Weather Agency reactivates squadron

  • Published
  • By Miles Brown
  • Air Force Weather Agency Public Affairs
The 2nd Weather Group, headquartered at the Air Force Weather Agency reactivated the 16th Weather Squadron in a ceremony here Nov. 18.

The reactivation of the 16th WS comes at a pivotal point in our nation's wars both in Afghanistan and Iraq and will help ensure critical environmental situational awareness is available to war fighters around the world, according to Col. John Egentowich, 2nd Weather Group commander.

The 62-person squadron's focus is the continued exploitation of long-range forecasts, or models, used by military weather professionals and decision makers worldwide, said Lt. Col. Neil Sanger, the 16th WS commander.

"This is where the mission forecast begins," said Colonel Sanger. "We make sure the weather models generate accurate and timely forecasts, which in-turn are used by Air Force forecasters at every level of operation."

"These forecast models are essential for today's mission planners and operators," Colonel Sanger said. "They do the heavy lifting that use to take hundreds of man-hours prior to the use of a high-performance computer. Now, all the weather data and images are processed by computers to generate the model output."

The models forecast everything from dust events in Southwest Asia to cloud cover over Japan. The detailed wind forecast capability is essential for global airdrops and day-to-day Army helicopter operations. The members of the 16th WS incorporate the latest model algorithms to more accurately forecast every aspect of the environment to maximize our military's capabilities, Colonel Sanger said.

The reactivation of the 16th WS was accomplished without an increase in personnel, as existing members of the group make-up the squadron, explained Colonel Egentowich.

"We leveraged our current personnel to form the 16th WS," Colonel Egentowich said. "By blending experienced meteorologists with technology experts, we have created a squadron of professionals that are not afraid to think outside the box. They will continue to develop and implement emerging technology to keep the Air Force on the cutting edge of weather exploitation."

The 16th WS has a long and storied history. Originally formed during World War II, the squadron was activated at Great Falls, Mont., on Sept. 1, 1942. It later moved to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in 1944, then Fort Richardson, Alaska in 1946. On June 9, 1948, the 16th moved to Scott AFB, Ill., with its reassignment to the 102nd Weather Group. After another move to Waco, Texas, the squadron was inactivated in 1957. The only other activation of the 16th WS was from 1959 to 1976 at Fort Monroe, Va.