NEWS | Feb. 2, 2021

Kentucky Fire Fighters deploy to Eastern Europe

By Staff Sgt. Lerone Simmons Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

A small gathering of Soldiers, community leaders, and family members came together to send off Soldiers deploying with the 177th Fire Fighting Team, at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center Feb. 2.

The 177th FFT, belonging to the 206th Engineer Battalion, is slated to deploy to Eastern Europe in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. They will work alongside North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partners to provide fire and emergency services through fire prevention, suppression, and mitigation, along with life safety measures on the bases they are assigned to.

“We have been looking forward to this opportunity which will allow our team to train and become more proficient in our job as fire fighters,” said Staff Sgt. Levi Burgin, station chief of the 177th FFT.

Burgin is responsible for leading his small team of seven firefighters overseas, four for the first time in their military career.

“Being able to lead a team is a great opportunity,” he said. “I will be able to make a difference in training and implement changes to better fit our team.”

The 177th is one of several Kentucky National Guard units that are currently deployed in support of ongoing operations. Their stringent training throughout the year allows them to be readily deployable.

They have conducted a myriad of trainings and certification events involving Active Duty, the National Guard, and civilian counterparts.

“Our firefighting teams sustain a high training tempo filled with firefighter certification requirements,” said Lt. Col. John B. Barger, 206th commander. “These selfless leaders are truly special, and bring special capability locally, nationally, and internationally.”

Barger attended the ceremony along with other KYARNG leadership and realizes the importance of the National Guard’s contribution to our military and country.

“The Kentucky National Guard frequently exhibits the motto of “Always Ready, Always There,” he said. “Our Army Guard brings a diverse capability to answer the Army’s and Commonwealth’s needs.”

“These are special Kentucky Soldiers, and we will miss them,” said Barger.

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