GULFPORT COMBAT READINESS TRAINING CENTER, Miss --
Airmen assigned to the 4th Operations Support Squadron weather flight worked hand-in-hand with a Belgian Air Force weather forecaster to understand similarities and differences between their processes during exercise Southern Strike 2023, April 17 to 28, at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Mississippi.
“We brought out some of the Americans to give them an overview of what we do on a drop zone,” said Sgt. Jens Boelen, Meteo Wing weather forecaster supporting the Belgian Special Operations Regiment. “We showed them what equipment we use and we allowed them to integrate with us to see how we provide meteorological data related to military free fall.”
The 4 FW Airmen accompanied Boelen to see how weather affects the free fall mission and to watch members of the Belgian Special Operations Regiment conduct military free fall. It also gave the 4th OSS Airmen an opportunity to demonstrate and explain how they use their equipment with Boelen.
“We use similar techniques and systems,” said Boelen. “Although the 4FW airman use Micro Weather Stations that could be interesting to implement within the meteo branch at the Belgian Defence as well.”
For many of the 4th OSS weather Airmen, this was their first experience working with foreign allies.
“The biggest thing we gained was experience,” said Tech. Sgt. Andrew Scott, 4th OSS weather craftsman. “Most of our weather people haven’t gotten to see how weather affects the mission firsthand, so watching the free fall helps put things into perspective. It is important to open our Airmen’s eyes and let them see what the significance of our job is to a mission.”
Exercise Southern Strike promotes interoperability between foreign allies, special forces, conventional ground forces and air assets to ensure the U.S. military stays relevant and ready to respond to a peer-to-peer large scale combat operation.