Weather wing hosts OAC members

  • Published
  • By 55th Wing Public Affairs
More than 30 members of the Offutt Advisory Council were given a close-up look at the daily operations of the 557th Weather Wing during a special event March 16.

The OAC is Offutt's honorary commander organization whose goal is to educate the community on the mission and needs of the units on base as well as promote the morale, welfare and education of the personnel assigned to the base as well as their families.

"We're so thankful for the opportunity to provide the OAC a look into how we support Air Force and Army operations around the world," said U.S Air Force Col. William Carle, 557th WW commander. "They're such terrific supporters of our military members in the local area that we're grateful to be able to give them just a glimpse into what we do on a daily basis."

Following an official welcome and mission brief from Carle, the OAC were introduced to Air Force Weather WEB Services by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jesse Brown, 16th Weather Squadron. AFW-WEBS is a geo-referenced and machine readable format website that forecasters use daily around the world to provide decision makers with meteorological information.

After the 10 minute AFW-WEBS intro, the OAC members split into three groups where they were then taken through the headquarters facility to a variety of areas.

The group saw the wing's High Performance Computing Center, a super-computer cluster of servers that process enormous amounts of data, the Space Weather Operations Center, where the unit monitors the sun's emissions and provide mission-tailored analyses, forecasts and warnings for the entire defense department, and finally the Air Force News Weather Center, where Airmen produce daily weather forecast shows for military members and their families stationed at 69 locations around the world.

"I didn't realize that we forecasted the weather in so many places via the Offutt Airmen," said Herman Colvin, OAC member and 557th WW's honorary commander. "The various important points of information disseminated to non-English speaking countries are fantastic."

"The space and volcano operations were amazing to everybody," said John Hansen, OAC president and 55th Wing's honorary commander. "I had no idea how many deployed detachments there were around the world and also how their broadcasters hit so many locations around the world as well."

The OAC is comprised of more than 200 local civic leaders, including 47 honorary commanders that are tied to specific units on base. These individuals provide support to the base in multiple ways throughout the year including the annual Offutt Appreciation Picnic for nearly 10,000 Team Offutt members as well as the Harvest Ball, which raises around $9,000 every year for the Chief's Group.

"I walked away totally in awe of the work that (the weather wing) does," said Margie Smith, OAC member and 55th Communications Group honorary commander. "I will be singing their praises for years to come."

This visit to the 557th WW is one of four each year to various units around base where members of the OAC have the opportunity to learn more about the many missions at Offutt.

"Events like this are really helpful to our civilian community to learn what's going on at the base and the things that the Airmen are doing for our country," Hansen said.