WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Similar to their brothers- and sisters-in-arms, Navy firefighters stand the watch and live each day fulfilling their oath - "Protecting those who defend America."
Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) presented the Navy's 2017 Fire and Emergency Services (F&ES) awards to top-performing firefighters, who demonstrated excellence and commitment, during a ceremony May 22.
"CNIC Fire and Emergency Services teams set the highest standards of excellence by contributing around-the-clock protection for our fleet and families," said Vice Adm. Mary Jackson, commander of Navy Installations Command. "I'm extremely proud of the entire CNIC firefighting team, and these selected few represent the entire force through their professionalism and commitment to excellence."
Among those honored was Akinori Chiba, who won the Navy Fire Service Instructor of the Year and the Department of Defense Fire and Emergency Services Program Award in the same category.
"My motivation every day is to think toward the future and see how I can make my fire department better," Chiba said. "I ask myself, 'What can we do to make this a better training division?'"
Chiba, with Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, said he was inspired to become a firefighter after he was saved from drowning. For the past 20 years as a firefighter, Chiba has been the one saving lives and continues to serve with dedication and passion.
In addition to saving lives, Navy firefighters contribute to CNIC's overall mission of ensuring warfighter and fleet readiness by providing fire prevention and protection, as well as hazardous material and emergency medical response at 50 fire departments and 192 fire stations across the shore enterprise. The more than 4,000 firefighters and emergency services personnel, who are assigned to the 71 installations around the world, oversee and execute fire prevention programs and educate base residents and employees, while also working with local schools and community partners.
Submarine Base Kings Bay Fire Chief Freddie Thompson praised his department's continued accomplishments, which culminated in its third consecutive Small Fire Department of the Year award.
"This award means a lot to us, but if we didn't win, we would still stand the watch and respond to the needs of our community with the same passion and vigilance," Thompson said.
Among others recognized was Aviation Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Eduardo Aceves, of Naval Support Facility Thurmont, who was named Military Fire Officer of the Year.
"It feels amazing to win, but I would not be here without my guys and the team," Aceves said. "Without them, I would never have won."
The other awards recipients moved on to represent the Navy at the Department of Defense level of the competition:
* Large Fire Department of the Year: Commander, Fleet Activities (CFA) Sasebo
* Medium Department of the Year: CFA Yokosuka
* Small Fire Department of the Year: Submarine Base Kings Bay
* Fire Prevention Program of the Year: CFA Yokosuka
* Military Firefighter of the Year: Airman 1st Class Brandon Laird, District 3, Navy Region Hawaii
* Civilian Firefighter of the Year: Ryo Iwashima, CFA Yokosuka
* Military Fire Officer of the Year: Eduardo Aceves, Naval Support Facility Thurmont, MD
* Civilian Fire Officer of the Year: Thomas Maury, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans
* Fire Service Instructor of the Year: Akinori Chiba, CFA Yokosuka
The following are Navy-specific awards winners:
* Emergency Management Service Provider of the Year: Bobby Morse, Navy Region Northwest Regional F&ES
* Fire Inspector of the Year: Hiroyuko Matsunaga, CFA Yokosuka
* Fire Chief of the Year: Matthew McQuaig, Naval Support Activity Souda Bay
* Navy F&ES Lifetime Achievement Award: Thomas McCaffrey, retired fire chief from CFA Chinhae; and Cort Jamison, deputy fire chief, Navy Region Japan
* Navy F&ES Hall of Fame: Eugene Carmody, retired fire chief, Navy Consolidated Fire Department, Yokosuka, Japan; and Robert Williams, retired branch manager, Shipboard Fire Suppression Systems, Naval Sea Systems Command; and the late Dudley King, Navy area fire marshal, Norfolk.
Navy Installations Command is comprised of approximately 53,000 military and civilian personnel worldwide responsible for the operations, maintenance, and quality of life programs to support the Navy's fleet, fighters, and their families.
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