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Wolf Pack weather flight forecasts for safety

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Sadie Colbert
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Kunsan’s strategic location in the Indo-Pacific region provides an edge over our adversaries and enables a quick response to threats. However, with that comes unique weather challenges that can threaten the safety of personnel and assets.

To prepare for and work with the forces of nature, the 8th Operations Support Squadron weather flight regularly provides accurate weather readings and advises the 8th Fighter Wing on safety hazards for both aircraft and residents.

“We're dealing with a different type of tropical weather here,” said Staff Sgt. Reza Guia, 8th OSS weather forecaster. “I had to attend an additional course just to be stationed at Kunsan.”

At most, the team will forecast five days out, but to ensure maintenance and operations planners can adjust their flight paths or tactics to short-term weather changes, they provide 30-hour weather updates to Kunsan’s operational agencies.

The flight works with models and satellite radars to better understand weather patterns and accurately predict weather visibility, temperatures and windspeeds.

“Most weather conditions are severe while in flight, so we must be careful with our readings, ensuring we provide as much information as possible,” said Senior Airman Patrick Bell, 8th OSS weather forecaster. “Whatever the weather is like down here, it’s always worse up there for the jets and can become a big risk for our pilots.”

Bell said relating the most important information is crucial to advising and protecting assets, describing how icing down on the taxiway happens exponentially faster the higher in elevation the F-16 Fighting Falcons go.

“The worst-case scenario would be a loss of life due to a bad weather reading,” Bell said.

Not only do they provide information that can affect flying, but they also advise on weather conditions like heavy snowfall, damaging winds and more that can affect base operations. From there, the installation commander can activate road conditions or shut down the installation for safety.

“Our job is important because we indirectly protect the base and the people within it,” Guia said.

While their job, just like the weather, can be crazy and unpredictable, the one constant each member noted was the feeling of acing a weather prediction.

“It’s so satisfying when your forecasts are right,” Bell said. “It validates that our schooling and hard work paid off.”