Airmen learn to weather missions with Cadre Focus

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Armando A. Schwier-Morales
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The blue skies over Eastern Europe are only disturbed by a few clouds and black Apache attack helicopters racing ahead of military vehicles and Soldiers. Behind them, a battery of artillery and an Army general who ordered the operation after a weather Airman forecasted sunshine and clear skies.

To provide real-time weather intelligence for Army operations in Europe, the 7th Weather Squadron -- the unit in which the Airman is assigned -- honed their skills at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, Sept. 14-18 during Cadre Focus 2015.

"This week was important because we took Airmen, who are weather forecasters stationed with the Army, and trained them on tools and techniques for supporting our Army customers and supporting our allies and missions in Eastern Europe," said 1st Lt. Sean Miller, the 7th WS education and training chief.

For more than 10 years, Cadre Focus has prepared Airmen to deploy to remote locations such as mountainous and desert terrain in the Middle East. With drawdowns and a recent increase in deployments to Eastern Europe, the squadron reworked some of its training.

"This year we rebooted Cadre Focus all the way to the ground level and rebuilt it around Eastern Europe and Operation Atlantic Resolve, (an operation) we are engaged in right now," said Lt. Col. Geoffrey Dawson, the 7th WS commander.

Dawson said the curriculum of this year’s Cadre Focus had been adjusted to concentrate on issues seen and lessons learned from the field, such as not having enough weather data to forecast and having little knowledge of the country's terrain where they’re operating.

More than 30 Airmen from around Europe learned and developed land navigation, tactical movements, formations, basic weather forecasting, iridium phones, laser range finders, proper mission/weather briefing, and other forecasting challenges for Europe.

"We do (a lot) of the Army weather support mission," Dawson said. "Everything we are doing here is helping us improve and get better so that we can provide better actionable information to our Army partners."

The 7th WS supports one of U.S. Army Europe's biggest missions: Operation Atlantic Resolve.

"As Operation Atlantic Resolve grows, we are adapting and growing with it, and we are poised to make a difference," Dawson said. "Cadre Focus is totally geared around what we are doing now, which is making a difference from the Baltic States all the way down through the Black Sea."

Whether Airmen forecast in Romania or Latvia, Cadre Focus 2015 enabled them to test the squadron's ability to adapt and overcome new challenges. Future iterations of the exercise will be improved, military leaders said, and are scheduled to be held twice a year, adding more tools and training to Europe's only battlefield weather Airmen.