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  • 15th OWS creating margin with Ready Month

    The 15th Operational Weather Squadron has introduced a new scheduling model this year to improve readiness, morale and the ability to train. Dubbed “Ready Month,” the plan provides the opportunity for one of the squadron’s four operational flights to come off 24/7 operations for a month to focus on specialized deployment training, team and individual resiliency and flight-wide professional development, while still providing an additional stand-by margin of continuous surge capacity to the operations floor when required. “Resiliency has joined readiness as the two highest priorities for senior leaders and command teams across our Air Force and the Defense Department,” said Lt. Col. Lance Ratterman, 15th OWS commander. “Often times these two priorities can be competing, gains in readiness sometimes come at the expense of resiliency and vice versa.” Based at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, the 15th OWS began operations in February 1999 and spent most of its first two decades focused on a training-centered mission while providing aircrew weather briefings, airfield forecasts, and weather threat alerts for Defense Department locations across the Northeast United States. In the last three years, the 15th OWS mission has evolved and expanded to a global scale. The changes include the implementation of a state-of-the-art graphics system, used to identify aviation hazards across the world. Moreover, the squadron has seen a 650% increase in overseas deployments.
  • 557th WW holds first wing operational readiness exercise

    The 557th Weather Wing completed its first operational readiness exercise since standing up as an Air Combat Command wing. Held Aug. 19-23, Operational Readiness Exercise - Steel Colander tested the wing’s ability to deliver weather intelligence in a contested, degraded and operationally-limited environment. “We exercised not only wing capabilities located on Offutt Air Force Base, but also those of our geographically-separated units worldwide, to include all our operational weather squadrons,” said Ted Vroman, a 557th WW Plans and Programs exercise planner. The Air Force Weather Agency, a field operating agency, deactivated in 2015 when the 557th WW stood up. Conversion from a FOA to an operational wing removed many non-operational functions from the organization, leaving the wing an operations-focused entity and in the position to benefit from comprehensive operational readiness exercises.
  • MHAFB: First to use Portable Doppler Radar for CONUS Ops.

    Weather can be an unrelenting force and infamously fickle. Severe weather can adversely affect the safety of aircrew and Airmen working in the elements. Fortunately, advanced radars with weather forecasting capabilities can mitigate the associated risks. Keeping constant surveillance on weather patterns and their potential hazards is an important step in enhancing readiness and safety of Airmen. Until recently, this often proved to be a challenge when local radars needed to undergo routine maintenance or upgrades. Mountain Home Air Force Base is the first to show how Portable Doppler Radars (PDRs) can be used to support continental United States (CONUS) operations to fix this problem.
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