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“If you’re not feeling the burden of this job in some way, if its not weighing you down to some degree, then you’re not doing it right.”   There is a burden associated with the job…it can be very heavy or to be more accurate, ever present.  One does not feel it at first in […]

Rolling With the Punch

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  Change sweeps over us all, sometimes like an on rushing train.  As the fire service leadership, we must lead our organizations successfully through it, while making sure we ourselves are still on the train. Back in the early ’90’s, I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with an old Baltimore fireman, my […]

9/11 – Keeping My Perspective

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For whatever reason, this third year after the ten-year anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York seems for many of us to have felt different. Different as in, forgotten. This was the first topic of discussion this past Wednesday morning as a few of us gathered on Fire Engineering’s Humpday […]

The Oath

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“My fundamental duty is to serve humanity…” We all stood. “All rise and raise your right hand”..The clatter of the old wooden auditorium seats clapped and banged as the entire academy stood as one. “Repeat after me..”, said the Chief officer in attendance. The thunder of male voices rang through the auditorium. Our families sat […]

Random Thoughts and Four Parallel Lines

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I’ll allow I’ve been busy lately. Going back to school. Self-improvement, …or maybe self-destruction, …not sure yet. But I’ve had this topic on my mind for months and wanted to get it out to you. Pour a cup and sit yourself down… Its been that time of year for us. Twice a year our department […]

Know What You’re Doing…Its Expected

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“Leaders have to be knowledgeable and proficient all the way around, day and night and in all areas. That knowledge, or the lack thereof, is easily read by all followers. My basic point with being tactically and technically proficient is that leaders must know their job, know their people, and be physically involved with them; […]

Leading Firemen and Chasin’ Kinks

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So I get a call from a young brother on the other side o’ the country. We’ve broken bread together a coupla’ times and he’s the kind of Jake you just naturally take a liking to. He’s all fired and up and rarin’ to go, just askin’ for a little leadership to light the way. […]

Leadership: HoldFAST..

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“Leadership is intangible, hard to measure, and difficult to describe. It’s quality would seem to stem from many factors. But certainly they must include a measure of inherent ability to control and direct, self-confidence based on expert knowledge, initiative, loyalty, pride and sense of responsibility. Inherent ability cannot be instilled, but that which is latent […]

A Requiem: The Gray Building Fire

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“The blaze was a stubborn, dangerous and heavy smoke fire–but every man faced this with the highest courage that men can attain. There was work to be done, and these brave men did that work without a look behind..” from the Firemen’s Grapevine. Nov. 15th 1939 The Gray Building Fire, Los Angeles, Ca. 1939, courtesy […]

Investing Time: Know Your People

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“Spend quality time with the team, learning who they are and what motivates them.” — Lt. Col Hal Moore, USA Ret. Old Man Winter keeps crackin’ on here in the North. I’m lookin’ forward to Spring. Had a garage fire the other night. Two snowmachines (snow mobiles for those of you down in America), caught […]

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Ben Fleagle

Ben Fleagle is a 23-year veteran of the fire service and is currently a fire captain with University Fire Department, Fairbanks Alaska.  Ben has served as an instructor with the Community Technical College, University of Alaska Fairbanks, teaching Rescue Practices, Building Construction for the Fire Service, Rapid Intervention Company Operations and has been the Sr. Drill Instructor for the summer Fire Fighter I Academy for the past four years. Ben has been a member of the Fraternal Order Of Leatherheads Society (F.O.O.L.S.) since 2004, establishing the first chapter in Alaska along with a handful of brothers in Fairbanks.  Serving as the chapter president for a decade, he has moved on to pursue other opportunities, becoming the Secretary of the F.O.O.L.S. International E-Board in 2015.  Ben continues to pursue leadership and servanthood topics for the fire service and remains a devoted Leatherhead.

FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Recent Posts
Burden June 29, 2015
Rolling With the Punch February 23, 2015
My first house.  Circa 1992.  Brand new Pierce coming on line as E221.  Photo by Author. The Oath April 16, 2014
Ben Fleagle
Quick answer off the cuff,.. My friend, who am I to teach you? Much depends on our willingness to be accountable to what we have learned. I teach what I know to be true to those I lead. If my inexperience causes others to stumble, I strive to correct my error and demonstrate integrity. What…
2015-08-24 06:23:50
C. Theobald
Hey Capt, Awesome post, thanks for sharing as always. So ponder some more out about your comment "You’re there, tired, because when you look behind you, there isn’t anyone else standing there to take your place. At least not anyone that is going to do the job the way you believe it should be done."…
2015-08-18 00:25:58
Ben Fleagle
Hey Brother, great to hear from you again! It was in a way a rhetorical pondering, but I'm glad you spoke up, it lends credence..There are definitely those coming along that will shoulder the burden, but sometimes they feel very few and far between.
2015-07-06 01:14:48
H. Babler
Great word Cap! I can attest that bring on a large department doesn't change the statistics at all. In fact it may make them worse. It's hard after getting your head kicked in on the ambulance with 25+ runs to be ready to train and work the next shift on the engine knowing that the…
2015-07-04 00:30:26
Ben Fleagle
Rolling With the Punch
Brother Babler! Good to hear from you. Yes, its important that the younger crowd be willing to listen and be respectful, but that does not mean that every old dog has got it right. Let them earn it, again and again. You can get rusty in a dusty old reputation. So they have experience, are…
2015-04-16 02:45:18

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A Warrior Poet

I am a Warrior Poet of the American Fire Service. My objective here is to keep the spirit of our heritage alive as our profession is attacked by the modern world. Please join me and we’ll walk a bit together, perhaps smoke a stogie or two and share a strong cup of joe. Take a seat on the tailboard. We’ll blend together, share our hearts and minds, and become like brothers. Leatherheads, sewn with sturdy thread, woven into the filigree that marks us as firemen.

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