Norma Brown

Major General Norma Brown entered the Air Force in 1951 and worked her way up through the ranks to become Wing Commander at Goodfellow Air Force Base.  At every step, she broke ground for women in the Air Force.  This special training room is named after her.  Mike Robertson saved it for last on our base tour.

There are two tables this size in the room, built to Matchbox scale.  First I thought this was a giant train set.  Secondly I was admiring the layout and detail as an artist.

While the tables are a thing of beauty, what they really are is a unique high-intensity training tool for fire response command.  Those running the show can make it day or night.  They can make fires and emergencies appear all over the table.  Those taking the trainings need to keep their cool, keep their perspective, and direct the response to every incident that comes their way.  It is much harder than it might seem.

They tell me that those being tested on their command response find this very demanding and stressful.  Although these are just Matchbox-sized toys and models on the table, once the the test is underway, it’s just like the real thing.  Fires break out, smoke appears, heart rates rise.

Many of the scenarios are based on real life situations.  Here for instance is the Morrow building in Oklahoma City, after they have removed the wall and set it on fire.  (They didn’t light the fires or set off the smoke for our tour.)

There are almost an infinite number of emergencies those running the training can throw at those being trained.  Each picture here has some emergency hidden behind the peaceful setting, ready to engage and challenge those being trained.  Totally fabulous!

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