Press Releases

Goodfellow Air Force Base – San Angelo, Texas

4 May 2018

Retired Fort Polk Fire Chief Emeritus Michael L. Kuk was recently inducted into the Military Firefighter Heritage Foundation Hall of Fame.

Chief Kuk was inducted on April 28th as the U.S. Army’s awardee for 2018.  The event took place at the Department of Defense Military Fire Academy, located at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas.

Kuk has been a lifelong firefighter, serving as a military, industrial, civilian, and volunteer fire chief at several departments, and is a decorated U. S. Army Vietnam Veteran.

In particular, he served as the Long Binh military fire station chief supervising twenty soldier-firefighters, during his time in Vietnam from 1970-1971.  Long Binh was the military’s largest constructed and operated base of support and command operations for a theater of war.

He was recognized at the awards ceremony for his continued work in the American fire service, still serving as an active volunteer firefighter, chaplain, master musician, historian, and author.

Chief Kuk is a credentialed and certified chief fire officer, and holds dual fellowships in the Institution of Fire Engineers of Great Britain and Homeland Security.

This is the third time that he has been inducted into a Hall of Fame.  Chief Kuk was inducted into the 50-60’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 with his band of the 1960’s the “Union Jacks”, and then as the first inductee into the U.S. Army Fire Chiefs Hall of Fame in 2009.

Chief Kuk continues to serve in many capacities for both the American and International fire services.  He travels abroad with numerous fire service delegations to share knowledge and experience with his foreign counterparts, and is a guest speaker at multiple fire service events. 

He has been a published fire service author since 1972, and has written many landmark articles and booklets about rare firefighting history and incidents that shaped the direction of how firefighters undertake their careers, training, and historical accounts.  Currently he is writing his memoirs of his time in Vietnam as an Army firefighter.

As a professional union musician he performs as a keyboardist and vocalist at many firefighter, military and civil ceremonies with his talents throughout the year.

Dr. Kuk has been endorsed by Marquis Who's Who as a leader in public service

August 26, 2021

 ANACOCO, LA, August 26, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — Marquis Who’s Who, the world’s premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Michael Louis Kuk, PhD, with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Dr. Kuk celebrates many years’ experience in his professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes he has accrued in his field. As in all Marquis Who’s Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

Dr. Kuk is the Fire Chief Emeritus for the United States Army. His more than 50 years of public service dates back to 1965 as a Fire Explorer Scout. His professional career began as a solider-firefighter with the U.S. Army in 1969, having gone on to Vietnam as a Combat Firefighter and Station Chief from 1970-1971. In 1972 he joined the Clinton, Iowa Fire Department as a firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician. Going to Louisiana in 1976 he served as the fire chief at OLIN Chemicals and PPG Industries in Lake Charles. He was also the first chief of the Ward One Fire Protection District in Moss Bluff, Louisiana. He then went to the Federal Civil Service and was the last fire chief at Savanna Army Depot in Illinois before base closure in 2000, thus transferring to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and then serving and retiring from Fort Polk, LA.

Throughout his career, Dr. Kuk has been a published fire service author since 1974. His new book, An Army Firefighter in Vietnam 1970-1971, is the only comprehensive documentation of the role of the Combat Firefighter in that timeframe of military conflict. His numerous writings have included technical, historical, and inspirational subjects, including Homeland Security.

Following in the footsteps of both his grandfathers, who were firefighters and officers in the WWI Romanian Army, Dr. Kuk aspired to be a great a fireman and soldier as his forbearers. After graduating high school, he subsequently achieved a Bachelor’s degree, followed by a Master of Science at Columbia Pacific University in 1988, and a Doctor of Philosophy in religion at Universal Life Church University in 1998. Dr. Kuk holds extensive certifications in multiple fire service disciplines, including EMS, HazMat, and heavy rescue. He also holds dual Fellowships in the International Fire Engineers and Homeland Security. In 1998 he became a fire chaplain and continues to serve extensively with that discipline of support and compassion.

As a lifetime professional union musician of the American Federation of Musicians since 1965, Dr. Kuk’s music has been heard around the world. For 17 years he provided the especial ceremonial music for the annual conferences of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. He continues to perform extensively as a keyboardist and vocalist in many venues and shows.

About Marquis Who’s Who®
Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who’s Who in America®, Marquis Who’s Who® has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who’s Who in America® remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis® now publishes many Who’s Who titles, including Who’s Who in America®, Who’s Who in the World®, Who’s Who in American Law®, Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare®, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering®, and Who’s Who in Asia®. Marquis® publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who’s Who® website at


September 23, 2021

Fire Chief Emeritus Michael Louis Kuk, PhD, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Military for dedication, achievements, and leadership in emergency rescue services.

Dr. Kuk was inspired to become a firefighter by both of his grandfathers who worked in the profession. Carrying his passion with him, he initially obtained a Bachelor of Science in fire science and a Master of Science in fire science from Columbia Pacific University in 1987 and 1988 respectively prior to earning a Doctor of Philosophy in religion from Universal Life Church University in 1998. He began his career as a fire explorer scout with the Clinton Fire Department in Iowa between 1965 and 1969. Thereafter, he found notable success as a firefighter with Tillerman and EMT and as a fire chief with Olin Chemicals, PPG Industries and Ward 1 Fire District. Going forward, he continued his career as the chief executive officer and founder of On Fire Consultant.

Revered for his military career, Dr. Kuk initially completed service with the United States Army between 1969 and 1971. He later contributed as the military fire station chief with the United States Army Firefighter’s USARV Detachment of Special Troops in Long Binh, Vietnam from 1969 to 1975. He later found notable success as the fire chief of the Savanna Army Depot from 1989 to 2002. Furthermore, he excelled as the senior assistant fire chief in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Beginning in 2004, he established himself as the fire chief of the Joint Readiness Training Center and United States Army Garrison in Fort Polk, Louisiana before achieving emeritus status in 2012.

For his contributions, Dr. Kuk is proud to have been a recipient of a multitude of accolades, including several Purple Heart of Firefighting Ribbons, the United States DESCOM Commander’s Coin of Excellence, the United States Army Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, the Author Recognition Award from the Watchman’s Rattle Historical Fire Society, the American Biographical Institute Hall of Fame Award for International Fire Protection and the IAFC President Award. More recently, he is honored to have been presented with the Recognition Award from the Louisiana Fallen Firefighter Walk of Honor Foundation, the Outstanding Fire Service Individual Award from the Iowa Firefighters Association, the Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award, the Commanding General “Hero of Fort Polk” Award, the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Fire Chief of the Year Award and the Certificate of Appreciation and Coin From the Fire Chaplain Network. Furthermore, he has been recognized as an inductee of the Military Firefighter Hall of Fame and Military Firefighter Heritage Foundation and the United States Army Fire Chiefs Hall of Fame, a fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers and has been named a Firefighter of the Year by the United States Army, Firefighter of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Most Valuable EMT by the Southwest Louisiana EMS Association. Above all, he attributes his success to his ability to learn from defeat.

For more information, please visit:

Lifetime Achievement Award