The Brotherhood of Two FNG’s- Part One- Buzz

The Brotherhood of Two FNG’s

Part One- Buzz

Hello Friends,
I would like to take a few days to relate a story of the Brotherhood of two FNG’s.  For those of you who don’t know, N stands for “new” and G stands for “guy”.  After the story has been told, I would like to tell you why this all came to mind this month and tie it all together with a dose of true humanity.  Enjoy!

When I made the move to my most recent department, I was among a group which almost doubled the size of the career staff there.  The department was making the difficult transition from volunteer to combination and this was a significant growth spurt for the paid firefighters.

Among my group was a firefighter named Brian Krull.  Brian would be the first of the group to earn a nickname that has stood for more than 14 years now.  Let me explain.

Around the newly-expanded day room table sat 6-7 FNG’s.  The Lieutenant came bounding in (he bounds, what can I say?) and smugly asked (he smugly asks, what can I say?) which of the new guys had been responsible for sending the personnel manager a stunning bouquet of flowers following his acceptance into the department. 

Brian raised his hand.  

Oops.  Day one and he was singled out already.

It was 1997.  Back in the 1900’s, FTD had a commercial out about some guy dressed as a bumblebee who delivered flowers, remember? 


The nickname Buzz stuck like honey to a hive. 

So, after a couple weeks of FNG training, we were divvied up into the three shifts.  I had been warned that I should slit my wrists if I was assigned to black shift.

Naturally, I was assigned to black shift.

So was Buzz, and thus began what turned out to be an extraordinary band of brothers who were constantly on every chief officer’s radar screen.  We were a proud group, eager to put up our skills against the other shifts when challenged, and always coming out on top.  That made black shift a target, from blue shirts and multi-bugles alike.

Buzz and I ran our first call together.  2 medics on an EMS run, allowed to solo for the first time without adult supervision despite our Lieutenant’s better judgment.  On the way to the hospital, me driving-Buzz in back, we approached a railroad crossing.  Cars were stopped for a light so I had to enter the opposite lane to slowly sneak around the stopped line of traffic.  Just as I committed the ambo into the RR crossing the bells started ringing and gates started lowering. 

Maybe I shoulda just gunned it, but as I said we were FNG’s on our first call.  Fearing the worst, I stopped which allowed the gates to come down on the top of the box. 


I stuck my head out the window and saw the RR gate had come down behind the rotator light on the front corner of the ambulance.  If I backed up I would surely snap the multi-hundred dollar accessory and face the Wrath of the Lieutenant (he wraths, what can I say?)  If I didn’t back up- well the train probably would clear the front of the ambulance no problem.  Right?

I had a decision to make.  Back up and break the multi-hundred dollar light?  Take a chance on the train missing us?  Howabout just getting out and running away screaming like a girl?  You know- right to O’Hare for starters- then who knows where? 

To be continued…..

This story has been told and retold countless times

and may or may not a wildly exaggerated account of utter fiction. 

As we used to say on black shift,

never let the facts get in the way of a good story. 


  • Mick Mayers says:

    What does “f” stand for?

    Good article. If you didn’t catch my reply to your post, by the way, thanks for reading.

  • Bigaed2 says:

    “to put up our puppet skills against the other shifts when challenged, and always coming out on top”
    (never let the facts get in the way of a good story) LOL

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John Mitchell

Firefighter/Paramedic and a Lieutenant in suburban Chicago

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