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Air Force firefighter of the year, based in Japan, is heading for her next challenge

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 19, 2021

A firefighter at Misawa Air Base is the 2020 Military Firefighter of Year for the Air Force and will compete for the overall Department of Defense title, according to the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa.

Staff Sgt. Journey Collier, originally from a small town in Oregon, is a firefighter with the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron and has served four years at Misawa, according to a news release.

“I feel like I’m just doing my job and what’s expected of me,” the wing quoted her as saying. “My only goal is to try to make sure I’m not making the day harder for anybody else and making our 48-hour shifts a little more enjoyable. I want to be someone that’s reliable and dependable for my team.

Collier streamlined the firefighter certification process for airmen by trimming 135 hours, gave 300 kids virtual tours during the coronavirus pandemic and led three trainings with her Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterparts, according to the wing.

Senior Master Sgt. Damean Moore, the squadron’s deputy fire chief, in the release described Collier as an “outstanding technician in her craft” who also excelled in her schooling and personal and professional life.

“Not only is she dedicated to her work and this team, but she’s also dedicated to give back to the community. When we talk about the whole Airman concept, that’s who she is.”

Collier was on leave and unavailable for comment, according to the wing on Monday.

Having excelled at firefighting, Collier is planning to enter the Professional Officer Course-Early Release Program with a view of earning a commission, she said on a video posted on the base Facebook page.

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Twitter: @StarsAndStripes

Air Force Staff Sgt. Journey Collier, a 35th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, recently won the Air Force Military Firefighter of the Year award.
KAYLA PALMER/U.S. AIR FORCE