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From Warfighter to Firefighter: Marine veteran first trainee to graduate Fire Academy

By Verda L. Parker | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | May 4, 2017

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Making the transition from warfighter to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s first entry-level Fire Academy graduate is one for the history books in the installation’s existence and a dream come true for its newest firefighter.

 

In a ceremony held at MCLB Albany’s Fire Station No. 1, May 3, Jonathan Kirkman was hailed as the most recent on staff to graduate from the Department of Defense Fire Academy at Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, Texas.

 

According to Philip Partin, fire chief, attending the academy is similar to going through weeks of rigorous military boot camp training.

 

“Jonathan went to the Fire Academy,” Partin said. “I’ve heard Marines talk about going through boot camp; the Fire Academy is 13 weeks. That means it’s not easy.

 

“Jonathan graduated May 1,” the chief said. “So, now he is in the brotherhood of firefighters, and I thought, we should recognize him and present his badge. Since his father’s here, it would be perfect to have him pin on his badge.”

 

Flanked by an applauding crowd of fellow firefighters and family members, Phillip Kirkman, director, Retail Integration Division, Marine Corps Logistics Command, pinned his son’s badge and remarked on previous times he has pinned his son during their active-duty service in the Corps.

 

“I actually got a chance to promote Jonathan as a young (Private First Class) back in 2009-2010 timeframe,” the father recalled. “Then, when we were out on active-duty together in New Orleans, I pinned him as a corporal—him, and his brother Joshua over there, all in the same ceremony.

 

“So, this is pretty much a privilege for me,” Phillip Kirkman added. “I’m proud of you son, and I know you’re going to do well.”

 

The newly-inducted firefighter commented on his tours as an active-duty Marine and his earlier career aspiration to be a fireman.

 

“I just graduated from Fire Academy,” Jonathan said. “I was a Marine; I was a supply warehouse clerk from 2009-2015. I got deployed once to Italy and Africa; then, I got deployed right after that to Afghanistan.

 

“I’ve always wanted to be a Marine,” the younger Kirkman added. “I started looking into being a Marine firefighter, but evidently (that billet) was closed, so I was a supply clerk for a while; got out, didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Once I heard about firefighting, it’s always been a position I wanted, and that’s what brought me here.

 

 “Everyone here has been a huge help giving me information and things I need,” he explained. “These guys have been firefighters throughout their entire careers and I’m a brand new guy. All I can say is, ‘Thanks a lot for everything.’”
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