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    23rd SOWS Detachment 1: ‘Every mission is a no-fail mission’

    23rd SOWS Detachment 1: ‘Every mission is a no-fail mission’

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Amanda Flower | U.S. Air Force Airmen with 23rd Special Operations Weather Squadron, Detachment 1,...... read more read more



    Story by Senior Airman Amanda Flower 

    1st Special Operations Wing


    “People’s lives are constantly on the line.”

    For Airmen assigned to the 23rd Special Operations Weather Squadron, Detachment 1, every mission is a no-fail mission, according to Maj. Katheryn Bryant, Detachment 1 commander.

    Located at Hurlburt Field, the 23rd SOWS is responsible for providing detailed weather tracking and forecasts.

    Detachment 1 is a subordinate unit of the 23rd SOWS, based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. There, Airmen work directly with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, providing support for short-notice missions that often take place at night, with aircraft flying at high speeds and in low-level conditions.

    “The pressure on your forecast to be right is a little bit higher here,” said Bryant. “If we’re wrong, it’s a big deal.”

    Typically, weather Airmen are responsible for forecasting flights that take place at 20,000 feet or above. Due to operational requirements, Airmen attached to Detachment 1 are responsible for forecasting at areas 2,000 feet and lower. The aircraft on Fort Campbell are primarily rotary-wing aircraft, aside from the MQ-1 Predator. Forecasting within lower levels requires more precision due to impacts from terrains and rapidly evolving microscale features.

    Detachment 1 Airmen remain involved for the entirety of the flight to ensure aircrew are able to safely and efficiently complete their missions.

    Staff Sgt. Tyler Zeller, a Detachment 1 parachutist, noted that missing even the slightest detail could endanger the lives of the crews they work with.

    “We are dedicated to being an asset as multi-capable Airmen,” Zeller said, adding that Airmen with Detachment 1 must be very deliberate and detail oriented when exploiting weather forecasts.

    Zeller noted that the Airmen with Detachment 1 are held to a higher standard due to the sensitive nature of the missions the 160th SOAR conducts.

    Airmen attached to Detachment 1 are also airborne parachutists. By jumping with a Forward Arming and Refueling Point (FARP) team Airmen with Detachment 1 are able to assist in refueling aircraft, establishing security and providing real time conditions and limited data forecasts.

    “In the plane, I close my eyes and try to visualize every sequence of events - from initial calls to getting to the follow-on objectives,” Zeller said. “With static line jumps, there is less time to deal with malfunctions due to low exit altitude.”

    And while they face unique challenges when compared to weather Airmen across the Air Force, Detachment 1 Airmen would agree that it’s a rewarding job.

    “We know that we are valued, and that goes a long way,” Bryant said. “They want a forecaster with them for everything, and it’s a good feeling that they value you that much.”



    Date Taken: 11.21.2022
    Date Posted: 11.30.2022 11:16
    Story ID: 433693

    Web Views: 664
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