Retired master sergeant weathers new career
By Staff Sgt. Nathan Gallahan , 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 13, 2006
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. (AFPN) -- He stood talking to himself; passersby may have thought it was a strange scene. But he was just responding to the voices in his head.
“Sure. Will do. OK, now? What was that?” he said as he breathed in deeply. “How does that look? Is that OK? Here we go.
“Well I hope you packed your sunglasses because we’ll be having some beautiful weather today,” the man said intently as the image of a bright sun floated on a transposed map on a nearby monitor.
He pointed at nothing other than a spot on a blank field of vibrant green. He smiled from ear to ear, not in response to a funny joke – but to hundreds of thousands of people hidden within the glass of an unmanned television camera.
“This is Dave Law, meteorologist on Comcast digital channel 115, here at Weather Plus with new weather updates 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week,” the retired master sergeant said.
He used to say, “Good morning commanders, there is an upcoming weather front approaching Fairchild …,” but that was over two months ago, before he made some life-changing decisions.
“When you get to that point in your career when it’s time to retire you just know it,” the former Air Force meteorologist said. “You just know it’s that time to turn over the organization you’ve dedicated your life to, to the next generation of upcoming Airmen.”
He spent 23 years on active duty, the last four at Fairchild as the NCO in charge of the 92nd Operation Support Squadron weather flight.
He didn’t enlist to be a meteorologist; he signed papers with “open general” stamped on them. He found his path of life printed on a piece of paper handed to him in basic training.
Six assignments later, he landed at Fairchild, managing his own weather flight and briefing wing leadership on upcoming weather activity.
“During those briefings, I found Dave to be extremely professional and his delivery was perfect,” said Lt. Col. Joe Hunt, inspector general, 92nd Air Refueling Wing. “I told him then that he would make a great TV weatherman. He’s a perfect marriage of job knowledge and personality.”
Mr. Law depended on that experience and personality the first day of auditions. Walking into the studio he had 15 minutes of tutorials on how to control his weather slides with the remote and a brief breakdown of the equipment before the staff thrust him in front of the camera for his first weather audition.
“I was nervous,” the Washington state native said. “It’s a lot different talking to a live audience than talking to a television camera and pointing at a green screen.”
The audition must have gone well – because he was broadcasting the real deal in less than two weeks.
Too bad he didn’t get a chance to see his first appearance, including all of the practical jokes and jesting, until almost a month later.
“Behind the broadcast tables they lowered my seat all the way while they raised theirs. I knew something was up when they started teasing me about being short – on-air, live,” he said. “But it all adds to the great working environment; it really is a great group of people.”
Mr. Law taped his first broadcast but didn’t see it until he was visiting his family in Tacoma, Wash.
“My whole family was tickled to see me on-air, it was a great experience,” he said.
Although he has extended family in Tacoma, his only immediate family is his dog, Mojo.
“I leave the television on for him everyday, and I swear when I get home he’s a lot calmer and more relaxed now than when I was in the Air Force,” he said. “I think it’s because he sees me on television and knows I’m around.”
The career change has also worked out for Mojo in other ways; Mr. Law is working fewer hours, which means more hours home with him.
“I get to walk him everyday now,” he said. “I’m turning into quite the family man.”