Military News

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

U.S., South Korean Weather Forecasters Partner to Provide Better Products

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Franklin Ramos, 51st Fighter Wing

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea, Oct. 10, 2017 — The 51st Operations Support Squadron Weather Flight based here provides weather warnings and five-day forecasts preparing  the troops for any weather situation.

Accurate weather forecasting is integral in assisting the flying units with weather information specific to each mission.

Providing Better Weather Forecasts

Therefore, American and South Korean air force weather observers stationed here work together to provide better forecasts to the base.

"We work side by side with a South Korea air force observer that goes out with us during observations, and we both agree on an observation," said Air Force Capt. Steven Gardner, 51st OSS Weather Flight commander. "Since we're only here for a year or so, it's nice to have the South Koreans as partners. They've lived here their whole lives and know the weather for the local area. By using both our tools and equipment we can combine all that information to make a better forecast than if we were doing it by ourselves."

A change in weather can quickly cause a change in plans, Gardner said.

"Weather impacts everything, to include all military operations and intelligence, that help leaders make the final decision on mission execution," he said. "So, being the focal point for all weather allows us to better inform and help prepare the base."

Working with the South Korean forecasters reduces the time it takes to formulate forecasts, said Air Force Master Sgt. Omar Nurse, 51st OSS Weather Flight chief.

"Working with the Koreans is very advantageous for us," Nurse said. "It allows us to provide a single site picture for decision-makers to use. Instead of having multiple forecasting, you now have one between the U.S. and South Korean air forces that helps them come to a decision quicker."

'One Team, One Forecast'

The main goal for the American and South Korean weather personnel is to be "One Team, One Forecast," Gardner said.

"Meaning, we are one team working together to make the best forecast to benefit the fight," he added.

Working together helps to strengthen the U.S.-South Korean alliance, ensuring its members are prepared for challenges they may face, Gardner said.
"Better environmental intelligence leads to a distinctive advantage on the battlefield," he said.

Face of Defense: Army Helicopter Pilot Teaches New Generation of Aviators

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois, 633rd Air Base Wing

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Oct. 10, 2017 — “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
From a young age, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Bill Basabilbaso, U.S. Army Reserve 5th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, 244th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade command chief warrant officer, knew he wanted to be a pilot.

From a young age, Army Reserve Chief Warrant Officer 5 Bill Basabilbaso, 5th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, 244th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade knew he wanted to be a helicopter pilot.

Basabilbaso came to the U.S. with his family from Argentina at age 8. Today, after 32 years of military service, he relies on experiences and lessons from those who inspired him to teach the new generation of CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilots here at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

In 1978, Basabilbaso joined the U.S. Navy, spending the latter part of his three-year enlistment on an aircraft carrier. After six years in the civilian sector, in 1987, he decided to apply to the U.S. Army warrant officer flight training program -- a childhood dream.

In 1989, Basabilbaso graduated flight school and was appointed as a warrant officer in 1991.

‘There’s Nothing Else I Would Rather Do’

“There’s nothing else I would rather do,” Basabilbaso said. “My role models were the Vietnam-era warrant officers who taught me how to fly. As a young pilot and officer, they were who I looked up to.”

Upon flying countless missions in places ranging from France to Iraq, his passion nurtured a desire to train as an instructor pilot.

As a reservist, he trains pilots here during the week as a member of the Fort Eustis Air Safety Institute, and he also trains pilots during drill weekends.

Basabilbaso helps hone new pilots’ skills to ensure the safety and security of aviators and crews.

“The hardest part is having to constantly study because things never remain the same,” Basabilbaso said. “Manipulating the controls is the easy part -- anyone can be taught to do that. Studying, constant learning, good judgement and experience are what make you a pilot. We need to keep inspiring young, agile minds to be the next generation.”

According to his students, the vital information the veteran pilot imparts to them could be the difference between life and death. He consistently reminds his apprentices to stay 10 steps ahead of the game while in the cockpit to anticipate changes or handle emergencies.

Emphasis on Safety

“He is all about the Army regulations,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Smith, Bravo Company, 5th General Support Aviation Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment flight engineer. “He places emphasis on safety while teaching new pilots to hone their skills as aviators.”

Having flown with the instructor pilot since 2003, Smith said new pilots who progress through Basabilbaso’s training graduate as well-versed Chinook aviators.

“The love of flying keeps him coming to work every day,” Smith said. “Where else can you get paid to do something that you have such a passion for? I think he falls into that mold pretty well.”

Each flight Basabilbaso conducts provides him with a different mix of emotions, depending on his surroundings and the mission at hand. But no matter what, he said he is always overcome with excitement while piloting an aircraft.

The once young boy from Argentina with a dream of flying found his place in a nation that allowed him to experience the world. Now he prides himself in protecting that nation, giving back to fellow countrymen who fueled his desire to serve.
“There’s nothing like flying in the U.S.,” Basabilbaso said. “The people you meet when stopping for fuel or at a temporary duty station are like no others; genuine Americans who never fail to thank us for what we do.”

California National Guard Mobilizes to Help Battle Massive Wildfires

By Steve Marshall National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 10, 2017 — Following an emergency declaration by California Gov. Jerry Brown, the state National Guard was mobilizing resources today to assist civil authorities in the battle against massive wildfires that have already killed 10 people.

Helicopters Dispatched

Today, when fires broke out and rapidly spread due to dry conditions, the California National Guard dispatched three medevac helicopters and 100 military police officers, National Guard Bureau officials said.

Wildfires Destroy Homes, Businesses

The fires, many in California's iconic Napa Valley wine country, have destroyed more than 1,500 homes and businesses, and there were reports that schools were reduced to ashes.
Several residents and visitors were forced to evacuate, some in the middle of the night, according to news reports.