200th Weather Flight supports Army Guard aviators at Fort A.P. Hill

Airmen from the Sandston-based 200th Weather Flight provide weather support to aviators and Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment at Fort A.P. Hill, March 21-23, 2014. The 200th WF provided pre-flight briefs, meteorology watch, and daily planning weather throughout the drill period. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Meghan Skrepenski, Virginia Air National Guard Public Affairs)

Airmen from the Sandston-based 200th Weather Flight provide weather support to aviators and Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment at Fort A.P. Hill, March 21-23, 2014. The 200th WF provided pre-flight briefs, meteorology watch, and daily planning weather throughout the drill period. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Meghan Skrepenski, Virginia Air National Guard Public Affairs)

FORT A. P. HILL, Va. — Airmen from the Sandston-based 200th Weather Flight provided weather support to aviators and Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment at Fort A.P. Hill, March 21-23, 2014. Seven Airmen from the 200th WF provided pre-flight briefs, meteorology watch, and daily planning weather throughout the drill period.

The Airmen operated out of two locations at Fort A.P. Hill, the training operations center and the range operations center, said 2nd Lt. James K. Carpenter, the officer in charge of the 200th WF at A.P. Hill. Maintaining clear communications between the two locations and the aviators proved the biggest challenge, said Carpenter.

The Airmen provided daily mission execution forecasts, pilot update briefs and operational reporting both in person and over the radio, from those two locations.

“Our focus was on integrating with the customer and providing aviation weather support throughout the whole weekend,” said Carpenter.

The main purpose of the training was to provide the Airmen the opportunity to interact with the aviators, giving them guidance for flight weather and any issues that they might face throughout their training period. As the weather was dry and windy, fire was a very real problem that eventually shut down the range for the evening, after weapons qualifications were performed throughout the daytime hours, said Carpenter.

Central Virginia, including Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline County was under a National Weather Service fire threat “Red Flag Warning” throughout Friday and Saturday until rain diminished the threat mid-morning on Sunday.

Airman 1st Class Aaron Bousquet recently returned from technical school training, and this was his first weekend training with the 2-224th.

“It’s nice to see the work that we are doing applied immediately, and the necessity of up-to-date information provided for the mission becomes very relevant,” said Bousquet. “I enjoyed working with the aviators and enjoyed utilizing the new skills I learned.”

“Although I have trained with aviation throughout my on-the-job training, this is my first real opportunity to work with the people we will be serving,” said Bousquet. Our primary purpose is to support the Army aviators and it was nice to do that, said Bousquet.

“We have federal and commonwealth missions to provide weather support to military decision-makers and aviators,” said Chief Master Sgt. Stephen R. Gamache, 200th WF superintendent. “A joint field training exercise like this weekend allows our personnel to train to these mission sets and interact directly with customers in their operational environment. Our integration was complete for this exercise as we shared operational work sites, open-bay billets and the chow hall with the aviation customer. My team found the close interaction extremely valuable and educational.”

The 200th WF used a hand-held Kestrel 4500 to assess low-level wind speeds, while also providing visual monitoring and computer monitoring using a Tactical Command Package, or TAC-PAC, which offers the capability to monitor websites providing radar, wind speeds, cloud cover, lightning and precipitation. While downrange, forecasters employed their Portable Meteorological Observing System or PMOS kit, which is a manual version of their garrison weather system located in Sandston, Va.

Photos: 200th Weather Flight supports 2-224th Aviation Regiment at Fort A.P. Hill
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157642783352113/

Related posts: