Iraqi, U.S. Air Forces establish weather partnership

  • Published
  • By AFWA Public Affairs
As the U.S. military prepares to pull back its forces and hand over operational responsibilities to the Iraqis, many new partnerships and training opportunities have sprouted up.

One of those new partnerships was established recently between the 506th Expeditionary Operational Support Squadron weather flight and the Iraqi Air Force weather team here.

While these two teams have shared the same base for quite some time, collaborations between the two units has been sporadic. But thanks to a visit by the Iraq Training and Advisory Mission-Air Force and the Iraqi Air Force Weather Service, these two teams now have an agreement in place that should help bring them together and improve the services they provide.

The historic foundational partnership was signed on July 27 and since then all flight weather briefings, observations and specialized support has come from this joint venture.

"This was a critical step in starting the first joint Iraqi Air Force and U.S. Air Force weather partnership," said Maj. Hunte ITAM-AF weather advisor.

"This is a great day in the history of the Iraqi Air Force Weather Department and an important step in showing the weather department's progress," said Col. Salman, IqAF Weather Service director.

In addition to improved weather support for all aircrews, this strategic partnership creates a unique training opportunity for members of the IqAF Weather Service.

"All Iraqi weather officers have meteorology degrees," Major Hunte said, "however none have had the opportunity to use their education to develop skills in aviation weather forecasts, observations or support flight operations."

This new agreement will also play a crucial role in helping the IqAF Weather Service ability to sustain independent operations once American weather forces withdraw from Iraq.

Colonel Salman and Major Hunte will monitor the partnership from the Iraqi Air Operations Center, located at Camp Victory Baghdad, to ensure a smooth transition to independent operations.

"As the Iraqi Air Force Weather Service grows in personnel, (we) will continue to look for more strategic partnering opportunities," Major Hunte said.