Test, train, maintain: Combat ready!
By Senior Airman Meagan Schutter, 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 12, 2017
HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
One unit on Hurlburt Field is responsible for training all weather Airmen who are preparing to deploy with the skills to train and maintain existing weather systems all across the world and test and validate emerging weather sensing technologies.
One of the 2nd Combat Weather Systems Squadron’s goals is to train Airmen on tactical weather systems, so when Airmen are downrange they are able to maintain weather equipment, enabling mission success.
Weather forecasters, TDY to the 2nd CWSS, become proficient on maintaining hardware and software weather systems.
“Pilots won’t be able to take off unless the forecasters receive the information from the equipment and make forecasts accurately,” said Senior Airman Trent Dalen a weather systems technician with the 2nd CWSS. “So many people cannot do their job, because of one piece of equipment malfunction. That is why our training is so imperative.”
Squadron instructors teach a week-long course called Deployed Weather Systems Training. The course teaches students everything they need to know to maintain equipment downrange. Airmen are not the only students who are able to attend, but rather, any branch of the Armed Forces is welcome to attend the training.
The weather instruments the students train on, like the Tactical Meteorological Observing System (MQ-53) and the Portable Doppler Radar, provide weather information to forecasters with other units so they can observe weather trends, take data and provide information that pilots need to carry out missions.
Multiple specialties work together at the 2nd CWSS adding up to approximately 50 to 60 personnel including: weather, radar, radio frequency transmissions, air field systems, network systems and cyber security.
“We do a lot of work outside of our specialty,” said Staff Sgt. Jacob Reinhardt a weather systems technician with the 2nd CWSS. “We can be doing an airfield maintenance guy’s job by maintaining the equipment and help troubleshoot what might be wrong, while also doing a lot of communication, establishing network connection for our weather systems.”
When personnel from the squadron deploy, they are known as the Weather Systems Support Cadre (WSSC). The team is capable of setting up new weather stations and any troubleshooting on equipment. If a problem occurs with the instruments downrange, forecasters can call the WSSC if they aren’t able to troubleshoot the equipment themselves.
If the problem still cannot be resolved over the phone, members from the WSSC will fly out to the area and rectify the issue.
“We are kind of like a geek squad,” Reinhardt said. “You come to us with a problem, and we will figure it out.”
The squadron also tests the newest capabilities of weather systems and software, they have the go ahead to say if the problems have been resolved or identified before distributing the new systems and software throughout the Air Force.
“We test new emerging weather technology before it goes out to regular Air Force users,” said Reinhardt. “We run it through its proper testing. It involves a lot of testing with both contractors and government agencies.”
From testing to training and maintaining, the 2nd CWSS provides the resources and capabilities to ensure mission success worldwide.