Graduate and doctoral students from the University of Arizona visited the 25th Operational Weather Squadron here Nov. 22.
Sixteen students from the Departments of Atmospheric Sciences, Geosciences and Planetary Sciences participated in a tour along with Dr. Xubin Zeng, UA Department of Atmospheric Sciences professor and honorary commander for the 25th OWS.
“I’ve been involved with the 25th OWS since it moved to D-M,” Zeng said. “I wanted my students to see how weather forecasting is done first-hand and how important it is to military operations.”
An honorary commander is a leader in the local community who is matched to a squadron to help foster public trust and support. These prominent community members interact closely with their military counterpart and the unit’s Airmen.
“The UA and the 25th OWS have had a great partnership for quite some time,” said Lt. Col. Michael Marsicek, 25th OWS commander. “We have a doctoral student here on staff that is affiliated with the UA, and her wealth of knowledge and the expertise she brings to our operation is fantastic. For our part, we act as subject matter experts in a joint study between the DOD and the UA on climate changes and how they will affect certain bases. So this partnership that we’ve built is very beneficial to both sides.”
The students were given a brief on both the 25th OWS and the 612th Support Squadron and operational weather flight missions. Following the brief, they were shown the operations floor where various Airmen explained the different sections of the floor and what they are responsible for.
“This gives them the opportunity to see what other options there are out there in the weather career field,” said. Capt. Ryan Willis, 25th OWS charlie flight commander. “It’s not just working at the local TV station. There are multiple opportunities for them to work for the DOD or the National Weather Service, just to name a few; and those are agencies that we interact with on a daily basis.”
After the floor tour, Marsicek and other weather officers participated in a question and answer session with the students.
“The stories we’ve heard of effective and not so effective forecasting really brought home just how big a part weather plays in the success of a military mission,” Zeng said.