Did you know the military has weather officers? They also have weather satellites (I know about these because my husbands last job was helping build them). The military has relied on the expertise (guess work) of weather officers. It played a crucial role on when they decided to jump into Normandy (WWII). Here is a modern days story from a weather officer in Afghanistan
Rank during deployment:
Where did you deploy to?
What was you or your team’s mission?
Army Weather Support
What was your job?
Officer In Charge of all Army Weather support (not Special Operation Forces) in Regional Command-East
Air Force Weather Officers perform, manage and direct weather operations that have a direct effect on the activities of U.S. military forces. These duties primarily involve integrating current and forecasted atmospheric and space weather conditions into operations and planning. –US Air Force Career Detail
What cultural differences do you remember between Afghanistan and the United States?
Besides the obvious clothing, language, etc. Seemed like the local national males would stare at foreign women (not just military but also contractors from Eastern Europe).
What landscape differences do you remember between Afghanistan and the United States?
Not a whole lot, mountains there are far more impressive than the Rockies but, mountains are mountains.
What was the hardest thing you faced with the cultural difference in Afghanistan?
Not really anything comes to mind, my job was to only interact with other coalition members (military and civilian).
As a female, do you remember being treated differently because of your sex, explain?
Yes but mostly for good reasons – shower trailer had a lock, people would get alarmed at the idea of me walking down the main road unaccompanied (in daylight, while armed, plenty of other people walking around).
I’m friendly to almost everyone by nature, but I think some men just want to talk to a woman every once in awhile so I would often get “chatted up” while at the dining facility or gym. But never in an inappropriate manner, just typical deployment small talk.
What challenges did you face?
Nothing sticks out. The biggest issue was with someone who I supervised writing inappropriate things in an online chat server (meant for work) to a young airman. so dealing with the discipline actions on that took a lot of time.
Morale was pretty low at one of the outer Forward Operating Bases because they kept getting rocket attacks and they were surprisingly pretty accurate. One guy even died at the Dining Facility so it was a sort of reality moment for them like, “Oh, that could have been me.” Working with them and trying to tell them it would be okay from 60 miles away at the big base where we hardly ever got attacked wasn’t really fair. I couldn’t relate to what they were going through. Myself and my supervisor decided it was important to start making more of an effort to visit them more regularly.
Did you have any regular frustrating situations or a frustrating situation you can share about?
The disciplinary issue above was pretty frustrating. Anytime you have poor leadership it is a very frustrating situation and especially frustrating when the person in place who is meant to check the leadership and keep them straight is not a good leader either.
What is the one thing you remember most from your deployment?
Coming home…first few days after leaving country (but still in transit) I remember thinking it felt weird not to have a weapon on me and I kept panicking because I thought I accidentally left it somewhere. While deployed you have to have your weapon with you at all time and if you ever lost it. Well, lets just say you never really wanted to find out what would happen.
It wasn’t about not feeling safe without it. It just felt like something was missing every once and a while. Once I was home and not in uniform it wasn’t an issue. But still randomly the first month I was home I would freak out for a moment and then realize where I was. Home, without a weapon.
Is there a memory or story from your deployment you want to share?
By some miracle my husband got deployed to the same spot for the same time-frame. The Air Force had just changed the rules to allow you to live with your spouse while deployed so I got to see him pretty much everyday unless he was out on a mission. He had to stay longer (Army) and so I actually didn’t even want to leave when it was time for me to go home.
What question do you get when people find out you deployed?
Where to? And did you get shot at or did you have to shoot anybody?
This is Day 30 of 31 Deployment Stories. Yay almost done. Here is a link to the whole series. Yesterday I shared what it is like to be an Air Battle Manager. Tomorrow I will end the series with a big thank you to everyone who shared their story, supported me on my journey and to all of those you who have read along.
*Name changed for privacy