Airmen reign, shine over weather operations in Iraq

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alyssa C. Miles
  • U.S. Air Forces Central Public Affairs
Two weather Airmen used their weather equipment and knowledge to provide on-the-job training to seven Iraqi air force weather lieutenants here Aug. 16.

The training's focus revolved around the set-up, up-keep and function of a tactical meteorological observation system, a portable device which allows its user to obtain weather data used in taking several different weather observations, including wind speed and direction, cloud height, rain, temperature and humidity.

The training instructors, Tech. Sgt. Terry Hutton, Weather Systems Support team leader, and Senior Airman Daniel Jamison, WSS technician, serve day-to-day as the only weather system team in Iraq and perform maintenance on devices when they are not functioning properly.

"Our mission is to have 100 percent fully mission capable weather systems throughout the area of responsibility," said Airman Jamison. "Basically, getting our system up and going allows for safe travel of troops, special operations missions, medevac, cargo and any transportation needed throughout the AOR."

While there are more than four different devices the pair, both deployed from Hurlburt Field, Fla., can use throughout the AOR for an accurate weather reading, the TMOS is used most frequently, and was the foundation of the Iraqi's training.

"This system makes for quick set-up in a tactical environment," Airman Jamison said. "Obviously you wouldn't have time to set up a fixed weather system. It would take a lot of time for it to be set up, calibrated and get it up and ready to go. The TMOS is just in a box -- you grab the box, pull it out, set it up and you're done."

"This system has been used since the beginning of the war," he continued. "We have multiple systems out at multiple sites - it's used constantly."

According to Iraqi air force Director of the Meteorological Department, Colonel Salman, his airmen spent time reading about the equipment in preparation for on-the-job training.
This training is very important for Iraqi weather airmen because this is the first time we were able to work on this kind of machine, the colonel said.

The colonel added that he and his team are training on the equipment now so they can use it on the Iraqi side. They plan to put this device on every base in Iraq - army and air force - sometime in the future.

"It was important to Colonel Salman that each one of them had a hands-on experience setting up the TMOS, so I believe they all learned quite a bit from the experience," said Lt. Col. Marvin Treu, Multi-National Force-Iraq Joint Meteorological and Oceanographic officer, deployed from Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. "The lieutenants are hard working and motivated. They are already providing weather briefings for exercise and operational Iraqi air force missions, as well as learning how to set up and operate the latest tactical weather observing equipment."

"I am confident the Iraqi air force weather officers are going to develop the skills to be able to confidently and successfully support all the future missions of the Iraqi air force," the Murrysville, Penn., native continued.

With the training complete, Troy, Mich., native Airman Jamison says the Iraqis may now get constant weather updates around the local area.

"Today's training felt pretty good," Airman Jamison said. "This was the first step in the scheme of getting the Iraqis to take over their weather forecasting. It will help them out a lot in the future."

Iraqi air force weather advisor Maj. Barry Hunte, deployed from Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., says the OJT the weather airmen received is not the only lesson they have learned.

"The training is very important in not just helping the Iraqi weather department become better at their jobs," the Momence, Ill., native said, "but it is also showing that working together and learning about each other is very important to both fellow Americans and Iraqis, so that we can be viable partners. I'm looking forward to the next eight months of advising Colonel Salman and working with the Iraqi weather lieutenants and watching them grow."