Weather flight transitions to AFSOC

  • Published
  • By Ryan Hansen
  • AFWA Public Affairs
The Special Support Operations Flight was redesignated from the Air Force Weather Agency to Detachment 1, 623d Air and Space Operations Center, Air Force Special Operations Command, during a small ceremony here Oct. 1. 

This redesignation from AFWA to AFSOC is just the beginning for the unit. Over the next several months they will pack their bags for a permanent move to Hurlburt Field, Fla., and pending an organization change request approval, the detachment will become a full fledged weather squadron in October 2009. 

"Our basic plan is to have the detachment deactivated by the end of fiscal year 2009 and stood up at Hurlburt as the 23rd Weather Squadron," said Capt. Chuck Beebe, Det. 1, 623d AOC commander. 

The detachment provides specific environmental products to deployed special operations forces engaged in worldwide operations and exercises. They also generate daily weather briefing materials relaying environmental intelligence of weather impacts to key areas of interest for top command-level leaders. 

According to Lt. Col. Bryan Adams, 623rd AOC weather specialty team chief, there are two main reasons behind the transition. 

First, this move directly aligns AFSOC's numbered air force, 23rd Air Force, with their weather support team. This is similar to how other Operational Weather Squadrons are aligned with their warfighting numbered air force. 

"This makes lines of command and control much cleaner with special operations forces tasking special operations forces for weather support," he said. 

Second, the move will help career field manning issues and play a key role in the recently created Air Force Specialty Code for new special operations weathermen. 

"As part of this new AFSC, the (detachment) will be a key component in upgrading Airmen from 3 to 5 level and getting them to the field 60 percent faster than today," Colonel Adams said. "(Airmen will come) from accession to operational unit in about 18 months, versus 48 months today." 

The move from AFWA to AFSOC will also bring more continuity to Airmen in the unit. 

"Training someone on special operations forces' operations is a level beyond learning Army support," Captain Beebe said. "It will benefit everyone by not having to take that time to train and then have them moved to another section in two years." 

And being directly aligned with AFSOC should increase the opportunity to serve with special operations forces in the future. 

"Deployments are few and far between for Det. 1 members and all are with conventional Air Force and Army (troops)," Captain Beebe said. "This greatly limits the amount of real world experience in the shop. In the future there will be a much higher deployment rate, likely with special operations forces, allowing for new and young forecasters to gain experience first-hand with those they support in garrison." 

Det. 1, 623d AOC currently consists of 23 Airmen and civilians, but will increase when they stand up as a squadron in 2009.