@charset "utf-8"; /* CSS Document */ p { font-family: "Comic Sans MS", sans-serif; font-size: 20pt;} blockquote { width: 100%; font-size: 18pt; font-style: italic; font-family: 'Comic Sans MS', sans-serif; margin: 10px 10px 10px 10px; padding: 10px; } h1 { h1 class="title"; font-size: 14pt; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 0; line-height: 1.2; font-family: 'Comic Sans MS', Arial, sans-serif; color:#000000; text-transform: uppercase;} .da_body h1 { font-size: 40px; margin-bottom: 5px;margin-top:0; line-height: 1.2; font-family: 'Comic Sans MS', Arial, sans-serif; color: #123D63}

HomeNewsArticle Display

19 CES Airman follows dreams to become AF firefighter

A man stands in front of a fire truck.

U.S. Airman 1st Class Corey Calkins, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, prepares to train his skills as a firefighter at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Oct. 11, 2019. Calkins grew up around a firehouse his father worked at, which inspired him to follow in his dad’s footsteps to become a firefighter. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs)

Men put out a fire.

Airmen assigned to the 19th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department extinguish a simulated aircraft fire at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Oct. 9, 2019. The 19th CES firefighters train regularly to enhance their emergency response skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs)

Men put out a fire.

Airmen assigned to the 19th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department extinguish a simulated aircraft fire at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Oct. 9, 2019. The 19th CES Fire Department provides fire prevention, firefighting, rescue and emergency response services to Little Rock AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs)

Men put out a fire

Airmen assigned to the 19th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department extinguish a simulated aircraft fire at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Oct. 9, 2019. Little Rock AFB residents were invited to see the 19th CES firefighters enhance their skills through training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs)


A young boy walks through a firehouse with boots laid out and fire gear hung across the hooks one after the other, waiting to be donned by firefighters in response to whatever disaster has interrupted the lives of the public.

The speakers ring so loud the boy presses his hands firmly against his ears to protect them. Firefighters rush in through the doors in response. Among the men is the boy’s father, the firefighter he looks up to the most.

His father leaves with sirens wailing and lights flashing, to save whoever’s life is on the line, while his son watches completely inspired by the heroism he just witnessed.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Corey Calkins, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, recalls the fast-paced environment of the firehouse his father worked at in South Hadley, Massachusetts, throughout his childhood.

“I grew up around a firehouse and I always looked to everyone there as role models, especially my dad,” Calkins said. “I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps, he was a firefighter for 32 years.”

As Calkins became old enough to establish a career, he was conflicted between two professions — joining the Air Force or becoming a firefighter, so Calkins began to look into both career options.

According to Calkins, he knew joining the Air Force would mean serving his country and becoming a firefighter would mean continuing his family heritage.

“I saw things from both sides and was very conflicted, so I went to check out my options,” Calkins said. “After further research I realized I could do both, which is when I decided to become a firefighter in the Air Force.”

Following basic military training and firefighter technical training, Calkins received orders to the 19th CES as a firefighter at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. Throughout his training and experience, he realized combining his aspirations was the best choice to make for his career.

“This base provides us regular training because we don’t have many incidents that require us to utilize all our skills necessary to be a firefighter,” Calkins said. “When we had a large fire on base, my heart was racing and I froze for a second, but I was confident I could be the person to help that family because of the training I received here.”

Not only does Calkins feel ready for unknown daily challenges, the support and bond between him and his fellow Airmen make the long hours worth the sacrifice. 

“Unlike your typical jobs, we don’t usually get the holidays off,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Sylvester Dass, 19th CES fire inspector and Calkins’s supervisor. “When we don’t get that time off to spend with our family, we spend it with our work family. The camaraderie and brotherhood that we have makes us feel at home every day.”

It’s that brotherhood and camaraderie that keeps Calkins’s motivated.

“Every day, when I walk into work I know I made the right choice to follow in my father’s footsteps of becoming a firefighter and do so while serving my country,” Calkins said.

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.