NEWS | Feb. 12, 2021

JBSA fire services wins three AETC awards

By Staff Sgt. Preston Cherry 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Joint Base San Antonio's Fire and Emergency Services, or FES, 902nd Civil Engineer Squadron, and two of its members were announced as the Air Education and Training Command nominees for the Air Force FES Awards Feb. 3. 

The nominees competed with other units from across AETC on their performance in 2020. 

“It has always been amazing to watch the team navigate the challenges here at the best joint base in the Department of Defense,” said Mark Ledford, JBSA 902nd CES fire chief. “This past year has been even more impressive as our team didn’t skip a beat, in spite of the incredible challenges to maintain a consistent and robust 24/7 posture in a COVID-19 environment.” 

Each fall, all DOD fire departments have an opportunity to submit packages in award categories to include small, medium, and large fire departments of the year, as well as fire instructor, firefighter, fire prevention, and others. These packages are then forwarded to that department’s organizational command. 

At the major command level, packages are scored by at least three judges who rate the submissions from each of the nominated departments. 

The JBSA 902nd FES awards and winners included: 

  • AETC Chief Master Sgt. Ralph E. Sanborn Fire Department of the Year 2020-Large: JBSA 902nd CES FES;
  • AETC Military Firefighter of the Year 2020: Airman 1st Class Sequente Marks, 902nd CES firefighter;
  • AETC Civilian Firefighter of the Year 2020: Samario Davis, 902nd CES firefighter.

“At all levels, the team is razor-focused on our mission to protect lives, property and the environment, and every day prove they are ready,” Ledford said. 

The individuals recognized in the firefighter of the year categories were recognized for their work performance and ability to inspire others. 

“Senior Airman Marks has been stellar since he walked in the door from our fire academy in November 2019,” said Bob Ashley, JBSA 902nd CES deputy fire chief. “He immediately and constantly displayed a ‘can-do’ attitude and impacted everyone around him. He has excelled at every aspect of his job and upgrade training. His positive impact on our people and our mission is immeasurable.” 

Marks attributed his award to those he works with.  

“I am merely a reflection of the men and women at Station 8,” Marks said. “The personnel we have possess qualities like compassion, resilience, selflessness, empathy, and so much more. We’ve dedicated our lives to serving others, and I think that same support that we provide is inevitably being returned.” 

Davis also spoke highly of his coworkers, and he said their mission is successful due to teamwork. 

“Because of our togetherness, when it's time to save lives, we're able to move as a cohesive unit and work together to get the job done with excellence,” he said. “I'm honored to be a part of this amazing team and to serve our community in the manner that we do.” 

Next, the three packages will compete at the Air Force level. If they move further, the final judging will take place at the DOD level. 

Whatever happens in the competition, all members of JBSA’s Fire and Emergency Services are committed to what matters most. 

“The recognition is wonderful, and we humbly accept the award, but the goal remains the same; to protect lives, property and the environment,” Marks said. “There’s no time to let up. We strive for the best, always.”