Rural/Metro chief, firefighters prepare to deploy overseas
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Rural/Metro Fire Chief Tom Brandhuber is scheduled to head to the Middle East at the end of this month alongside three other Rural/Metro firefighters with the Air Force. Brandhuber will be a fire chief at an airbase overseas while serving for the next five months.

Rural/Metro Fire Chief Tom Brandhuber and three Rural/Metro firefighters are scheduled to deploy overseas at the end of the month.

Brandhuber also serves as an Air Force Reserve Fire Chief for the 944th Fighter Wing based at Luke Air Force Base.

The other three are firefighters Mike Grassell, Andrew Madison and Grant Reed. Grassell serves with the 161st Civil Engineering Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Reed with the 162nd Fighter Ammo Flight at Davis Monthan AFB and Madison with the 162nd Security Forces Squadron in Tucson.

Brandhuber said his deployment is expected to last five months He'll be serving as a fire chief at an air base in the Middle East. During his absence, Deputy Chief James Stoltenberg will serve as Rural/Metro's acting chief.

Brandhuber's wife Tamara and their four daughters — Tory, 10, Paige, 8, Jasmine, 5, and Bailey, 3 — remain at home in the Northwest.

"'I'm doing my part,"' Brandhuber said. "'So many men and women have made sacrifices much greater than the one I am about to make. I may be wearing a different uniform, but firefighters do the same job wherever they are. You agree to do that when you sign up."'

Brandhuber has been fire chief of Rural/Metro for the past year and a half, and has been with the department for 11 years, previously serving as a fire inspector, captain, division chief and assistant chief. He has 21 years of reserve and active duty military firefighting experience.

Brandhuber said he thought the time deployed would go quickly.

"'I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve,"' he said.

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