Special Operations Combat Weathermen (Gray beret) are Air Force weather technicians trained to operate in hostile or denied territory. In addition to FID assignments, their mission is to collect, assess and interpret weather/meteorological data and environmental intelligence from forward locations in support of Special Operations Forces to help with mission planning, target and route forecasts and both tactical and strategic planning. They operate as Special Operations Weather Teams or attached to other SOF elements.
“…air commandos played a major role in the airdrop of…paratroopers from the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade into northern Iraq…To make it happen, AFSOC covertly inserted a combat weatherman into the area several days before the operation. “He was there working the weather aspects for the drop,” Wooley said. “That area is notorious for sandstorms that could have could have adversely affected visibility.”
A sandstorm at the wrong time could have jeopardized the entire mission, Wooley said. “Everybody knew it was dicey,” he said. “It was only a couple of hours before the drop that the combat weatherman was able to convince the commander of the operation that the weather would be sufficient. The weather cleared up half an hour before drop time.”
Combat weathermen are forecasters who work in forward ground-combat areas. They gather and interpret weather data while deployed primarily with Army special operations forces. The data is used to generate accurate forecasts for specific mission travel routes and target areas. Combat weathermen are recruited from the Air Force’s traditional weather career field, and then subjected to airborne, survival and special-tactics training...”
More Combat Weathermen Topics
- For further information, read Wars Taking Air Commandos Into Uncharted Territory
- See also Air Force Weather Oral History Project
- See also the Air Commando website