COMACC checks the weather
CAMP BLANDING, Fla. -- Gen. William M. Fraser III, commander of Air Combat Command, (front right) speaks with two Air Force members about the ground combat training course before going through the training with them at Camp Blanding, Fla., Jan. 24. Many of the Airmen were excited to have the general train next to them. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Joshua Green)
by Airman 1st Class Joshua Green
23rd Wing Public Affairs
2/1/2011 - CAMP BLANDING, Fla. -- Gen. William M. Fraser III, Air Combat Command commander, recently got a taste of training operations for battlefield weather Airmen after visiting the Battlefield Weather Mission Qualification Training course at Camp Blanding.
This was the general's first visit since the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing created memorandum nearly a year ago that consolidated and standardized the training in one central location.
The ACC commander was given a tour of Camp Blanding and had an opportunity to interact with 18 battlefield weather students. General Fraser was given proper protective equipment so he could walk the course alongside those Airmen in training.
"We try and make the course as realistic as possible as if we're in a deployed location," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Edward Stokes, 211st Regiment, Regional Training Institute infantry instructor. "Putting individuals in stressed situations could help them deal with these situations downrange."
The course is designed to train battlefield weather Airmen to live and work alongside the Army and get ground combat training.
"The concept is to standardize the training received for Airmen who live, work and fight alongside the U.S. Army to help keep them mission ready," said Tech. Sgt. Joel Decker, 93rd AGOW NCO in charge of training.
Each BWMQT course trains 18 students per class, 13 classes each year, lasting 4 weeks. The instructors are a mix of Army and Air Force service members.
"This training is a once in a lifetime opportunity that is vital to our mission success and highly important," said Maj. Ken Burton, 18th Weather Squadron director of operations at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Although the instructors were from a different service, the battlefield weather Airmen feels as if they were one team.
"The cohesion between us and the Army instructors is amazing," said Staff Sgt. Ben Clark, 3rd Weather Squadron battlefield weather Airman at Fort Hood, Texas. "They greeted us with open arms and were eager to give us the hand-on training we needed."
After the yelling and simulated rounds stopped, the smoked cleared and it was safe to remove proper protective gear, General Fraser gave his finally thoughts on the training.
"This training is pertinent to all Airmen who deploy and integrate with Army units," he said. "It is highly important that we become assets, not liabilities."
Battlefield weather personnel gather and interpret weather data and provide intelligence from deployed locations while serving alongside the Army units they are aligned with.