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Rookie recruits haul hoses during an intensive eight-week program March 24 at Yokosuka Naval Base. Japanese citizens enter the “Rookie Academy” to become firefighters on U.S. Navy installations in Japan. These recruits, if they graduate, will be stationed along the Kanto Plain in central Japan.

Rookie recruits haul hoses during an intensive eight-week program March 24 at Yokosuka Naval Base. Japanese citizens enter the “Rookie Academy” to become firefighters on U.S. Navy installations in Japan. These recruits, if they graduate, will be stationed along the Kanto Plain in central Japan. (Dan Vogel / Courtesy of U.S. Navy)

Rookie recruits haul hoses during an intensive eight-week program March 24 at Yokosuka Naval Base. Japanese citizens enter the “Rookie Academy” to become firefighters on U.S. Navy installations in Japan. These recruits, if they graduate, will be stationed along the Kanto Plain in central Japan.

Rookie recruits haul hoses during an intensive eight-week program March 24 at Yokosuka Naval Base. Japanese citizens enter the “Rookie Academy” to become firefighters on U.S. Navy installations in Japan. These recruits, if they graduate, will be stationed along the Kanto Plain in central Japan. (Dan Vogel / Courtesy of U.S. Navy)

Recruits runs through a drill.

Recruits runs through a drill. (Dan Vogel / Courtesy of U.S. Navy)

Specialized tools were part of the training April 2 at the Rookie Academy at Yokosuka Naval Base.

Specialized tools were part of the training April 2 at the Rookie Academy at Yokosuka Naval Base. (Dan Vogel / Courtesy of U.S. Navy)

Whether you speak English or Japanese, the word "rookie" means the same at the Yokosuka Naval Base firefighting course.

It means almost a fireman.

A new crop of recruits is training this month at the naval base’s Rookie Academy, hoping to become firefighters at U.S. Navy installations in central Japan.

The grueling eight-week course prepares Japanese citizens to take on fires and emergencies that occur on military property.

"Our school is one of kind," Commander Naval Forces Japan Regional Fire Chief Russell Tarver said in a release. "No other DOD fire department provides such a comprehensive in-house training and qualification program for new trainees."

The recruits go through hundreds of hours of classroom training as well as hands-on drills using ladders, hoses, special rescue tools and live-fire training at Yokosuka’s shipboard firefighting training facility, the release said.

Recruits also spend two days at Camp Fuji practicing on the live-fire structural trainer managed by the Marine Corps.

"The hours are long and sometimes the training is hard but it is making me ready to do a very important job," said Yusuke Aoki, one of 15 rookies set to graduate at the end of April, in the release.

Graduating rookies are certified at the Fire Fighter II level, which is recognized by the U.S. National Fire Protection Association, and are accepted as entry-level firefighters by the Navy.

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