World

May 9, 2013

Airmen weather Bagram

Tags:
Story and Photos by Staff Sgt. David Dobrydney
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
DT_pict1
Senior Airman Zachary Sura, 455th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster, uses a handheld weather tracker on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, May 1. The handheld tracker measures temperature, dew point and other meteorological data in the event the main weather radar system is unavailable.

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – No one can control the weather, but the 455th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron weather flight makes a great effort to control its effect on operations here.

The weather flight is responsible for providing mission execution forecasts to the various flying squadrons on base and resource protection through weather watches and warnings.

“Our mission is to be eyes forward,” said Capt. Thaddeus Fridgen, 455th EOSS weather flight commander, deployed from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. “We provide the busiest single runway in the Air Force with accurate and timely weather information.”

The weather flight has been very successful, providing 3,000 mission and planning forecasts for five different airframes and transmitting 668 weather observations with a 100 percent error-free rate in the month of April.

Recently, the 455th EOSS weather flight even assisted two NATO fighter aircraft that were diverted to Bagram. Their weather station was reporting severe conditions that could have kept the aircraft here for up to 36 hours, keeping them out of the fight. Tech. Sgt. Patricia Hurdle-Aguilera, 455th EOSS weather forecaster, deployed from Shaw AFB, S.C., was asked if there was a better course of action.

Working quickly, Hurdle-Aguilera looked at the available data and weather models and determined there was a small window of opportunity the following morning where the aircraft could leave much sooner. She briefed the pilots, and their return flight plan was amended to reflect the forecast. Sure enough, Hurdle-Aguilera’s work paid off and the NATO pilots departed safely after staying at Bagram only 10 hours.

Fridgen said that providing accurate weather information is crucial, whether it’s local or in another part of the country.

“It’s critical because there’s not much room for error,” he said. “If we’re off with our ceiling forecast or our thunderstorm forecast, that could drastically alter [a unit’s] flight plans and if they can’t get to where they need to go, it could put people in danger.”

Predicting weather in Afghanistan can be a complex undertaking as the terrain varies greatly from area to area. Fridgen compared it to places like Colorado.

“The terrain plays such a big [role] in how to forecast because you have to worry about how that affects the wind and thunderstorm development,” he said.

However, the weather flight has several tools at its disposal to overcome this challenge, from a portable Doppler radar on a tower just outside the weather office to three tactical meteorology sensors on the airfield itself. These portable weather stations can record several weather variables such as temperature, rainfall and dew point.

“We try to use these various tools to help us, because this is a data-sparse region,” Fridgen said, “It’s not like back in the States where there are tons of observing points and the National Weather Service has everything covered.”

Despite the challenges of terrain and infrastructure, Senior Airman Zachary Sura, 455th EOSS weather forecaster, deployed from Davis-Monthan AFB, said working in such a demanding environment can be rewarding when the products they provide enable a mission’s completion.

“It’s busier and more complex, but you can see the result of your work,” he said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Eliminating stigma: A leadership responsibility

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — As a child, a close relative of mine committed suicide. In those days, mental health was only discussed in hushed tones and little support was available. I was shaped by this experience and in my military career, I have tried to create an environment where people feel comfortable discussing their problems and...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Alystria Maurer)

Dietary Supplements: Safety still an issue

SAN ANTONIO — Being a Servicemember is as physically demanding, at times, as being a professional athlete. As a result, Servicemembers are especially conscious of physical training requirements and the need to remain fit and ...
 
 

Air Forces Southern hosts first Aeromedical Symposium

(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Heather R. Redman) Pararescuemen from the 48th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., demonstrate casualty care to dozens of military medical professionals from Latin American nations Aug. 28. Air Forces Southern hosted the Aerospace Medicine Symposium as a multinational key leader engagement designed to strengthen aerospace...
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Brandon Lingle)

D-M pararescuemen hone skills in Bagram’s excess structures

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Pararescuemen from the 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, participated in a mission rehearsal where they practiced breaching, clearing, patient care and egress...
 
 

Tuition assistance program changes Oct. 1

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Effective Oct. 1, new changes will go into effect that impact the Air Force Tuition Assistance Program. Personnel using the TA program will now be required to pass all undergraduate courses with a grade of “C” or higher. A grade of “D” will be considered a failing grade and...
 
 

Suicide prevention more than a month-long campaign

WASHINGTON (AFNS)  — All Airmen have a responsibility that lasts much longer than a one-month campaign. This responsibility extends beyond ourselves and includes our work environment, our families, friends, fellow Airmen and our communities. While Suicide Prevention Month is observed across the United States in September, the month-long event is a reminder of everyone’s 24/7,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin