17th OWS wins weather squadron of the year
By Paul Shirk, 55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 25, 2019
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --
The 17th Operational Weather Squadron has been selected as the Air Force Weather Squadron of the Year for 2018.
Located at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, the 17th OWS provides weather operations support throughout the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
One of the squadron’s accomplishments was producing over 9,000 detailed position and intensity analyses in response to tropical cyclones that were active in the region. The 1,200 warnings that were issued gave 17 bases and 53 ships almost two days of advance notice to take protective measures.
“We’re extremely excited and humbled to receive this recognition,” said, Lt. Col. Charles Cunningham, 17th OWS commander. “We have an amazing team of Airmen at the 17th OWS, who are laser-focused on conducting world-class weather operations in support of USINDOPACOM.”
“We have a great atmosphere of innovation and empowerment, and I couldn’t be more proud of our folks for rising to the challenge of meeting the complexities of weather operations in such a large and varied area of responsibility,” he added.
According to Cunningham, the squadron’s largest challenge was preparing for wartime surge operations in the event conflict broke out in the Indo-Pacific region. The 17th OWS conducted comprehensive planning exercises to assess potential weather operations capacity and validated how long that warfighting capability could be maintained.
The 17th OWS also provided weather operations support for Operation Colony Glacier. This effort allowed a joint task force to recover the remains of Airmen who were lost when a C-124 Globemaster crashed in Alaska in 1952.
Known as the Fightin’ Geckos, the 17th OWS area of responsibility covers half the Earth’s surface and 60 percent of its population. This includes 98 DoD sites and over $90 billion in assets. The squadron includes a Navy meteorology and oceanography detachment and also maintains a partnership with the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.