DVIDS – News – Thunder Challenge 2022: What Combat Weather Airmen bring to the fight


1st Combat Weather Squadron hosted this year’s International Combat Weather Competition: Thunder Challenge at Joint Base Lewis McChord Washington from August 1-3, 2022. This competition was inspired by the Tactical Air Control Group Lighting Challenge and tailored to suit the combat weather specialty. Thunder Challenge invited eight US Air Force combat weather teams to be tested on their unit type code tasks, physical abilities, and mental resilience; while challenging himself to be the best weather officer on staff.

“We have combat weather squads around the world that need to be on the same page; in this competition, they can collaborate with each other in a tactical environment to develop and enhance their capabilities for the Army, said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Adam Demarco, 1st CWS commander.

US Air Force combat weather forecasters work directly for the Army with the primary task of integrating environmental and weather support into Army aviation units and brigade combat teams. These combat weather aviators must be proficient in both weather forecasting and ground combat skill.

“What sets combat weather aviators apart from other weather aviators is that they have to know how to fit in and understand the military, and what its commanders and decision makers are concerned about,” the captain said. US Air Force John Schaub, Thunder Challenge. Coordinator 2022, 1st CWS. “They want to know how the weather affects ground operations, whether vehicles and convoys can move to certain locations, whether ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) assets can see and most importantly how all of these factors will affect what the enemy wants to do. ”

The three-day event featured 12 challenges ranging from obstacle courses and marksmanship to assembling tactical weather gear and land navigation. Combat weather is a minority specialty within the Air Force weather career field, making this event crucial to building the expertise and capabilities of those who attend.

“The ability to interact with SWOs around the world is what I was looking forward to the most,” said US Air Force Tech. sergeant. Nathan Johnson, NCO in charge of Thunder Challenge 2022, 1st CWS. “There aren’t many people in the Air Force who just go out and support the military, we’re one of the few career fields that do, and any chance we have of meeting someone in this career field and talking about our shared experiences are amazing.

This year’s winning team was 1 CFS, Detachment 3 from Fort Wainwright, Alaska. The team of three outperformed the other squadrons in the combat obstacle course, Indo-Pacific-focused weather forecasting challenge, and rescue skills, ultimately securing their victory. Next year the event is scheduled to be held in Fort Bragg, North Carolina by the 18th CWS.

“We were able to pull off this event thanks to the creativity, teamwork and team spirit of our Airmen and it was a huge success; we are excited to show what weather personnel bring to the fight,” Demarco said.

Date taken: 08.10.2022
Date posted: 08.10.2022 17:00
Story ID: 426980

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