Here’s what you need to know about this hero…
1. He Was From the Philadelphia Area
— Aaron Lavinsky (@ADLavinsky) July 2, 2013
2. He was the Cousin of Another Hotshot
Adding to the already close-knit group that was the Granite Mountain Hotshots, Caldwell was bonded to fellow Hotshot Grant McKee by blood. The two were first cousins, and the Caldwell family is grieving for both of the fallen firefighters.
3. He Had a Wife
Robert Caldwell’s wife, Claire, whom he married last November, provided one of the saddest pictures from Monday night’s memorial service in Prescott. The above picture shows Claire Caldwell weeping. Caldwell reportedly loved and was a great father to Claire’s son and his stepson, Zion, 5.
4. He Was a Die-Hard Philadelphia Sports Fan
According to an NBC interview with Robert Caldwell’s father, he and his son regularly returned to their home state of Pennsylvania to attend Philadelphia sporting events. Caldwell’s father even recalls that at their final dinner together, the night before his son left to go fight his final fire, he was wearing a Philadelphia Phillies shirt that said “Hating the Mets Until I Die.”
5. Only the Most Elite Can Be on a Hotshot Crew
The Hotshots are like the Navy SEALs of firefighters. Inter-agency Hotshot Crews are groups that specialize in going into fire areas on foot and removing things from their paths that will help prevent the spread and growth of the fire.
The role of the Hotshot is described as:
The name was in reference to being in the hottest part of fires. Their specialty is wildfire suppression, but they are sometimes assigned other jobs, including search and rescue and disaster response assistance. Hotshots not busy fighting fire will also work to meet resource goals on their home units through thinning, prescribed fire implementation, habitat improvement or trail construction projects.
Crews often need to hike many miles to get to the areas where they will be working, carry all of their supplies on their back, and can sometimes work over 12 hours a day.