003, our fire department has said goodbye to many fine fire fighters with decades of experience supporting America and the local community. We, in-turn, have signed on an equal number of outstanding prospects eager to do the same. The result is that I’ve had the privilege to work beside a fantastic team of expert fire fighters, dispatchers and inspectors that never failed to do the mission, save lives and protect property when the chips were down. The great pride I have in them is something that never changes.”
Many members of the Arnold Fire and Emergency Services are prior military or have worked in fire protection outside of Arnold Air Force Base.
Lopes is an U.S. Air Force veteran with 26-years active duty service in the fire protection career field. He served other military bases in the U.S., Europe, and in the Middle East in positions ranging from apprentice firefighter to installation fire chief. Anthony King and Billy King worked several years at the Fayetteville Fire Department before coming to Arnold, 15 years and 16 years respectively. They both served as captains of the department during their time there. Yarbrough was also a member of the Fayetteville Fire Department for 12 years, serving there as captain. Crutchfield was a member of the Tullahoma Fire Department for three years, and before that served as a fire brigade captain for Wagner Brake in Tullahoma. Brassfield has been a volunteer firefighter with the McMinnville Fire Department and Manchester Fire Department; now with the Estill Springs Fire Department, he has worked his way up from volunteer to serving as an assistant fire chief of the department.
Eugene Mittuch, project manager of the Facility Support Services contract at Arnold, congratulated his team members for reaching significant milestones and thanked them for all they do in protecting Arnold Air Force Base and the surrounding area.