The 4th OSS Airmen predict weather forecasts.

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sabrina Fuller
  • 4th Fighter Wing

The 4th Operations Support Squadron weather flight predicts weather forecasts and provides weather information to base personnel at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

This shop of 19 Airmen and one civilian is responsible for predicting appropriate space conditions, briefing aircrew members on weather forecasts and supporting base-wide missions.

“My job is to disseminate weather products that are tailored to fighter aircrew members,” said Senior Airman Jackson Gall, 4th OSS weather forecaster. “We give step briefings before they fly; it is important because legally, they can't fly without a weather brief.”

The safety of U.S Air Force personnel is paramount to completing any mission. To ensure this, weather Airmens’ predictions and assessments are essential to help prepare pilots, aircrew, and battlefield Airmen for upcoming forecasts.

“We have a very integral part in keeping our aircrew members safe,” said Staff Sgt. Alexandria Simmons, 4th OSS NCO in charge of training. “Safety is a part of what we do, and our mission is to be as relevant and accurate as possible.”

Simmons said that weather doesn't just provide information to aircrew members and fighter squadrons, but to other units like security forces and maintenance, to ensure that equipment avoids damage and that training can run smoothly.

“We look into atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind speed, low or high clouds, and thunderstorms,” said Senior Airman Randy Diaz, 4th OSS weather forecaster. “We have a minimum of three forecasts that we provide each day for Air Force personnel.”

Not only do weather Airmen keep Air Force personnel and property safe, but they demonstrate lethal abilities as well.

“We have special software that is able to determine which way pilots need to attack from,” said Simmons. “We input data and gain imagery that helps keep eyes on targets and plan attacks.”

The weather flight gains these pictures and information through radar and satellite imagery and technologies. Additionally, these Airmen have the capabilities to do their job in the event they don't have these resources.

“Our advanced technology helps with getting information quickly, but we're taught to not rely on our technology in case we’re down range or something happens and we don't have access,” said Diaz.

Simmions added when runway sensors are down or during deployments and temporary duty orders, Airmen use a tactical meteorological observing system to manually conclude weather data such as precipitation, wind speed, pressure, and a tactical mobility sensor to observe space conditions.

Adaptation and preparation are key so the weather flight can preserve the mission and safety of Airmen through predicting forecasts, updating weather advisors, and providing new observations when possible.

“We make sure that we are putting out observations, terminal aerodrome forecasts, a 30-hour forecast provided every eight hours, and handing out weather information to the air traffic control tower,” said Simmons. “We also put out weather advisories and weather warnings that are distributed across the base.”

Limited data forecasting prepares Airmen to predict weather changes and stay lethal and prepared for any differences in meteorology.

“Weather is never textbook,” said Simmons. “We just have to notice the weather patterns and prepare.”

Providing accurate weather forecasts to all Seymour Johnson AFB personnel is pertinent to maintaining a lethal and ready force. The 4th OSS weather flight keeps Team Seymour informed allowing Airmen to fly, fight, and win anywhere.