Air Force’s Top Firefighter Retires

Donald Warner, the Air Force’s fire chief, retired last month after more than 46 years of service, including 20 years in uniform. Warner stepped down on Dec. 29 as chief of fire emergency services in the Air Force Civil Engineer Center at Tyndall AFB, Fla., according to a Dec. 31 base release. In that role, which he held for 11 years, he oversaw the service’s fire department operations and some 10,000 airmen and civilian firefighters, states the release. “When I enlisted in 1965, the Air Force chose the firefighting career field for me,” said Warner, who retired from the Active Duty force in 1985 as a chief master sergeant. “I have loved it. I can’t think of anything else I would have rather done,” he added. Warner said firefighting operations have “expanded tremendously” over the years, with Air Force firefighters now “an all-hazards response force.” Today, they save about 30 persons’ lives each year, he said. “I’m very proud of that,” he noted. Col. Mike Mendoza, AFCEC readiness directorate chief, said Warner represented military firefighters “with integrity, honor, and dedication to service” and “will be sorely missed.” (Tyndall report by John Burt)