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Eielson firefighters continue traditions with new vehicle

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354th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) fire department members send Tender 85 into the station during a push-in ceremony at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 15, 2019. The vehicle will support the 354th CES fire department and will also help provide support to mutual-aid partners in the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Larue Guerrisky)

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U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Joseph Lehn, 354th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) firefighter, speaks before a push-in ceremony at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 15, 2019. By pushing their new water tender vehicle into the station, the 354th CES honored past firefighter traditions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Larue Guerrisky)

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354th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department members propel Tender 85 into the station during a push-in ceremony at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 15, 2019. The vehicle will act as a portable hydrant for the unit to use in areas without a hydrant system. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Larue Guerrisky)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

The 354th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department officially added a new fire apparatus vehicle to its arsenal Oct. 15

Eielson firefighters honored past firefighter traditions by pushing their new water tender, Tender 85, into the station

“The original fire engines were horse-drawn carts and the horses weren’t able to back them into the station,” said Airman 1st Class Joseph Lehn, 354th CES firefighter. “The firefighters would take the horses off and they would push it in themselves.

The new piece of equipment will act as a portable hydrant for the unit to use, but will also benefit the surrounding community.

“We will utilize the vehicle for areas of the base where we don’t have a hydrant system where we need water to fight the fire,” said Marc Hughes, 354th CES fire department chief of operations. “Not only does it aid us here on the installation, but it also aids us in providing support to our mutual-aid partners outside the gate.”

With the new asset, the Eielson firefighters are better equipped to deal with a variety of situations.

“It grants the base more protection in case something big goes down,” said Lehn. “It’ll be a big help because we will have more access to water on the runway, especially with the new F-35s arriving.”

More than 65 firefighters impact the 354th Fighter Wing mission to prepare and project airpower for 21st century combat.