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Out of the flight suit: A 446th AW Reservist uses a particular skill to fight COVID-19

Air Force Reservist in firefighter gear

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Air Force Reservist Senior Master Sgt. Scott Hesse is a firefighter in Tacoma, Washington, in his civilian capacity. As a firefighter during the pandemic declared on March 11, Hesse, don in personal protective equipment, treats patients with symptoms and those who tested positive for the coronavirus and transports them to local hospitals and facilities to receive better treatment. (Courtesy photo)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

A C-17 Globemaster III loadmaster, assigned to the 728th Airlift Squadron, fights COVID-19 not on an aircraft, but with fire.

Air Force Reservist Senior Master Sgt. Scott Hesse is a firefighter in Tacoma, Washington, in his civilian capacity. As a firefighter during the pandemic declared on March 11, Hesse, don in personal protective equipment, treats patients with symptoms and those who tested positive for the coronavirus and transports them to local hospitals and facilities to receive better treatment.

But, there is one skill in particular he’s learned in his 31-year military career that has proved helpful during this pandemic – staying calm.

“The military has taught me to stay calm, sort things out and handle the situation,” Hesse said. “When we have an in-flight emergency, you can’t just pull over and wait for help. You have to work together as a crew, run checklist and keep what might be a small problem from becoming a large problem.”

Hesse applies this skill to his civilian job as well.

“Staying calm during this pandemic is definitely a must,” he said. “People call us (the fire department) because they are sick or have tested positive and they need help. They have seen the news and are generally scared. But as a firefighter, you have to be calm so the patient and family know and feel that you are there to help and solve any problem (or problems) they might have.”

“A lot of people feel better after we get there, because we remain calm and help reassure them.”

Whether responding to emergencies in the air or on the ground, it is the skill of staying calm that Hesse applies.

“I get great personal satisfaction,” he said, “at the end of every mission and at the end of every shift.”