Jan. 1, 2007

Trading snow for sand

By Lynda Jensen


The weather might be the opposite in Iraq compared to Minnesota right now, but the concept of fighting fires is the same.

And that is exactly what Jon Davidson of Winsted plans to do three weeks from now – fight fires, but instead of being part of the Winsted Fire Department, he will be working as a firefighter at the Kirkuk Air Force Base.

The population at the airbase is a little larger than Winsted, and requires two fire stations.

“In Kirkuk, Iraq, I will be working as a full-time Air Force firefighter,” he said. His shifts will be 24 hours on, then 24 hours off. He will live at the fire station while on and off duty.

“My job will include structural fire calls on base, aircraft emergencies and crashes, and medical work on a rescue truck,” he said.

“We deal with aircraft emergencies,” such as if a plane catches fire or other issues, he said.

Davidson, who has been a member of the Winsted Fire Department since 2002, is also a senior airman in the Air Force Reserve.

His tour of duty will be about four months, from January to May or June, he said.

The average temperature in Iraq is 54 degrees, being in the midst of the rainy season there.

Davidson has been in the Air Force Reserve for about three years, he said. This will be his first time being deployed. His departure date is set for Saturday, Jan. 13.

“A few months ago his squadron was told they would be going to Iraq and asked for volunteers, hoping they would get enough people to sign up,” his girlfriend, Krissy Krohn, said.

“Jon told his family and me that he signed up, so another man with a family wouldn’t have to go,” she said.

He spent four months at the joint military Fire Academy in San Angelo, Texas to train for the deployment.

“We studied structural fires, aircraft emergencies and extrication, Hazmat, and various other subjects,” Davidson said.

Davidson serves as an emergency medical technician for Ridgeview Medical Center several nights a week in the Winsted area, and also works as a project manager at Millerbernd Design & Fabrication.

“He is very ambitious, and we are all very proud of him for volunteering to use his abilities to serve our country,” Krohn said.

Davidson is the son of Greg and Donna Davidson of Winsted.

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