JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.— --
Airmen from the 1st Weather Squadron earned bragging rights after recently being named by the Air Force as the most outstanding weather squadron for 2016.
“I was ecstatic for the Airmen here in the squadron,” said Lt. Col. Troy Kirk, 1st Weather Squadron commander. “You don’t always see the fruit of your labor and we work really hard here at the 1st Weather Squadron. This award is just a combination of all the hard work, dedication and awesomeness that the Airmen do every day.”
The Air Force Weather Squadron of the Year award recognizes a weather organization each year for excellent support to 0our Nation’s defense.
According to Kirk, this was the squadrons first time winning this award.
“I believe this is the squadrons first time winning this award,” said Kirk. “This award is a hard one to get because there is a lot of awesome weather squadrons throughout the Air Force. We have six detachments in operating locations across the Pacific; Japan, Alaska, and Hawaii. We are all doing great things, so to win is just a great achievement and recognition for our squadron.”
Kirk said that he knew the squadron accomplished a lot of great things the past year, so he wrote the AF form 1206 and submitted it to the major command.
The 1st Weather Squadron earned top honors for its continued support to JBLM’s 1st Corps and its mission.
The squadron is globally engaged; 121 Airmen were deployed in search of 54 contingency and training operations, while deployed, they executed more than 2,000 man days and were awarded 10 Army decorations.
They also oversaw 1st Corps Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise weather support. 1st WS Airmen tailored 207 briefings in search of Republic of Korea operations plans and trained 450 joint forces personnel.
The squadron also guided 30-day support during Exercise Rim of the Pacific, the world’s largest biennial maritime exercise conducted out of Hawaii, ultimately strengthening the alliance with 27 joint partners.
“We provide support for the 1st Corps staff whenever they deploy on real world humanitarian disaster relief missions,” said Capt. Nick Prosinski, 1st Corps Weather Team officer in charge. “We do annual exercises with both joint and coalition partners as well as support bi-lateral exercises.”
Also, throughout the year, the squadron provided weather support during a joint United States/Australian exercise. During this exercise the squadron developed 38 updates, supported 200 aircraft, enabled joint capabilities, resulting in 33,000 troops certified.
Additionally, the 1st Weather Squadron was the lead support squadron of the US Army Pacific Pathways. While supporting the USARPAC, 11 Airmen spread across eight nations trained 20,000 allied personnel.
Finally, the 1st WS drove the Denali rescue mission. During the rescue mission, Airmen from the squadron identified a six-hour execution window amongst four days of severe weather, saving six lives.
Kirk said these are good times for his squadron.
"Winning this award speaks volumes about the type of Airmen we have working here,” said Kirk. “We do a lot of good work here. We are supporting the Army in every exercise that they do and our hard work was validated with this award.”