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A team of Lithuanian firefighters put out the flames coming from a mock fighter jet engine on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

A team of Lithuanian firefighters put out the flames coming from a mock fighter jet engine on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)

A team of Lithuanian firefighters put out the flames coming from a mock fighter jet engine on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

A team of Lithuanian firefighters put out the flames coming from a mock fighter jet engine on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)

Czech firefighters get ready to put out a fire on a mockup of a fighter jet at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on Ramstein Air Base.

Czech firefighters get ready to put out a fire on a mockup of a fighter jet at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on Ramstein Air Base. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)

Tech Sgt. Frank Butler gives a firefighter team a thumbs-up signaling that they can start the training, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Tech Sgt. Frank Butler gives a firefighter team a thumbs-up signaling that they can start the training, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)

The Latvian firefighting team prepares to train at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on the base.

The Latvian firefighting team prepares to train at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on the base. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)

Staff Sgt. Robert Welborn of the 435th Construction and Training Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, watches a team of firefighters prepare to put out a fire, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Staff Sgt. Robert Welborn of the 435th Construction and Training Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, watches a team of firefighters prepare to put out a fire, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)

A firefighting team pulls out the pilot — a dummy — from a fighter jet mockup, after putting out a fire on the jet. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 11, 2020.

A firefighting team pulls out the pilot — a dummy — from a fighter jet mockup, after putting out a fire on the jet. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 11, 2020. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)

The Latvian firefighting team puts out a fire in the engine of a jet fighter mockup at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires during training led by the 435th Construction and Training Squadron.

The Latvian firefighting team puts out a fire in the engine of a jet fighter mockup at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires during training led by the 435th Construction and Training Squadron. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)

Two members of the Latvian firefighting team carry the pilot, a dummy, away from the mockup of a jet fighter at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires during training led by the 435th Construction and Training Squadron at the base.

Two members of the Latvian firefighting team carry the pilot, a dummy, away from the mockup of a jet fighter at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires during training led by the 435th Construction and Training Squadron at the base. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)

Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, during training led by the 435th Construction and Training Squadron.

Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, during training led by the 435th Construction and Training Squadron. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)

The Latvian firefighting team puts out an engine fire on a mockup of a fighter jet, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

The Latvian firefighting team puts out an engine fire on a mockup of a fighter jet, March 11, 2020. Firefighters from four NATO nations practiced putting out fires at the USAFE Fire Academy on Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Armed with hoses and oxygen masks, firefighters from four NATO countries took turns Wednesday putting out a propane-fueled fire on a burning jet simulator as U.S. instructors looked on.

The tricky part of the live fire drill was getting the pilot out — a ragdoll-like manikin seated inside the cockpit of the F-15 fire trainer.

One of the lessons the teams from Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria learned at the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Fire Academy is to carry the pilot down the ladder feet first to protect the head.

Led by instructors from the 435th Construction and Training Squadron, the academy holds courses several times a year for NATO firefighters, offering unique live fire training.

Other drills during the week included a structure burn and room-to-room search and rescue.

“Our Army doesn’t have this similar facility for training,” said Capt. Jan Mericka of the Czech Army’s Logistics Agency.

The F-15 fire trainer was used for the first time Wednesday, said Tech. Sgt. Frank Butler, a 435th CTS instructor. It took about 18 months to align U.S. and European safety requirements before it could be used.

Feeding a line of propane to the trainer, the instructors controlled the height and length of the fire, simulating first an engine intake fire, then a brake fire, Butler said.

The presence of U.S. aircraft throughout Europe underscores the importance of the drills, Butler said.

“They’ll be able to provide that support in the event there was an aircraft emergency,” he said.

svan.jennifer@stripes.com Twitter: @stripesktown

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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