JBLE firefighters earn national designation

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Wesley Farnsworth
  • 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Thirty-eight combined years of service, including professional development, education and hands-on experience has finally paid off for two Joint Base Langley-Eustis firefighters, as they have been awarded the prestigious designation of Chief Fire Officer.

Only 913 firefighters in the United States and 10 in the Department of Defense are able to claim this designation, which is an extensive process.

Douglas Faber, Fort Eustis, Va., assistant chief of prevention and public education, is one of two JBLE firefighters to earn the CFO designation, putting him among an elite group not only in the Department of Defense, but nationally.

"I worked as a firefighter for 20 years in the DOD, starting out as a firefighter in the Navy, and switching over to the Air Force Reserve where I retired," Faber said. "However, prior to working for the DOD, I was a volunteer firefighter for 10 years."

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Matthew McQuaig, Langley Air Force Base, Va., deputy fire chief of fire and emergency services, also holds the CFO designation.

"I've been a firefighter in the Air Force for 18 years and I'm proud to have earned this designation," McQuaig said. "This is a new program for the Air Force and it's an honor to be part of such a limited pool in not only the DOD, but nationally."

The CFO designation program was created to recognize fire officers who have demonstrated excellence and outstanding achievement throughout their career. The designation recognizes those individuals who have developed a strategy for continued career improvement and development. The highly competitive CFO designation assures departments their leaders have the educational and technical competencies necessary to meet today's demands.

The selection signifies diligence and devotion to accomplishing the mission, and serves as a professional development tool in advancing future leaders.

The National Professional Development Model, supported by the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education Program, maps an efficient path for fire service professional development. It is supported by collaboration among fire-related training, higher education and credentialing. The model shows CFO designation as a credential to consider in the career progression to fire service executive.

The application process includes an assessment of the applicant's education, experience, professional development, technical competencies, contributions to the profession and community involvement.

In addition, all applicants are required to identify a future professional development plan and submit three letters of recommendation, which are reviewed by peers who currently hold the CFO designation.

Faber recalls that the entire process took nine-months before he was notified his application was accepted.

"My peer reviewer called me on the phone to let me know he was going to recommend my package [to] be approved, and it was like a weight was lifted off me," Faber said. "It's very satisfying to know that someone else thought I was good enough to make the cut."

This designation may be new for the Air Force, but according to Randy Caratachea, Air Combat Command fire chief, it's something that they hope to see more of.

"This whole process made me figure out where I was with my career and what I want for the future," McQuaig said. "It also helps me grow in partnership with the civilian fire departments because it shows that I'm equivalent to the national standard of a CFO."

Both Faber and McQuaig credit and thank their supervisors and Caratachea for their designation because of the push he gave them to submit the packages.

"They are both outstanding individuals and have led from the front in terms of training and getting their college degrees completed," Caratachea said. "We are always trying to build great leaders and this designation will not only help them personally but have a great impact on the Air Force."

Since completing this designation Faber hopes to attend the Executive Fire Officer Program with the National Fire Academy. McQuaig hopes to continue on into the civilian sector when his military career comes to an end.

To learn more about the national CFO designation, visit www.publicsafetyexcellence.org