Salutes & Awards

April 20, 2012

Lightning strikes twice: Luke Airman receives second AF weather award

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Story and photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Labadens
CJTF-HOA Public Affairs
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Tech. Sgt. Gregory Spiker, joint meteorology and oceanography operations weather forecaster, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, deployed from the 56th Operations Group Weather Flight, uses a rope April 13 to lower the mast on radar used to detect rain and thunderstorms at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Spiker was named the 2011 Air Force Weather NCO of the Year.

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti — There’s an old saying that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place, but it did for one Luke Air Force Base Airman.

Tech. Sgt. Gregory Spiker, joint meteorology and oceanography operations weather forecaster, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, was named the 2011 Air Force Weather NCO of the Year — his second Air Force-level weather award. His first one was the Air Force Battlefield Weather NCO of the Year in 2006.

Spiker’s skill and enthusiasm for his job in the weather career field were obvious to his home-station supervisor, Capt. Drew Moore, 56th Operations Support Squadron Weather Flight commander.

“He’s topnotch at what he does,” Moore said. “He’s energetic, motivated and very involved with the fighter squadrons here and what we do on the weather side. He’s positive, has a good attitude and is a stellar NCO.”

Spiker deployed here in November 2011 to work a rotation with the CJTF-HOA operations joint METOC.

“Here we’re responsible for forecasting for the entire area of interest for the combined joint task force,” Spiker said. “Any mission that’s a CJTF-HOA mission, we’re going to forecast for it.”

Spiker said he took an interest in weather and natural science at an early age. He first found out about the weather career field from his recruiter before joining the U.S. Air Force 10 years ago, and he’s been doing it ever since.

“I had always been a natural sciences kind of person and more of the ‘outdoorsy’ type,” he said. “I wanted to do something different, and it seemed like the Air Force offered the most unique opportunity for me, so it really worked out.”

His first two deployments were to Iraq in 2006 and 2007 to provide tactical weather support for the U.S. Army 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Stryker Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Spiker said his service in a deployed environment contributed to him earning his first Air Force weather award and also played a part in his receiving the 2011 award.

One of his main responsibilities here includes setting up and maintaining tactical weather equipment used for collecting atmospheric data in the CJTF-HOA area of interest, Spiker said. His job takes him to other sites in Djibouti and several countries in and around the Horn of Africa in support of the CJTF-HOA mission.

His supervisor here, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Douglas Wahl, CJTF-HOA joint METOC operations officer, said Spiker was well-deserving of the award.

“Sergeant Spiker has been a tremendous asset to the CJTF-HOA METOC team,” Wahl said. “He is proactive and one of the most knowledgeable Air Force technicians and forecasters I’ve worked with. It’s obvious he takes great pride in his job and this award truly reflects the quality of his workmanship.”

Even though Spiker was excited about winning the award, he said he knew his career field was more than just a one-man job — it was a team effort. He praised the Airmen in his shop at Luke Air Force Base and the joint personnel he works with here for their excellent performance.

“I work with the most awesome people I’ve ever worked with in my career right now. They’re all such hard workers,” Spiker said. “I’ve always been lucky to be able to work alongside such great people.”




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