Monsoon season can be a stressful time for southern Arizona, especially when it comes to accurately forecasting the coming thunderstorms and possible floods.
Luckily, the 355th Operational Support Squadron Weather Flight at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., is doing its part to prep its Airmen for contingencies not only at home, but abroad.
The 355th OSS Weather Flight hosted seasonal training as a means to prepare for the ongoing monsoon season. The training included lessons in tactical weather equipment, severe weather action procedures and monsoon forecasting tips useful to both new and seasoned weather Airmen.
“The main goals were to give the newer Airmen valuable information that will come in handy not only for day-to-day operations, but also for monsoon season,” said Staff Sgt. Vanessa Williams, 355th OSS Weather Flight forecaster. “Training on our TMQ-53 Tactical Meteorological Observing System ensured that our newer Airmen are now well versed in how to pack everything up and set up shop somewhere else if they needed to in a moment’s notice.”
The TMQ-53 TMOS is a portable weather station capable of operating in austere and contested locations. Part of the training involved teaching this equipment to the newer Airmen in support of the Dynamic Wing concept. The training had Airmen not only learn about the station, but also operate it in a practical exercise.
“Being not only familiar with our TMQ-53 TMOS, but being able to set it up, operate it and tear it down with little to no assistance is an important skill that our Airmen are required to know,” Williams said. “This hands-on training proves that we have the tools and training needed to fully accomplish the mission.”
While this training is normally conducted every monsoon season, this is the first time the entire weather flight has been incorporated to cover lessons specifically tailored to the Air Force Specialty Code, rather than just ancillary training required by the Air Force. The training proved an invaluable tool for learning various concepts and applying them directly.
“Setting up and taking apart the TMQ-53 TMOS is one of the few hands-on tasks that we as weather forecasters perform,” said Airman 1st Class Wesley Harrington, 355th OSS Weather Flight forecaster apprentice. “The biggest takeaway for me from the training day is that the TMQ-53 TMOS can be used as a backup sensor; it can produce automated observations providing more accurate weather information than what we could provide with a kestrel, our handheld weather sensor.”
While the TMQ-53 TMOS isn’t normally used for day-to-day operations, the value of the training becomes immense when a short notice tasking for a deployment comes up and the designated location isn’t well-established.
“This training will benefit me in the future in the event that I am deployed as a weather forecaster at a location where there is no weather equipment,” Harrington said. “Not much about it is taught at the weather technical school, so receiving this training was really interesting.”
Seasonal training like this not only benefits the Airmen on short notice to deploy, but also the entire flight in preparing for harsh weather seasons and future wartime contingencies. By preparing for the high-end fight today, Davis-Monthan’s Weather Flight is preparing for the conflicts of tomorrow by staying one step ahead of our near-peer adversaries, ready to do whatever the mission requires.