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Patriotic helmet needs to go, Newton Fire Chief says (Massachusetts)
The Boston Globe ^ | December 16, 2008 | Ben Terris

Posted on 12/16/2008 9:03:18 PM PST by buccaneer81

Patriotic helmet needs to go, Newton Fire Chief says

By Ben Terris, Globe Correspondent

A veteran of the Iraq War, Richard Busa is used to fighting for the American flag. But never quite like this.

After more than three years of rushing into fires with his signature red, white and blue helmet, the Newton firefighter has been told to paint it black. Newton Fire Chief Joseph LaCroix wants the patriotic decoration gone, saying it does not conform to the department's rules.

(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: Massachusetts
KEYWORDS: dresscodes; firefighter; oifveterans; patriot; uniform
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This ought to be interesting. And ugly.
1 posted on 12/16/2008 9:03:20 PM PST by buccaneer81
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To: buccaneer81

2 posted on 12/16/2008 9:05:33 PM PST by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: buccaneer81

If the chief was a Viet vet, I’d say it’s about time he retire and let a new dog take the lead dog role.


3 posted on 12/16/2008 9:07:04 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed)
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To: NormsRevenge
If the chief was a Viet vet, I’d say it’s about time he retire and let a new dog take the lead dog role.

Colin Powell was a Vietnam vet, too.

You're absolutely right.

4 posted on 12/16/2008 9:09:52 PM PST by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: facedown

Thanks for posting that.


5 posted on 12/16/2008 9:10:23 PM PST by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: buccaneer81
not too long ago,,, August 2008 .. Newton Fire Chief Joseph LaCroix said he does not know how marijuana got into his city car .. it turns out it was his grandson's.
6 posted on 12/16/2008 9:10:49 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed)
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To: buccaneer81

I understand the need for standard uniforms. Who knows what some yahoo might do to push the envelope if you start making exceptions. As much as it pains me to say this, from what I know of the story I’d have to side with the chief on this.


7 posted on 12/16/2008 9:14:17 PM PST by MovementConservative (Not a Bush Republican, a Limbaugh/Levin conservative.)
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To: buccaneer81

...what happened to free speech/expression?


8 posted on 12/16/2008 9:14:31 PM PST by Tzimisce (http://groups.myspace.com/nailthemessiah)
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To: buccaneer81

> Newton Fire Chief Joseph LaCroix wants the patriotic decoration gone, saying it does not conform to the department’s rules.

What an unpatriotic pencil-pushing plonker.

> LaCroix, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War, said that his decision has nothing to do with the flag, but with how he wants his department to conduct business.
>
> “We run a quasi-military operation here,”

Mistake #1: no you don’t, sir, or at least you shouldn’t. Fire Brigade is an Emergency Service, not a branch of the Military.


9 posted on 12/16/2008 9:17:49 PM PST by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: buccaneer81

If my late Dad were to hear about what is happening in his home state........


10 posted on 12/16/2008 9:18:34 PM PST by ButThreeLeftsDo (MERRY CHRISTMAS!!)
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To: NormsRevenge

LOL! Imagine.


11 posted on 12/16/2008 9:18:49 PM PST by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: buccaneer81
LaCroix said that the department allows small decorations on helmets like shamrock stickers but that painting the entire helmet goes over the line. "Where does it stop if we allow this?" LaCroix said. "What if someone wants to paint an Italian flag, or cartoon characters? We just can't give up our appearance of professionalism."


12 posted on 12/16/2008 9:19:40 PM PST by 6SJ7 (Atlas Shrugged Mode: ON)
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To: DieHard the Hunter

You’re right. Here in Ohio, the only quasi-military organization recognized is the Ohio Highway Patrol (aka the State Police.)


13 posted on 12/16/2008 9:20:52 PM PST by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: 6SJ7

Perfect!


14 posted on 12/16/2008 9:21:20 PM PST by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: ButThreeLeftsDo
If my late Dad were to hear about what is happening in his home state........

I hear you. My dad has been buried in Massachusetts since 1972.

I escaped forever in 1991.

15 posted on 12/16/2008 9:23:04 PM PST by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: MovementConservative
I understand the need for standard uniforms. Who knows what some yahoo might do to push the envelope if you start making exceptions. As much as it pains me to say this, from what I know of the story I’d have to side with the chief on this.

I do understand your position. But this isn't like painting Cartman or a NASCAR logo on the helmet. His helmet art is indicative of the finest American emotion.

Check out US Naval aviators and USAF pilots helmets. Not exactly "uniform."

16 posted on 12/16/2008 9:27:36 PM PST by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: buccaneer81

Although the answer given by the chief is pretty pathetic, and these won’t be a popular points, I think they bear consideration...

How about the Massachusetts flag, to show that you support the States’ Rights inherent in the Constitution, our primary allegiance before the national one? Or how about the UN, since we’re a member of them?

How about if a member of the Cincinnati Bengals decided to paint his helmet Red, White, and Blue in honor of his nation?

Fire helmet colors can indicate very specific things, depending on where you are. In many cases, the privilege of wearing a special helmet is earned...so this would be like someone pinning on a Colonel’s bird just because he thinks it looks cool and patriotic, or calling yourself “Doctor” without becoming one.

For example, many places use white for chief (some places make the shield white but the helmet still black for chief, and all white is district chief), red for captain, yellow for lieutenant (or engineer), blue for medics or safety personnel, and orange for newbies who need to be watched. Sometimes the color indicates professional vs volunteer. Although these color codes are differ from place to place, in one area they tend to be known amongst departments and agencies.

Emergency scenes are not a place where a person from another department or agency should have to try to figure out that the blue flash they see is only the field of blue in a flag, etc.


17 posted on 12/16/2008 9:30:53 PM PST by Gondring (Paul Revere would have been flamed as a naysayer troll and told to go back to Boston.)
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To: DieHard the Hunter
Mistake #1: no you don’t, sir, or at least you shouldn’t. Fire Brigade is an Emergency Service, not a branch of the Military.

That was what struck me most about his comments.

18 posted on 12/16/2008 9:33:13 PM PST by Gondring (Paul Revere would have been flamed as a naysayer troll and told to go back to Boston.)
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To: buccaneer81

I say if you’ve earned it you should be able to wear it. If you haven’t served, no flag helmet. Wouldn’t that solve the ‘what’s next?’ problem.

And he’s been wearing this for three years? Why now is it a problem?


19 posted on 12/16/2008 9:33:29 PM PST by ReneeLynn (Socialism, it's the new black.)
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To: buccaneer81

How about a compromise?

Make it part of the uniform regs for the fire department to have its helmets painted with the American flag. Only optional variation would be for former honorably discharged service men to have their service branch painted into the scheme.


20 posted on 12/16/2008 9:33:49 PM PST by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: ReneeLynn; Grimmy
Both of you make too much sense for Massachusetts to agree to it.

But I agree with both of you.

21 posted on 12/16/2008 9:37:20 PM PST by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: Gondring

> That was what struck me most about his comments.

It’s disturbing, isn’t it? There’s nothing wrong with being a civilian, yet it seems that everyone wants to play soldier.


22 posted on 12/16/2008 9:43:28 PM PST by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: buccaneer81
Check out US Naval aviators and USAF pilots helmets. Not exactly "uniform."

They are riding within the vehicle. I guarantee the Navy would have something to say if a pilot wanted to put a custom stars-and-stripes paint job on his F/A-18.

This isn't a matter of an authorized emblem like nose art or tail logo...it's painting the whole helmet.

Perhaps he should be allowed to do this in recognition of his service, but then it should be made a policy that allows the privilege to be earned that way. Just an entitlement to special treatment, though? No.

23 posted on 12/16/2008 9:45:35 PM PST by Gondring (Paul Revere would have been flamed as a naysayer troll and told to go back to Boston.)
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To: buccaneer81

I can’t get to the link right now. We need to have contact infor for this chief so we can give him a piece of our mind.


24 posted on 12/16/2008 9:46:35 PM PST by Kevmo ( It's all over for this Country as a Constitutional Republic. ~Leo Donofrio, 12/14/08)
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To: 6SJ7
Beautiful nose art on that 17......
25 posted on 12/16/2008 9:47:15 PM PST by Emperor Palpatine ("I love democracy. I love Free Republic")
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To: ReneeLynn

Some prissy Newton queen probably was “offended” and complained.


26 posted on 12/16/2008 9:49:28 PM PST by Emperor Palpatine ("I love democracy. I love Free Republic")
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To: buccaneer81
“Check out US Naval aviators and USAF pilots helmets. Not exactly “uniform.””

Some Army pilots are the same.

I know of quite a few aero-scouts that wear Stetsons with numerous DUI’s (Distinctive Unit Insignia), and other pins such as mini IFOR/SFOR crests from Bosnia, etc.

27 posted on 12/16/2008 9:53:33 PM PST by 2CAVTrooper
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To: Tzimisce

Free speech/expression does not apply to employers/private workplace. The GOVERNMENT cannot take away your right to free speech. Private employers don’t have to tolerate speech or expressions of yours if they don’t want to. They have the freedom to set uniform standards and if you don’t like it, you don’t work there.

That said, the chief could have continued to make the exception instead of coming across as a ‘rules are rules’ kind of guy.


28 posted on 12/16/2008 9:53:41 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: DieHard the Hunter

Well, I don’t think the Anti-Pinkerton Act applies anyway. :-)


29 posted on 12/16/2008 9:57:07 PM PST by Gondring (Paul Revere would have been flamed as a naysayer troll and told to go back to Boston.)
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To: Emperor Palpatine; 6SJ7
Beautiful nose art on that 17......

Sure is.

It was added in the 1960s, after the plane was in private hands (the Confederate Air Force).

30 posted on 12/16/2008 10:03:05 PM PST by Gondring (Paul Revere would have been flamed as a naysayer troll and told to go back to Boston.)
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To: Kevmo
Headquarters: 1164 Centre Street, Newton Centre 02459 (617) 796-2210

jlacroix@newtonma.gov

31 posted on 12/16/2008 10:03:45 PM PST by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
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To: buccaneer81

Gondring at comment #17 pointed out some uses of helmet and insignia color that I was not aware of.

Firefighting is dangerous work and if helmet colors are used to signify ranks/responsibilities and/or different experience and skill levels, then I’d go with the chief on this one.


32 posted on 12/16/2008 10:24:01 PM PST by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: MovementConservative
As much as it pains me to say this, from what I know of the story I’d have to side with the chief on this one

I'd say screw the politics, what makes most sense?

Does black (a heat absorbing color) trump red white and blue? Is red white and blue better in terms of visibility when searching in a smoke filled environment for a colleague?

In other words, whatever makes best sense for safety.

33 posted on 12/16/2008 10:28:44 PM PST by Wil H (No Accomplishments, No Experience, No Resume No Records, No References, Nobama..)
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To: Grimmy

My problem is that he’s taken three years to complain about it. I’m wondering why all of a sudden it’s an issue? That smells to me. Who complained?


34 posted on 12/16/2008 10:32:00 PM PST by ReneeLynn (Socialism, it's the new black.)
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Maybe he could paint it black and get some nice, reflective, patriotic decals if he must?

http://westonsigns.com/home.php?cat=251


35 posted on 12/16/2008 10:51:28 PM PST by ReneeLynn (Socialism, it's the new black.)
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To: ReneeLynn
And he’s been wearing this for three years? Why now is it a problem?

It's Newton. Ground zero for gay indoctrination in public schools, stamp of approval for looking at porn in the library and librarians who go out of their way to help Al-Queda.

I can guarantee you somebody whined about it.

36 posted on 12/16/2008 10:53:52 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (All hail the Obamasiah! Kneel before Obamohammad!)
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To: Gondring
It was added in the 1960s, after the plane was in private hands (the Confederate Air Force).

I'm sure we can dig up plenty of WWII issue "nose art"

Only reason he is having to ditch his paint scheme is its resemblance to the Stars and Strips. Che would probably be acceptable.

Screw the Chief. I hope enough Newtonians bitch about the decision to shame the Chief into letting him wear it.

37 posted on 12/16/2008 10:58:37 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (All hail the Obamasiah! Kneel before Obamohammad!)
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To: ReneeLynn

I know Richie Busa. What it doesn’t say in the article is that he is a purple heart vet of the iraq war.


38 posted on 12/16/2008 11:49:46 PM PST by crimson1977
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To: DieHard the Hunter

The fire department is a “quasi-military operation” there is a chain of command, usually starting at 2nd LT, then 1st LT, then Captain, then possibly Assistant Chief(s) and Department Chief. My Department has 4 2nd LT’s, 4 1st’s, 4 Captains and 1 Chief with three Assistant Chiefs!


39 posted on 12/17/2008 12:06:09 AM PST by The Chief (I'm a Volunteer Fire Fighter!)
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To: The Chief

> The fire department is a “quasi-military operation” there is a chain of command, usually starting at 2nd LT, then 1st LT, then Captain, then possibly Assistant Chief(s) and Department Chief. My Department has 4 2nd LT’s, 4 1st’s, 4 Captains and 1 Chief with three Assistant Chiefs!

I know that it has been popular amongst some fire brigades and police departments to view themselves as “quasi-military” — particularly of late — but with due respect, aside from job titles you could be describing any hierarchical organization, including private corporations such as banks.

Aside from titles and structure, what aspect of the Fire Brigade is “quasi-military?”

It doesn’t carry weapons, it isn’t subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and it isn’t staffed by military personnel or funded by the Defense budget.

There’s nothing wrong with being a Civilian who does dangerous things, and there’s nothing even wrong with being very disciplined and maybe even structured about how things are done. I’m not convinced that directly translates into being “quasi-military” in the sense that the Fire Brigade and Police Department like to view themselves.


40 posted on 12/17/2008 12:30:38 AM PST by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: DieHard the Hunter

...Should have been done long ago. The Nation has been at war since the “Revolutionary”...


41 posted on 12/17/2008 12:45:55 AM PST by gargoyle (..."If this be treason, make the most of it.". Patrick Henry...)
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To: 6SJ7
While it is impossible to beat the nose art that came out of WW2, here is some modern art that would drive this chief absolutely ape.


42 posted on 12/17/2008 1:14:34 AM PST by Stonewall Jackson (We failed, but in the good providence of God apparent failure often proves a blessing.-Robert E.Lee)
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To: buccaneer81

Newton is Bwarney Fwanks hometown.


43 posted on 12/17/2008 1:22:28 AM PST by Leisler ("Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Democrat forever. " Lenin)
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To: Wil H; All

I’m a volunteer fire fighter in PA

OK, I do not get any compensation for my services. A few things, in the fire service, helmet colors are used to determine the status of the firefighter. Since I’m a regular firefighter (non-officer), interior certified, my helmet is black. Juniors and probationary members have yellow helmets, line officers have red helmets and chief officers have white. Different compnies have different color schemes (our mutual aid company uses red helmets for probies), the reason is to give the officer in charge an at a glance idea of the capabilities of the man under the helmet. Try to ID a guy wearing an air pack.

Again, we are volunteer but we cannot personalize our personal protective gear at all. I’m company chaplain and I cannot put a cross sticker on my helmet. The only exception is I can put HazMat ops and vehicle rescue cert as well as EMT on my helmet and nothing on my bunker gear. I can wear my own customized flash hood as long as it is NFPA approved. I cannot remove the eye shield and replace with goggles.

The chief in Newton (as much as it pains me to say) is right. The fire service is quasi-military and being in the public eye requires uniform and professional dress appearence. The public demands it. You would be amazed how an unhappy tax payer complains about the professional service we provide using volunteer labor. It is amazing.

BYW, helmet color will not really effect temperature and NFPA rules require reflective stickers Trapezoids to visability.

Having said all that, the chief is probably a jerk.

Tom


44 posted on 12/17/2008 6:30:09 AM PST by fatboy
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To: All

One other thing, our helmets have our last name on the back in reflective letters. This is so we can ID our own helmets and is a source of personal pride to the men.


45 posted on 12/17/2008 6:33:11 AM PST by fatboy
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To: buccaneer81

thanks

I think I’ll put the phone number on my speed dial for when I’m driving this afternoon.


46 posted on 12/17/2008 8:37:30 AM PST by Kevmo ( It's all over for this Country as a Constitutional Republic. ~Leo Donofrio, 12/14/08)
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To: Stonewall Jackson
We had a B-52 up the air show a couple of years ago. The nose art was nothing to look at, but the tail logo was awe inspiring

“We manufacture nightmares”

47 posted on 12/17/2008 8:52:35 AM PST by ASOC (This space could be employed, if I could only get a bailout...)
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To: DieHard the Hunter

I guess it’s how one defines “quasi-military”, but I do see your point...


48 posted on 12/17/2008 7:40:36 PM PST by The Chief (I'm a Volunteer Fire Fighter!)
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To: Secret Agent Man

...most fire departments I know of ARE Public workplaces. And as you just said, the government can’t tell us not to express ourselves.


49 posted on 12/17/2008 10:24:12 PM PST by Tzimisce (http://groups.myspace.com/nailthemessiah)
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To: Tzimisce

Even so, public workplaces can define what is and is not part of a uniform, and what (if any) exceptions there are. The military is public but you can’t ‘express yourself’ any way you want on your uniform.

I think since the chief had allowed it in the past for this particular helmet, and the helmet hadn’t changed - but now all of a sudden the chief changes his mind, while it’s in his authority to do so, I don’t think he should have.


50 posted on 12/18/2008 9:56:40 AM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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