557th WW trains its own to deploy anytime, everywhere

  • Published
  • By Capt. Daniel Katuzienski
  • 2nd Combat Weather Systems Squadron

Instructors from the 2nd Combat Weather Systems Squadron took on an unusual set of students, a class composed entirely of Airmen from a single unit.

Airmen from the 25th Operational Weather Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, attended the Deployed Weather Systems Training class at Hurlburt Field, Florida, as part of pre-deployment training Aug. 19-22, 2019.

It is unusual to have a DWST class made up entirely of personnel from one unit. Classes are normally made up of students from several different weather squadrons but as the 557th WW is tasked to execute a greater number of deployment requirements, future DWST classes made up of one squadron may become more common.

The 2nd CWSS is a combat-ready test and training squadron that combines maintenance, cyber and weather specialties, within the 557th Weather Wing, that cultivates advanced maintenance skills and operational expertise among its members for use on fielded tactical weather systems employed at downrange locations.

A key pre-deployment requirement for many deploying weather Airmen is hands-on, user-level tactical weather systems training on the equipment they’ll use while in theater.

“The hands-on training was most valuable,” said Tech. Sgt. Justin Poston, 25th OWS shift supervisor. “You can sit in a classroom or complete a computer-based training, but actually completing the steps and setting up a TMOS or PDR is invaluable, no one should ever be responsible for either without having touched the equipment first.”

The four-day DWST class includes training on the Tactical Meteorological Observing System and the Portable Doppler Radar, which are the primary environmental sensing systems employed at numerous established and austere locations worldwide.

Students receive two days of instruction on equipment setup, teardown, maintenance, networking, and basic troubleshooting from instructors with recent combat experience. The 2nd CWSS is the only squadron that offers the class.

“Learning my deployment team’s strengths early on is a huge advantage,” said Master Sgt. Scott Hamrick, Charlie Flight chief, 25th OWS.

At the end of the classroom portion, students are expected to emplace both tactical weather systems in a realistic environment and troubleshoot complex issues staged by DWST instructors.

“Being able to train as we fight, in teams, will no doubt improve our squadron’s readiness, resiliency and leadership,” said Maj. Stephanie Hedstrom, 25th OWS commander.

Feedback from the 25th OWS students was unanimously in favor of single units training and deploying together.

“The synergistic effect of 2nd CWSS’ test, train, and maintain mission gives our multi-functional Airmen subject-matter expertise and a unique capability that is not found anywhere else in the Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Charles Dorssom, 2nd CWSS commander. “We’re thrilled when we get opportunities like this to help prepare fellow 557th Weather Wing Airmen to go down range and perform at a high level.”