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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.
Cyber Evolution: 16th WS
The 16th Weather Squadron is leading the way, reorganizing to become the 557th Weather Wing’s dedicated software and innovation squadron, a move that will generate new insights on environmental intelligence for combatant commanders around the globe. When complete, the reorganization will reinforce 16th WS’s culture of science and technological innovation and warfighter ethos, contributing to the National Defense Strategy’s line of effort to reform the Defense Department for greater lethality and performance.
Made with love in Australia by a 2nd WS Airman
A 2nd Weather Squadron Airman stationed in Australia is crafting hope in her local community in the midst of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Staff Sgt. Kalynn Mitchell, a 2nd WS solar analyst at Learmonth Solar Observatory in Exmouth, Western Australia, is using her sewing machine and fabric from a local hardware store to create face masks for medical workers and others at risk in the community. “I think the world needs hope,” said Capt. Ustem Nu, 2nd WS Detachment 1 commander. “Every day we see the news about more and more people dying or people not caring. It can be overwhelming and disheartening at times. What Staff Sgt. Mitchell is doing, whether she realizes it or not, is giving hope to people.”
DOD Issues Flexible Instructions on Response to Coronavirus
The Defense Department has issued instructions to the armed services and department heads on how to respond to the implications of the growing coronavirus outbreak.
557th WW integrating with 16th AF missions
The 557th Weather Wing is working to integrate its strengths into the recently formed 16th Air Force, which brought intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, cyber, electronic warfare, information operations and weather all under one roof. Integration is a key theme for the Air Force’s first information warfare numbered air force. The 557th’s efforts both reinforce the value of the wing’s existing missions, such as providing weather for aviation, but also offer new opportunities for the wing to increase lethality in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions of other 16th AF wings. “The realignment of the 557th WW into the information warfare numbered air force will have a profound effect on the future of weather and environmental intelligence operations, and we intend to bring that future fast,” said Jeffrey Fries, 1st Weather Group chief of operations standards and tactics.
Weather Airmen share mission at Rose Bowl event
As people prepared to celebrate the New Year’s holiday, five Airmen from units across the 557th Weather Wing journeyed to Pasadena, California. Their mission was to tell the Air Force Weather story at Live on Green!, a free entertainment and education event that precedes the annual Rose Parade and Rose Bowl football game. “This event enabled our diverse team of Airmen to educate the public about roles and capabilities within Air Force Weather,” said Capt. Jeremy Mayo-Johnson, 14th Weather Squadron climate development analyst and team lead at the event. “We were able to show people of all ages that meteorologists can be more than just weathermen on TV and that the Air Force has a wide variety of career opportunities.”Live on Green!, now in its fifth year, offers entertainment and education to the 700,000 people who visit Pasadena for the annual parade and football game. Activities offered include musical performances, culinary demos, games and more.
557th WW realigns under new information warfare NAF
The 557th Weather Wing has been reassigned to the Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber). The reassignment ceremony, held at the 557th WW’s headquarters here Oct. 29, was attended by commanders from Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) and Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern), its former Numbered Air Force. The 557th WW joins the 55th Wing and other units whose missions fall under the new Information Warfare NAF. “The 557th operates a truly global and data-driven enterprise,” said Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) commander. “On a daily basis, your Airmen exploit a worldwide network of sensors, processing mass quantities of data, connected to a communications network capable of disseminating weather intelligence at the speed of decision to create outcomes for joint commanders.”
16th Air Force to streamline cyber weapon systems
Launched on July 1, 12N12 aims to replace, reduce and consolidate the tools, systems and applications operators and analysts employ within the cyberspace security and defense mission area by July 1, 2020.
Air Force integrates missions, strengthens information warfare capabilities
Sixteenth Air Force activated at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Oct. 11, integrating Twenty-Fourth Air Force, to include Air Forces Cyber, and Twenty-Fifth Air Force into a single headquarters that will provide global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber, electronic warfare and information operations.
Minnesota visitors receive surprise visit to Offutt
In what was an absolute surprise to all of them, 82 people from Southeastern Minnesota toured Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Sept. 19, 2019. The visit was part of three-day mystery tour to Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska offered by Home Federal Savings Bank, a local bank. “When they left Rochester they had no idea where they were going, not even to the state,” said Jean Jech, director of Home Federal Savings Bank’s Jubilee Travel Club. “Several of them bring maps of four different states, trying to figure out which way we’re going.” The visit to Offutt AFB included mission and historical briefings at the 557th Weather Wing as well as lunch at the King Dining Facility. Members of the group also had the opportunity to speak with Airmen who have recently deployed.
CMSAF to engage with ACC Airmen about resilliency through video games
The chief master sergeant of the Air Force is scheduled to play video games with three Airmen from within Air Combat Command from 2 to 4 p.m. EDT Oct. 25, 2019, on the ACC Public Affairs YouTube channel — ACCNewsTV. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Senior Airmen JaNae Capuno)
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.
ACC defines HUR-RY, TOR-RY framework
While specific start dates of tornado seasons vary based on region, they can happen at any time, day or night. On the other hand, Hurricane Season recently began on June 1 and will extend to Nov. 30. Due to catastrophic weather events that took place throughout the past 12 year, including Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence, the Air Force Severe Weather Readiness Assessment team recently developed an action plan for all at-risk installations across the United States.
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.
Youth summer camps offer engagement, growth
Please note these camps are for kids across the enterprise and application this year is via email, not an online application site. The application needed is linked in the article to make it a little easier for parents/guardians.
2019 Air Force Photo Contest opens soon
The 2019 Air Force Photo Contest opens May 1. The annual contest, managed by the Air Force Services Activity, highlights and celebrates photography created by Airmen and their families.
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.