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  • 557th WW trains its own to deploy anytime, everywhere

    Instructors from the 2nd Combat Weather Systems Squadron took on an unusual set of students, a class composed entirely of Airmen from a single unit. Airmen from the 25th Operational Weather Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, attended the Deployed Weather Systems Training class at Hurlburt Field, Florida, as part of pre-deployment training Aug. 19-22, 2019. It is unusual to have a DWST class made up entirely of personnel from one unit. Classes are normally made up of students from several different weather squadrons but as the 557th WW is tasked to execute a greater number of deployment requirements, future DWST classes made up of one squadron may become more common. The 2nd CWSS is a combat-ready test and training squadron that combines maintenance, cyber and weather specialties, within the 557th Weather Wing, that cultivates advanced maintenance skills and operational expertise among its members for use on fielded tactical weather systems employed at downrange locations.
  • 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.
  • ROKAF Weather Wing commander visits 557th WW

    The commander of the Republic of Korea Air Force Weather Wing visited 557th Weather Wing headquarters June 20, 2019. The ROK-US weather collaboration meeting, held between Col. Gyun Do Ki, ROKAF WW commander, and Col. Brian Pukall, 557th WW commander, is traditionally held every two years after the respective wings have a change in command. “Ever since I commissioned as a Weather Officer in ROKAF, I always aspired to come visit here,” said Ki. “After 30 years of service, my lifelong dream finally came true. I sincerely appreciate your hospitality.” The mission of the 557th WW, the Air Force’s only weather wing, is to maximize America’s power through the exploitation of timely, accurate and relevant weather information; anytime, everywhere.
  • Midshipmen visit 15th OWS to learn Midwest weather

    Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy visited the 15th Operational Weather Squadron May 11, 2019, to learn about severe weather and its effects on aviation. An example of cross service partnership, the annual visit allows future naval officers the opportunity to learn about weather phenomena from weather Airmen with real world experience and to discover the similarities and differences between the Air Force and Navy meteorology missions. “We enjoyed our visit to the 15th OWS and appreciated the hospitality,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Burich, a professor at the USNA. “The Midshipmen who end up flying for the Navy gained insight into the importance of accurate and timely weather information to flight operations and an appreciation for the work that goes into producing it.” Cadets studying at the U.S. service academies will often visit military installations or perform internships during summer break to become familiar with the military and gain experience in their future career fields.
  • Most important weather forecast ever made

    Seventy-five years ago, Allied forces began the task of opening the second front in Europe when they landed on the beaches of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. Weather was a key factor in deciding when and where the invasion would take place. There were competing priorities when selecting the desired conditions for the invasion. “You have to think of all the many varied platforms that would be used to launch the offensive, each one needed certain conditions,” said Kent Sieg, 557th Weather Wing historian. “Bombers needed clear sight to targets. Tides had to be low to expose obstacles, but could not be too low or troops would have too long a distance to get to shore.” Selecting a date that would be the best compromise for these requirements was the challenge. The time determined to be most favorable for an offensive was a full moon. Had Stagg and his team delayed the invasion until the next full moon, June 19, Allied forces would have faced one of the largest storms in the English Channel in almost 80 years and D-Day may have very well failed.
  • 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.
  • ACC Airmen performing space mission in Australia celebrate 40 years

    The Learmonth Solar Observatory celebrated its 40th anniversary April 27, 2019, at Learmonth, Western Australia, giving solar immersion briefings at the facility and holding a partnership barbecue. The observatory is operated jointly by 2nd Weather Squadron’s Detachment 1 and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s Space Weather Services. “Learmonth Solar Observatory is one of the few places that I’ve heard of whose continuing mission has not really changed in 40 years,” said Master Sgt. Cassandra Denton, Detachment 1 NCO in charge of Solar Electro-Optical Network maintenance. “Major commands changed, but the day-to-day mission of being Sun Spies has not.” Learmonth is one of five solar observatories around the world maintained by the 2nd WS. With locations at Learmonth, Australia; San Vito, Italy; Hamilton, Massachusetts, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico and Kaena Point, Hawaii; each observatory is positioned to keep the sun in view as the Earth turns. Their collective mission is to provide timely space situational awareness by observing and reporting space weather phenomena as well as its relevance to communications and other Defense Department space-based and Earth-based missions.
  • 1 WXG’s virtual training brings real benefits

    Airmen assigned to the 1st Weather Group are rolling out virtual reality training tailored to the needs of the Air Force Weather community, allowing them to train faster and smarter. Delivered on March 14, 2019, 1st WXG’s NextGen Environmental Weather Training System simulates setting up and assembling a tactical meteorological observation system, known as a TMQ-53. The TMQ-53 is a portable, automated weather station that can take observations in up to one minute intervals, enabling flying missions around the world. The data it produces can be utilized by a weather observer in the field or by the Air Force Weather community using satellite communications. The TMQ-53 simulation complements other weather VR training products being developed in parallel by the 3rd Weather Squadron at Fort Hood, Texas; the 18th Weather Squadron at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and the 93rd Air-Ground Operations Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Coordination on the development maximized the innovation while eliminating a duplication of efforts. “The realism of the VR was incredible,” said Capt. Matthew Perkins, 1st WXG science officer. “I could make out tiny labels and serial numbers on equipment, and aircraft even flew overhead during the simulation. Virtual reality brings unprecedented realism to our training ability when the physical equipment is unavailable. Our deployed Airmen will have greater familiarity with these tools than ever before.”
  • 26th OWS Airmen experience the pilot’s perspective

    Two Airmen from the 26th Operational Weather Squadron got to experience the weather they normally only forecast when they donned flight suits and took to the skies at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, Feb. 21, 2019. Tech. Sgt. Chris Bieber, 26th OWS shift supervisor, and Senior Airman McKayla Dejohnette, 26th OWS weather forecaster, received the opportunity to see firsthand how their weather products affect the mission when they took a familiarization flight on two F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft from the 4th Fighter Wing’s 333rd Fighter Squadron. “Seeing how important low cloud forecasts are to their planning process from a firsthand perspective will allow me to stress that importance to the 26th OWS forecasters,” Bieber said. “Doing our job without actually seeing the impact it has on the pilots can convolute the importance of what we do. This is especially true of a feature like low clouds as opposed to something more obvious like thunderstorms.” Based out of Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, the 26th OWS is one of six operational weather squadrons in the 557th Weather Wing’s 1st Weather Group. It provides weather operations support for the Southeastern and Southcentral United States as well as the Caribbean.
  • 2nd WXG innovations: Task Force Bat Phone delivers data Airmen need

    This is the second part of a series highlighting innovations by the 557th Weather Wing’s 2nd Weather Group. Using off-the-shelf components, new processes and a little inspiration from Batman, a group of innovative Airmen from the 557th Weather Wing’s 2nd Weather Group are changing how information is transmitted in the field. Exercise Adaptive Lightning’s Task Force Bat Phone is designed to provide data capabilities for on-the-move and first-in situations – the first 72 hours after establishing a new operating location. “Even in the best scenario, such as setting up for a field exercise, there's always a lag between the start of the setup and the establishment of a secure data link,” said Tech. Sgt. Matt Mattern, 16th Weather Squadron NCO in charge of model operations. The Bat Phone leverages existing military radio communication and computer equipment to transmit information without using a formal communications link. Custom-built software retrieves data from Air Force Weather Web Services – known as AFW-WEBS – and packages it for delivery to deployed users in the field using a laptop.
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