Today is a day we take time to acknowledge and give thanks for those who have served our country. Here at We Love Weather and The Weather Channel, we celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans.
We’d like to highlight the countless meteorologists that serve in a military capacity. No matter the branch of military, the weather’s impact is a vital source of information needed to make a plethora of decisions. Without these meteorologists, key knowledge of the environment wouldn’t be properly communicated or utilized.
The Special Operations Weather Team, or SOWT, in the Air Force is a group of airmen who play an essential role in missions: Keeping an eye to the sky. According to the U.S. Air Force website, SOWTs “collect critical weather, ocean, river, snow and terrain data, assist mission planning, generate accurate mission-tailored target and route forecasts in support of global special operations.”
Staff Sgt. Jody Ball, 10th Combat Weather Squadron, scans the surrounding area for threats while Tech Sgt. Rick Rohde, 10th CWS, collects weather data during a training exercise held near Hurlburt Field, Fla. (Photo Courtesy: U.S. Air Force)
The U.S. Army Weather Service was created in 1917 to ensure all necessary weather information was transmitted to people in the field who needed it. The first time meteorological data was used in a military setting for the U.S. was in France in 1918 during World War I. However, it wasn’t until 2008 when the Special Operations Weather Team in the U.S. Air Force was officially established, “formally recognizing their commitment to deploy into restricted environments by air, land or sea to conduct weather operations, observe and analyze all environmental data.”
Unsurprisingly, it’s not easy becoming a part of this highly coveted team. SOWTs have to go through 61 weeks of training, which includes learning unique mission skills and weather weapon systems. The people that comprise this team are described as “among the most highly trained personnel in the U.S. military,” if that gives any indication about how important they are to operations.
Thanks to all the veterans who have served our country. Happy Veterans Day everyone!