Alligator River/Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
P. O. Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131

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News Release

February 5, 2010

FWS Presence Grows on SE Incident Management Teams
Posted in Southeastern Currents

The recent announcement of members for the 2010 Types 1 and 2 Incident Management Teams for the Southeast showed quite an increase in FWS employees, indicating the growing levels of both interest in and support for the Incident Management System by our agency. The Type 1 Blue Team has two members who are FWS employees. But, a tremendous FWS presence can be seen on the Type 1 Red and Type 2 teams whose combined rosters boast a whopping 27 FWS employees. Tony Wilder, one of our own, is the Incident Commander for the Type 2 team.

Wilder is appreciative of the change in attitude this increase indicates. "I remember when Ray Farinetti and I were the only Fire Management Officers in the country with qualifications higher than basic firefighter," he said. "The Fish and Wildlife Service is really stepping up to the plate and taking on a leadership role in both fire and all-risk management. Other agencies are recognizing that we can hold our own in the Incident Management System. And, that's a good thing!"

On an Incident Management Team, the core positions are called Command and General Staff. General Staff members supervise individual sections, specifically Operations, Logistics,Finance and Plans. Each section has unit leaders who get the job done on each incident. The Command Staff is comprised of Liaison Officer, Information Officer, Safety Officer and Deputy IC. These positions provide advice and counsel to the IC and interact with outside agencies, media and provide safety oversight of the incident. Every position on the team has one or more "primaries", one or more "alternates", and varying numbers of trainees and apprentices. The trainees and apprentices are basically gaining on-the-job training when they are assigned to an incident with the team.

Type 2 Team :
Command and General Staff
Incident Commander - Tony Wilder
Information Officer, primary - Catherine Hibbard (R5)
Information Officer, alternate - Bonnie Strawser
Safety Officer, trainee - Tom Crews
Operations Section Chief, primary - Pete Kubiak
Operations Section Chief, primary - Glen Stratton
Planning Section Chief, alternate - Phil Weston

Other Wilder Team members include:
Operations - Division Supervisor, alternate - Matthew Johnson; trainee - Jay Mickey
Helibase Manager, trainee - Cory Waters
Logistics - Facilities Unit Leader, alternate - James McCray (R2) (retired but still serving)
Security Manager, primary - Greg Blanks; alternate - Jason Vehrs
Finance - Time Unit Leader, apprentice - Holly Cyprian (R2)

Type 1 Red Team:
Command and General Staff
Safety Officer, trainee - Bob Eaton
Operations Section Chief-Jim Durrwachter (retired but still serving)

Other members:
Operations - Division Supervisor, trainees - James Lankford (R3), Greg Titus, Thaddeus Hertzberger (R2), Ryan Vice (R2), Larry Smith, and Josh O'Connor;
apprentice - Michael Ward
Finance - Cost Unit Leader, primary - Beverly Derouin; trainee - Helen Czernik
Plans - Resource Unit Leader, apprentice - Sue Wilder
Plans - Situation Unit Leader, trainee - Jennifer Hinckley
Plans - Long Term Analyst, primary - Kim Ernstrom

Type 1 Blue Team:
Operations - Division Supervisor, primary - John Wallace
Finance - Orders Manager, trainee - Michael Good

Bob Eaton, Regional Chief of the Division of Fire Management, also commented on the FWS growth in the Southeast Teams. "We have grown from fewer than 6 to almost 30 in a little more than 10 years. This can be attributed to more support from Line Officers as well as heavy and aggressive recruitment to build capacity. I am extremely proud of the commitment we have from our Regional Directorate down to individual commitment from each Line Officer on the ground. It is also great to see a FWS IC - Tony Wilder- and the Command and General Staff participation from our folks," he said.

Wilder summarized the change in attitude and the benefits of being on a team. "Our Service leadership and field personnel alike are looking at the big picture and realizing the importance of getting the necessary training and experience. Yes, serving on a team takes us away from our 'day jobs', but the benefits to the resources of our country are worth the sacrifice. The more we do this, the safer we are. And the better we get, the better job we can do for our refuges back home. We learn something new and become better qualified with every assignment."

Representatives posing for picture
FWS representatives on the three Southeast Incident Management Teams at a recent training session in Atlanta. FWS involvement in these teams has increased dramatically in recent years with the 2010 teams have 29 participating FWS members. Photo Credit: FWS