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.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Gosier)

Historic fighter squadron celebrates 98th birthday

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Gosier) Historic_Pict2 Caption: U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 94th Fighter Squadron and Aircraft Maintenance Unit pose for a photo at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Aug. 21, 2015. The ph...
 
 
WEBKeySpouse_pict

Key Spouse Program: Supporting the families and Airmen of 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)

Photo: KeySpouse_pict DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. — It is in the nature of military service that at some point you will be separated from the ones who love you. Often times a permanent change of station forces spouses and si...
 
 
(Courtesy photo)

SecAF, CSAF, CMSAF present new “little blue book”

(Courtesy photo) Caption: Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody congratulates an Airman attending Airmen’s Week Aug. 27, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Airmen received a copy of “America’...
 

 
af-uav4

Arming the RPAs

Air Force photograph by TSgt. Joseph Swafford A1C Matthew Lopez (center), 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron munitions systems technician, builds a GPS-guided GBU-49 bomb at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2015...
 
 
Photo: WoW_pict

Warfighter of the Week: Staff Sgt. Brad Johannes

Photo: WoW_pict Col. Robert Stonemark, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) chief of staff, presents Staff Sgt. Brad Johannes, 12th AF (AFSOUTH) manager of engineering operations, with the Warfighter of the Week certificate dur...
 
 

Special tactics Airmen killed in hostile incident

Two special tactics airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, were killed near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>