LOCAL

Former Gonzales Asst. Fire Chief making a difference in Afghanistan

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Since arriving in Afghanistan on April 2013, Dwayne Gipson has been one of the top performers in LOGCAP.

Dwayne Gibson was born in Denver, Co on October 8th, 1969. His passion for the fire service began in his early childhood years. Every Saturday he would watch his favorite television show “Emergency”, which featured firefighters and paramedics from the County of Los Angeles, Ca. After the program goes off, Gibson would go outside and pretend that he was rescuing people from a burning house or fighting a big high-rise fire. This went on for years until the show was taken of the air. Whenever he heard a fire engine, he would run as fast as he can to the road and watch the truck go by. He also read plenty of books about firefighters and the fire service.

After his high school graduation in 1988, Gibson joined the Louisiana Army National Guard and after

he completed his initial training, realized that he had to either go to college or get a full-time job. He pursued his childhood dream to become a firefighter. He became a paid firefighter in January 1989 with the Donaldsonville (La.) Fire Department. During this time, he helped start the Emergency Medical Services program in the department.

In 1990, he became the first state certified firefighter in the history of the department and in 1995, he started a comprehensive fire education and safety program for elementary students. During the fall of 1997, he attended

Delgado Community College and majored in Fire Protection Technology. In 1999, Gibson became the first African American Fire Captain in the Donaldsonville Fire Department. He left the department in June of 2001 and started working with the Gonzales (La.) Fire Department as the department’s training officer. Later that year in November, he was promoted to District Fire Chief. In December of 2004 he was promoted to Assistant Fire Chief.

Since arriving in Afghanistan on April 2013, Gipson has been one of the top performers in LOGCAP.

First, as a Crew Chief at FOB Shank he led fire crews during major emergencies such as a C-130 crash and a large facility fire resulting from an IED attack. During these challenging fires, no injuries to the occupants or firefighters occurred.

In July 2013 he was transferred to Bagram and quickly distinguished himself with his can-do attitude. He took over the firefighter PPE program and revamped the inspection and testing procedures that were later adapted theater-wide. The program improved safety of the firefighters while saving thousands of taxpayer dollars by extending the usage life of the PPE.

In April 2014 he was promoted to Assistant Fire Chief, Fire Program Management Office. In this capacity he continues to improve Fire Program operations theater-wide. He was pivotal in revamping and standardizing the Fire Extinguisher Reservicing System (FERS) programs at all sites. He traveled to each site and personally trained and recertified all FERS personnel. The revamped program also enhanced the safety of the personnel.

Due to his broad experiences and leadership abilities he has also filled in as the Deputy Fire Chief at Bagram and Fire Chief at Fenty during prolonged vacancies.

Before coming to work for Vectrus, Gibson began contract firefighting in Iraq in 2009, where he was an Asst. Fire Chief of Operations. He has also worked in Saudi Arabia as an Asst. Fire Chief of Fire Prevention.