Sheppard Fire Chief David Mounsey inducted to Military Firefighter Hall of Fame

  • Published
  • By Julie Svoboda
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

As a young boy, Fire Chief David Mounsey and his brother would hop on their bikes and follow firetrucks to the wherever the action was. Little did he know at the time, he would have a distinguished firefighting career that would take him from Massachusetts to serving his country for 29 years active duty in the Air Force, 18 years as a civilian at Sheppard Air Force Base and, eventually, induction into the Military Firefighters Hall of Fame.

Deputy Chief Juan Dominguez and his predecessor, Rodney Ryalls, collaborated to nominate Mounsey based on his tireless advocacy for military and civilian firefighters, his efforts to standardize Department of Defense firefighting training and certifications to mirror National Fire Protection Association requirements and spearheading improvements for firefighter pay. According to Dominguez, Mounsey’s initiatives reach beyond Sheppard AFB to benefit all DOD firefighters.

“One of the things that he achieved was hazard duty pay,” said Dominguez. “When we send firefighters into locations where it's not the safest place to be, whether it's overseas or downrange, conducting certain missions, he was able to eventually get the pay funded. It took years to do it. But now when our current firefighters go somewhere that's labeled as a hazardous area, they get an incentive or extra pay for being there.”

Not one to follow a status quo, Mounsey constantly seeks ways to raise the bar. Under his guidance, Sheppard AFB was the first Air Education and Training Command base and one of only 300 agencies worldwide to achieve Accredited Agency status through the Commission of Fire Accreditation International. After the initial designation in 2015, the base was reaccredited in 2020.

Within the firehouse, Mounsey is regarded as a mentor who is invested in developing his crew into competent, capable leaders.

“He genuinely cares about all his firefighters on a one-on-one basis. He's not somebody who is unapproachable,” said Dominguez. “Anyone can go up to him and seek mentorship, seek leadership from him. He's very good about teaching our younger firefighters or younger generation how to lead. Matter of fact, he also does that at a higher level, too. He'll teach what's called the commander's course and he'll teach future civil engineers and squadron leaders how to make decisions for their civil engineering groups.”

Despite the accolades, it’s all in a day’s work to Mounsey, who said he remains ready to answer any call, whether it is to protect Sheppard or assist surrounding communities.

“I'm elated and humbled at the same time that I would be put in the same category as some of the pioneers that were in our career field -- giants from yesteryear, and a lot of folks that I have served alongside who went on to bigger and better things,” said Mounsey. “I’m just humbled that I would even be put in the same categories as those men.”

The Military Firefighter Heritage Foundation inducted Mounsey into the Hall of Fame on March 23, 2024 in San Angelo, Texas.