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    METOC: The Weather People

    METOC: The Weather People

    Photo By Cpl. Nelson Duenas | Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Japan- Lance Cpl. Betsaida Hernandez uses a handheld...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Nelson Duenas 

    Marine Corps Installations Pacific

    Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Japan- Typhoons, thunderstorms and even ice are just a few of the many dangers in Okinawa that can affect pilots and ground elements. It is the job of meteorology and oceanography analyst forecasters to predict these chaotic forces of nature and keep their fellow Marines safe.
    "It's a demanding job, you have to be intelligent," said Sgt. Jacob Hoyle a METOC analyst forecaster with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. "There is lot of science that goes into it and a lot of training, both in the school house and once you hit the fleet."
    METOC Marines with MCAS Futenma, focus their forecasting specifically for pilots and their crews: They have to take everything into account from prevailing visibility and wind direction to thermal columns and storms.
    "Lighting is capable of putting that bird down," said Cpl. Cecilia Gutierrez a METOC analyst forecaster with the squadron. "There is a lot things that could take down a bird down like icing and severe turbulence, if they can't maintain proper control of the aircraft they could go down."
    METOC Marines are out on the flight line every hour checking the direction and speed of the wind. Every six hours, they write a forecast based on an automated surface observing system and several websites that provide satellite images. All in an effort to keep their pilots and crews safe and informed.
    "Being in this environment definitely helps you learn how to deal with stress and to rely on others," said Lance Cpl. Betsaida Hernandez, a meteorological observer in training to be a METOC analyst forecaster, with Marine Air Control Squadron 4, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. "It might be hard but you do them anyways because it's important."
    Before pilots even step foot in their aircraft, METOC Marines give them an in depth brief of the weather on their flight path.
    "If you forecast wrong, you are putting people's lives at risk," said Hernandez.
    The Marines are expected to be 97 percent accurate in all their forecasts, anything less and it's considered a failure and results in negative paperwork.
    "If I don't forecast correctly, my job is on the line and I'm going under investigation because I did not do my job up to par," Gutierrez quietly said, "If we miss a forecast Marines can die."



    Date Taken: 08.08.2017
    Date Posted: 08.13.2017 21:25
    Story ID: 244374
    Location: FUTENMA, OKINAWA, JP 
    Hometown: CHERRYVILLE, NC, US
    Hometown: LANCASTER, CA, US
    Hometown: LINDON, UT, US

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