25th OWS Bobcats arm joint flying missions with weather intel

  • Published
  • By David R. Hopper
  • 557th Weather Wing Public Affairs

Two Airmen from the 25th Operational Weather Squadron were recently recognized for the work they performed while being deployed with the 409th Air Expeditionary Group at Nigerien Air Base 201 in Agadez, Niger.

“Both Seniors Airman Angel Maldonado and Rachel Zills have done exceptional work while here in Africa,” said 2nd Lt. Anthony Charlonis, 409th AEG Weather Operations officer in charge.

Maldonado briefed 30 Army Special Operations Aviation Division RPA pilots and helped steer 20 MQ-1 missions away from thunderstorm threats – enabling an additional 500 armed-ISR flight hours.  He created 35 airfield forecasts and took 250 observations that supported five joint flying organizations, which guaranteed 24/7 support for 190 sorties in support of Operations Juniper Shield/Inverted Light. 

Zills mitigated the risk from wet season thunderstorm events by issuing 300 weather watches, warnings and advisories, with only a 22% false alarm rate. She armed base leadership with an average of two hours of lead time for 30 severe weather events and met the desired lead time on 83% of her watches, warnings and advisories.

Maldonado won the 409th AEG Airman of the month for August and Zills was coined by Lt. Gen. Steven Basham, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa deputy commander, while he was touring the installation and highlighting weather’s strategic importance to Africa.

“It is extremely exciting to see them recognized for all the hard work they have done in an extremely challenging weather environment,” Charlonis said.