Training sharpens weather flight skills

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Daniel Perry
  • 78th Operations Support Squadron
During a recent runway construction project, members of the 78th Operations Support Squadron weather flight refreshed skills in various training areas during a two-week airfield closure.

In taking advantage of the closure, mission services NCO in Charge Tech. Sgt. Deidra Balmer organized nearly two weeks of intense training seminars which included satellite, radar, space weather, mobility, and system refreshers.

"It's not often that we are given the opportunity to dedicate this amount of time as an entire flight to training," said Balmer. "We wanted to not only refresh and improve our forecasting skills, but take this chance to build as a team as well."

To help build that team mentality, the weather flight joined Air Traffic Control personnel in Baker Chute evacuations -- a device used to evacuate the cab of the control tower in the event of a fire in the building below.

"I was a little nervous at first, but once I got up to the top it was too late to turn back," said weather forecaster Tech. Sgt. Troy Walker.

With the training complete, the flight dedicated an afternoon to assist in clean-up efforts in the tornado hit town of Americus nearby. "We received a tremendous amount of support from the local community, and we had a great chance to help out our neighbors and show our appreciation," said Capt. Jason Huffman, weather flight commander.

The flight also found time for a field trip to the Andersonville National Cemetery and Prisoner Of War Museum located in Central, Ga. There they learned of the many atrocities that former POWs throughout American history have endured dating back to the civil war. "It is a humbling experience to read the stories of what soldiers and airmen go through during captivity," said the flight chief Master Sgt. Charles Smith.

Although everyone enjoyed something a little different than the normal routine, the runway project is complete and time to return to supporting the mission.