Don’t worry — there wasn’t a multi-million dollar fighter jet on fire at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort this morning.
But that’s what some people initially thought when the air station published a Facebook Live video early Friday morning which showed what looked like one of the base’s iconic jets awash in flames.
The jet, however, was a model, according to air station spokesman Capt. Clayton Groover, built in “an outline of one of our (F/A-18) Hornets.”
And the fire was intentionally set, part of a “regularly scheduled training” exercise, according to Groover, that tests the air station’s Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting unit’s readiness and showcases its skills.
The air station has profiled the unit’s work before.
In February 2016, it highlighted the details of a similar training exercise. “The training involved extinguishing fuel fires on a model jet to give ARFF Marines the experience of fighting a real fire,” according to air station news release about the event. “The Marines battling the blaze use hoses to push the fire away from the model jet’s cockpit in order to simulate procedure for rescuing a pilot in a real life scenario.”
Members of the unit have participated in the Corps’ annual Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting rodeo; last year’s event was held at MCAS Air Station New River, N.C.