Wednesday, November 26, 2014

JBER mechanics maintain mission posture

by Tech. Sgt. Raymond Mills
JBER Public Affairs

11/26/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson vehicle mechanics work to ensure vehicle fleets are operationally ready for any mission.

"The mission of the JBER mechanics is to ensure the world's greatest fighting force has the ability to train, deploy and sustain the fight at any time and in any condition," said Jeremy Henry, 404th Army Field Support Brigade Logistics Readiness Center mechanic.

Without vehicles, many missions supported on JBER would come to a halt.
"The types of military vehicles we work on include, but aren't limited to, Humvees, heavy expanded mobility tactical trucks, mine-resistant ambush protected, family of medium tactical vehicles, tractors and various forklifts," Henry said. "Each of the above mentioned also include the various configurations they come in, from wreckers to load handling systems and electrical and hydraulic subsets. We also service and repair generators, lawn mowers, various earth-moving equipment and off-road vehicles, such as snowmachines and side-by-sides," Henry said.

Tactical vehicles offer a unique set of maintenance challenges.

"Here at the special purpose equipment repair section, we work on almost every piece of tactical equipment that the arctic warriors employ," Henry said. "There is no such thing as a typical day in our line of work any more than there is a typical day for the Soldiers we assist. Some days can be as simple as winterizing a Humvee to the polar opposite of replacing the power packs in the heavy expanded mobility tactical trucks. We have also been known to recover vehicles in the field and to support the offloading of vehicles coming off Army ships at the port of Anchorage."

While Army mechanics focus more on tactical vehicles, Air Force vehicle maintainers sustain base-support vehicles.

Senior Master Sergeant Ronald Cole, 673d Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management flight chief, said his unit has their hands on every non-tactical vehicle on JBER. 

"We maintain the vehicle fleet and oversee the management of the Government Support Agency fleet," Cole said. "I have 125 personnel; each and every one of them is a professional and each and every one of them is good at their job."

He said his Vehicle Maintenance and Vehicle Management and Analysis shops work together to track the preventive maintenance program for 1,700 vehicles on base, of which 950 are government owned and repaired by vehicle management. Cole said the fleet is valued at $155 million.

According to Cole, base support vehicle maintainers are particularly busy during the winter. During these times vehicle maintainers are on the flightline and in the streets repairing vehicles that move snow and ice.

"They give 100 percent all the time," Cole said. "If a de-icer goes down, my guys will come in at any time; even if it's non-duty hours. We support 24-hour operations because my personnel understand the importance of those assets and what they mean to the base.  They understand that no matter what you are doing or what time it is, you respond and take care of the problem."

Unlike their Army counterparts, who employ a variety of specialists in specific vehicle systems, the 673d LRS vehicle maintainers have to absorb a broad spectrum of training.

"VM is bumper to bumper," Cole said. "We are responsible for every system on the vehicle. It doesn't matter if it's hydraulics, fuels systems, body works, brakes ... all of it. One mechanic is given a work order and is told 'here, go fix that.'"

Although the Air Force and Army has different approaches, their end goal remains the same.

"The people who work here are dedicated employees who do their job to the best of their ability," Henry said. "Most are driven to success both in their profession and in support of the mission. There's a wide variety of skills in this shop, and where one might be weak in an area, they may excel in another. When it comes to getting the vehicles out on time, I think that the team here really comes together to help each other achieve the overall goal of the mission."

Spartan shines at the U.S. Army Long Range Championships

by Sgt. Brian Ragin
4/25th IBCT Public Affairs

11/26/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Thompson, a native of Anchorage and infantryman with the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, competed at the 2014 U.S. Army Long Range Championships at Fort Benning, Georgia, placing third overall.

The championship is an advanced-combat live-fire training event, which is hosted by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. The championship requires Soldiers to fire at ranges of 800, 900 and 1,000 yards. Soldiers either fire the M24 Sniper Rifle .308 or the XM 2010 Sniper Rifle .300 Win-Mag. The competition consisted of individual and two-man team events.

Thompson, an accomplished shooter, was the only competitor in the top 10 who used the .300 Win-Mag. Adding to Thompson's challenges at the competition, the weapon he used was loaned to him from a unit at Fort Benning, and because he was a last-minute addition to the team, he had little time to prepare.

Thompson and several other Spartans from the 4/25th IBCT were among more than 50 contestants who traveled from across the U.S. and were representing units from the National Guard, the Army Reserve, and the active-duty Army.

Thompson said he looks forward to more competitions like this in the future, so arctic paratroopers can demonstrate their abilities in an Army-wide competition.

Aircraft metals technician turns material into mission

by David Bedard
JBER Public Affairs

11/26/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Ancient Rome, 2nd Century C.E. A blacksmith stretches his arm toward a fiery forge, plucking out a rod of iron - tip glowing red with accumulated heat. He places the rod over an immovable anvil and hammers on it until it's transformed from a shapeless billet into the recognizable shape of a four-blade arrowhead. It takes 20 minutes for the smith to craft the arrowhead, and his trade demands he is able to replicate the process with precise repeatability.

Once mated to a wooden shaft and feathery fletching, the arrow becomes an aerial weapon able to take flight over the heads of friendly infantry, arcing over city walls and finding its mark in the defending enemy ranks.

The melding of weaponry and warrior demonstrated how a metal worker's careful attention to his craft - miles away from the battlefield - ensured the success of a Roman archer embroiled in the heat of warfare.

On the modern battlefield, metalwork is no less important than it was 2,000 years ago, though it has become more precise - influenced as much by the digital age as the Iron Age.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel Baker, 3rd Maintenance Squadron Fabrication Flight aircraft metals technician, carries on the tradition of metal craftsmanship in support of 3rd Wing and other units at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Baker's job is to machine and weld parts for aircraft and ground-support equipment. His ability to make parts from blueprints and billets of material prevents the need for evacuation of equipment to depot-level maintenance, saving downtime for mission-critical equipment.

Though most parts can be sourced through the supply system, there are occasions when only the Fabrication Flight can get a fighter or an auxiliary power unit back into action.

"Our role isn't very big [compared to traditional parts supply], because we don't have a lot of parts all the time," Baker said. "But when there is something, it's pretty important. We like to say we're the last line of maintenance defense. If we can't fix it, then it has to be sent to depot or ordered new."

Baker, like his blacksmith forebear, takes a billet of metal and forms it into something useful. But instead of using fire and a hammer to bang the material into shape, the Airman machines parts from billets, removing unnecessary material to craft a useful item.

Michelangelo is credited with having said of his craft, "Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it." The idea isn't dissimilar to what Baker does with a lathe or a mill in his efforts to reveal a bracket or a fastener hiding in a silvery cylinder.

According to Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Baldwin, 3rd MXS Aircraft Metals Technology noncommissioned officer-in-charge and Baker's supervisor, a metals fabrication job starts when an aircraft crew chief or equipment mechanic identifies a maintenance fault requiring a part replacement. They check technical data to determine if the part is procurable through the Fabrication Flight. If approved, the part request is routed through supply channels to Baldwin's office.

The Fabrication Flight determines if they have the capability to make the part. They work up a cost estimate based on the item blueprints, and send the information back to the unit. The metals technicians will ensure they have the necessary materials, ordering anything needed to complete the job. The blueprints stipulate materials, specifications and tolerances for the final product. A technician will then mill or lathe the part using manual (by-hand) machining or computer-numerical control, which is a computer-driven machining process.

Baker, a native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, said he is most comfortable with traditional machining, because he isn't particularly computer savvy. The Airman first put his hand on a machinist's lathe during his senior year in high school.

With experience in woodworking and other craftsman disciplines, Baker decided during his junior year that he would take the vocational technology option offered for his senior year. He made the decision too late, however, and machining was the only discipline available that appealed to him.

Though the career field didn't have the pizzazz of auto body or the day-to-day visibility of electrical wiring, Baker said he took to his new trade with enthusiasm.

"For some reason - I don't know what it was - it just clicked," he said. "So I stuck with it."

After graduation, Baker worked as a civilian machinist apprentice, often making parts for defense contracts. After two years in the civilian sector, he said he decided to join the Air Force and follow in the footsteps of his Airman father and service member grandfathers.

"I realized I wanted to do something special and use what I learned for a greater purpose," Baker recalled.

He surfed the recruiting websites, with Air Force Specialty Code 2A7X1, Aircraft Metals Technology, catching his eye because it included welding - something he didn't learn in high school. He attended technical school at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland - an Army post - where he broadened his machining skills alongside technicians representing every branch of service.

Baker said he was struck by the differences between his civilian shop and what he experienced in the Air Force.

"In the military, we check our tooling and make sure they're good, labeled and calibrated," he explained. "Everything has a designated location, everything is clean, everything is serviceable, everything has a place to go.

"In the civilian world, you can have a drawer full of wrenches. It's not very efficient, but so long as you can get it out the door in a timely manner, that's what matters."

After graduating technical school in 2009, Baker reported to McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, where he primarily worked with KC-135 Stratotanker refuelers. During his assignment to McConnell, Baker deployed to Southwest Asia where he fabricated parts for KC-135s, B-1 Lancer bombers, and Navy P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft. He said it was especially rewarding to fabricate parts for the crew-entry doors of a B-1, allowing the crew to provide air support for ground forces in Afghanistan.

JBER is Baker's second duty station, an assignment that has proven equally challenging and rewarding, he said.

The machinist recently deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for Valiant Shield 2014 - a large exercise including all U.S. military services. Because the joint force didn't require any machine work during the exercise, Baker kept busy assisting aircrews in rebuilding five main landing-gear assemblies. The experience forced the Airman out of his comfort zone and gave him valuable insight into the Airmen he supports every day.

Back at home station, Baldwin makes a habit of pushing Baker and other aircraft metals technicians out of their comfort zones. Recently, Baldwin assigned Baker to a team tasked with making an awards board for 3rd Wing.

The 4- by 8-foot board is made of aluminum, birch wood and plexiglass, and incorporates LED lighting. As daunting as integrating non-metallic components was for Baker, perhaps the biggest challenge for the Luddite was fully graduating from manual to CNC machining.

Baker said he isn't particularly comfortable with digital technology such as smartphones or tablets, indicating he might have more in common with the Roman blacksmith than he does with technology belonging to the Fabrication Flight.

But Baker came to grips with CNC procedures, a process that starts with the machinist sitting behind a computer desk. Baker worked up the blueprints using computer-aided design software. The design was then sent to a computer-aided manufacturing file, which translated the CAD information into commands that could be interpreted by a machine tool. He loaded the tooling into a CNC mill and ensured the system made the frame parts to the required specifications.

Baldwin said the process required creativity and determination on Baker's part.

"That's the great thing about this job: you do have a lot of creative freedom, even when you're making something from a blueprint," the Spring Hill, Florida, native said. "The way you get to the end result is going to be different. Five different people are going to make it five different ways, but the end result is going to be the same."

Like the Roman blacksmith, Baker often uses his extensive skills to work on a small part of a weapons system. And like the Roman legionary, F-22 Raptor pilots and other customers rely on the skilled metal worker to stay in the fight.

"Being able to get the part, make it or weld it, and then send it back out in a timely fashion gets the aircraft off the ground," Baker explained. "There's no ordering or loss of mission capability. That's the most satisfying thing."

Under Secretary of the Army visits

by USARAK Public Affairs staff report

11/26/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Under Secretary of the Army Brad Carson, who also serves as the Army's chief management officer, got an eyeful of Alaska's vast training areas during an aerial tour of the Interior, Tuesday.

After flying over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, Carson ended his tour at Black Rapids Training Site, 130 miles south of Fort Wainwright, the home of U.S. Army Alaska's Northern Warfare Training Center, or NWTC.

At NWTC, the Army's premier training center for cold-weather and high-altitude operations, Carson rode in a small-unit support vehicle to the top of a nearby mountain in the middle of NWTC's training area, where he received an orientation of the training area, followed by a demonstration of Alaska's cold-weather and survivability gear.

Carson also received a sand table brief of USARAK's recent successful Mount McKinley expedition from May on the actual training sand table used by the USARAK McKinley teams to plan for the expedition.

Alaska and the Soldiers stationed at JBER made quite an impression on Carson.
"Amazing," he said. "It's beautiful and a great place for the Army to train. There are a lot of great facilities here that allow us to train a lot of important skills that will be essential for the future. As the arctic becomes more important to us, and as the Pacific becomes more important to us, Alaska's going to be an important place for the U.S. Army, too."

Alaska's massive Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex training areas offer varied terrain and extreme weather conditions and are widely used by other branches of service and partner nations. The JPARC consists of all the land, air, sea, space and cyberspace used for military training in Alaska, providing unmatched opportunities for present and future service, joint, interagency and multinational training.

"This is my favorite part, coming out here and seeing the training ground has been really amazing, and the chance to fly over a lot of the other training areas here in Alaska," Carson said. "It's impressive to see how vast it is and all the great training ranges we have here that the whole U.S. Army can take advantage of."

The JPARC is composed of approximately 65,000 square miles of available airspace, 2,490 square miles of land space with 1.5 million acres of maneuver land, and 42,000 square nautical miles of sea and airspace in the Gulf of Alaska.

The Alaska visit was the final stop in Carson's trip to the Pacific region, which included stops in Washington, Hawaii and South Korea.

His stated goal during the trip was to gain a better understanding of each command's mission and capabilities. He also sought to learn current and future requirements of the units he visited.

Site Summit star to light up Anchorage nights once again

by Chris McCann
JBER Public Affairs

11/26/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Those new to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson or the Anchorage area may be surprised by the appearance of a new star Friday evening.

It's nothing that would surprise an astronomer, though; it's been around for almost 60 years.

The star on the side of Mount Gordon Lyon is lit every year in conjunction with Anchorage's City of Lights celebration; this year's is Friday at 5 p.m.

It remains lit until the last musher from the Iditarod crosses the finish line, usually sometime in mid to late March.

Despite its longevity, its size, location and purpose have changed a little over the years.

During the Cold War, the mountaintop was home to an Army Air Defense Command Nike Hercules missile battery - one of three which defended the Anchorage bowl during the Cold War. The battery was active from 1959 until 1979.

In 1958, as troops built the installation, Army Capt. Douglas Evert, then the commander of B Battery, 4th Missile Battalion, 43rd Artillery, had a 15-foot wide star built on top of the gatehouse at Site Summit.

As festive as the star looked to those at the battery, from Anchorage, it appeared to be just one bright light, with no real shape.

In 1960, Army Capt. Donald Jahns, the new commander, had the star redesigned and relocated to the side of the mountain - still about 4,000 feet up - and expanded to 117 feet in diameter.

In a 2009 article for the Chugiak-Eagle River Star, M. R. Stonebraker recalled being chosen for the star-building detail - and said the entire project only took a day.

Stonebraker was a specialist 4 in B Battery in November of 1960, he said.

"I thought it was rather strange because our base was supposed to be a secret base, and here we are, we're putting up a star that points right to it," he said.
He now lives in Loveland, Colorado, and said he never expected the results of his one-day detail to last so long.

"Imagine my surprise, that 50 years later, I find the star is still there," he said. "It's been replaced at least once, but is still being lit every year."

Since then, avalanches have occasionally wiped out the star - or at least portions of it. But each summer, work crews from JBER journey up to the top of the mountain to repair portions destroyed by wind and snow, and to replace each light bulb.

The star was reconstructed in 1989 and expanded to a whopping 300 feet in diameter - which means replacing all 350 60-watt light bulbs, often at precarious angles, in fog and high wind even in the summer.

It's a labor of love, and still, as was intended from the start, a gift to the people of Anchorage.

Complacency with weapons can cause major problems

by Tech Sgt. Vernon Cunningham
JBER Public Affairs

11/26/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- After registering a weapon on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the responsibility of the gun owner is far from over.

All owners have the responsibility to handle, transport and secure weapons as safely as possible to ensure total control.

Although many gun owners tend to build up great experience handling their personal weapons, accidentally or negligently firing a weapon can happen to anyone.

A negligent discharge occurs when a weapon is fired due to either operator error or a lack of attention to basic safety rules.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Rogelio Diaz, 673d Security Forces Squadron training noncommissioned officer, said the most important thing to do before handling a weapon is to be familiar with the operation of that weapon.

"They need to really know that weapon before they decide to go out and use it on the range or carry it off post for any reason," Diaz said. "The best way to become familiar with your weapon is to read the manual and do some research. Also, people should take some type of civilian course if they are going to carry."

Carrying firearms is prohibited on JBER, however.

Diaz said due to legal concerns, there are no gun safety classes on JBER covering anything other than military-issued weapons.

However, he said, there are a lot of concealed-carry classes in Anchorage and a weapon owner can go to any gun shop to get more information.

He said knowing your weapon and having the appropriate training are integral components of preventing negligent discharges. But having the tools to be a responsible owner does not guarantee safety.

"Complacency is a big thing," Diaz said. "If you start carrying enough, daily and such, then you tend to get complacent. If you get too complacent, negligent discharges start to happen for a variety of reasons. For instance, some weapons don't have a safety on them and, God forbid, it gets snagged on clothing as you are trying to holster; you might shoot yourself in the leg."

Negligent discharges can result in a variety of injuries, from a lethal shot to the head or torso to other lesser, but just as serious, injuries.

Dr. Benjamin Kam Jr., 673d Surgical Operations Squadron commander, is a staff orthopedic surgeon and subject-matter expert on musculoskeletal injuries.

Orthopedic surgeons not only work on sports injuries, but are also on the front lines taking care of combat casualties.

The colonel said a non-lethal gunshot from negligent discharge can actually have a more severe impact on a person's life than one would typically think.

"Most people that get caught in an accidental discharge in their own house don't die from it," Kam said. "Usually they are wounded by it, but the disability that comes from that can sometimes be pretty extensive."

One example of an injury that may be undervalued is if the gun owner or person nearby is shot in the hand.

"Hand surgery is complex enough that it has its own sub-specialist who dedicates a whole year of additional training to learn how the hand functions," Kam said. "A single gunshot wound through the hand, if you hit the right place, can disable most of the function of the hand."

Kam said he treated an Afghan soldier who shot himself in the hand due to a negligent discharge.

Kam then witnessed the effects of the soldier's injury.

"We took care of him, but it significantly altered his ability to provide for his family, " Kam said. "There were also significant punitive repercussions for what happened to him in his service in his own country. In addition, he had to suffer the stigma of having shot himself."

Kam also served with other surgeons for a U.S. service member who accidentally shot himself in the foot, and needed three operations to repair the damage.

Kam said the service member was not able to continue active-duty service because he could never run again, and was eventually discharged.

"That person, beyond the active duty service, has to find a way of life for himself and his family," Kam said. "It would be hard to provide care if you can't do regular activities. You can't carry anything because you are limping. You can't run."

Suffering a wound to a limb may cost a weapon owner more than just a harsh limp.

"I have had people so significantly disabled from a shot to the ankle they couldn't walk," Kam said. "The pain is so severe that even though the foot and ankle are still physically there, they beg for an amputation. Sometimes it's the only way to get their lives back. The only way to get them off narcotics and get them back to doing things again is to remove a severely traumatized foot or ankle. There are some significant disabling things that could happen. Even though you took a small hole, it can traumatize a limb severely and ruin your life for sure."

Diaz said JBER has seen more cases of adults, not children, who have fired their weapons by accident.
He said the adults are usually either trying to clean their weapons, come home from firing and forget to take a round out, or returned from hunting and forget to clear their weapon due to fatigue.

He said safety needs to always be on a gun owner's mind.

"I'm from Texas ... I grew up around guns," Diaz said. "Any kind of training I have had, on base or off, it's all been the same: safety, safety, safety. Be familiar with your weapon and don't point at anything you don't intend to shoot."

For information on weapon registration and child access prevention policies on JBER, read JBER Instruction 31-107.

George Washington Strike Group Maintains Security and Stability during 2014 Patrol

From USS George Washington Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG) arrived at its forward operating location of Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan upon completion of its 2014 patrol, Nov. 25.

Throughout the 2014 Patrol the GWCSG was made up of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54), USS Shiloh (CG 67), and USS Cape St. George (CG 71); Arleigh-burke class guided-missile destroyers USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS Stethem (DDG 63), USS Mustin (DDG 89), USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Halsey (DDG 97), USS Kidd (DDG 100) and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108).

"Returning home is a great chance for Sailors to enjoy some down time after the hard work they put in to this year's patrol," said George Washington Command Master Chief Jason Haka.

GWCSG conducted three major training exercises during this year's patrol. During the first half of patrol, naval forces from India, Japan, and the United States participated in Exercise Malabar 2014, a complex, high-end warfighting exercise to advance multinational maritime relationships and mutual security issues. In September, GWCSG participated in Exercise Valiant Shield, which included USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), 19 surface combatants, more than 200 aircraft and 18,000 personnel from the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine Corps to focus on the integration of joint training among U.S. forces.

Just before the end of the patrol, GWCSG operated alongside its Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force counterparts during Keen Sword 15, a bilateral field training exercise.

"Integrating into the strike group and learning everyone's abilities and capabilities during Keen Sword was my highlight of this patrol," said Rear Adm. John Alexander, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet, who took command Oct. 5. "This was the first time I have participated in the exercise. I thought all units in the strike group did enormously well and we worked extremely well with our Japanese counterparts."

GWCSG conducted six good-will port visits in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region; Hong Kong; Singapore; Busan, Republic of Korea; Sasebo, Japan and Guam. They also hosted a reception while anchored in Manila, Philippines, and participated in a community relations (COMREL) project with Children International in Quezon City, Philippines. During those port visits, Strike Group Sailors participated in more than 40 COMREL projects.

"These projects help the people in the cities we visit to understand the Navy's role in building and strengthening partnerships throughout the Asia-Pacific region," Said Lt. j.g. Cole Yoos, a chaplain aboard George Washington. "They offer an incredible opportunity to tangibly give back to the people who provide a beautiful and inviting welcome to our Sailors."

This patrol also facilitated the change of command for Commander, Task Force 70, bidding farewell to Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery and welcoming Rear Adm. Alexander. The ship welcomed a new executive officer and command master chief and will soon hold a change of command for Capt. Greg Fenton, George Washington's commanding officer.

"This is my last patrol as George Washington's commanding officer," said Fenton. "It has been an honor serving among some of the best Sailors in the Navy and I couldn't be more proud of the way the crew performed during the 2014 patrol."

George Washington will undergo a planned maintenance period for material condition upkeep to maintain mission readiness. Aligning with the holiday season this return affords Sailors with time to spend with loved ones.

"As we return to Japan, it's important to be with family and friends," said Alexander. "We are a long way from home, so during our time in port, it's important that we share it with people that are important to us and be thankful for all the good things in our lives."

GWCSG provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

US, Polish Forecasters Share Weather Knowledge

By Lt. Coriandre Johnson, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command Public Affairs

KAPAUN AIR STATION, Germany (NNS) -- Forecasters from Fleet Weather Center Aviation Detachment (FWCAD) Kapaun, Germany, co-located with the U.S. Air Force's 21st Operational Weather Squadron (OWS), shared weather forecasting knowledge with two counterparts from the Polish armed forces last week.

The joint meteorological workshop provided U.S. and Polish participants with cross-training in tactics, techniques and procedures used by all services. The Polish meteorological and oceanographic forecasting officers, second lieutenants Monika Kaczanowska and Daniel Kowalczyk, received a condensed version of the command's certification training course and hands-on experience with weather equipment and systems.

"We appreciate the opportunity to be here, because not many weather soldiers of our rank get to travel abroad and learn like this," said Kowalczyk.

The forecasters exchanged strategies that not only broadened their knowledge base, but supports continued partnership with NATO counterparts.

"Working with the Polish forecasters was definitely a great experience," said Aerographer's Mate 1st Class Timothy Spears. "It's interesting to see the similarities and differences within the same field. We were able to compare ways [of] doing the same job and I think everyone gained something from it."

FWCAD works jointly with the 21st OWS to provide weather support to installations and aviation units operating within the United States European Command, United States Africa Command and United States Central Command area of responsibilities. Together, the commands are responsible for producing and disseminating mission planning and execution weather analyses, terminal aerodrome forecasts, and resource protection for forces operating at 491 DoD installations, encompassing 92 countries.