Board of Dir.
Serving the Present... Remembering the Past...
Air Force Weather
25 YEARS AGO
The Air Force approved transferring the
weather reconnaissance and residual aerial sampling missions to the Aerospace
Rescue and Recovery Service on 18 June 1975 and the transfer was made
on 1 September 1975 ending over 33 continuous years of organized weather
reconnaissance in the AWS. The
transfer reduced AWS by a wing, three squadrons, 27 aircraft and 845 manpower
spaces (about 11 percent of total AWS authorizations).
AWS weather reconnaissance officers and dropsonde operators continued
to fly on ARRS weather reconnaissance missions to gather and report weather
With evacuation of Americans from Laos in late May 1975, over 13 years of involvement by U.S. military forces in combat in Southeast Asia (SEA) concluded. Last weather squadron in SEA (10WS at Nakhon Phanom AB, Thailand) inactivated 30 September 1975; last AWS unit (Det 30, 1WW at U-Tapao, RTNAS) inactivated 7 June 1976.
On 1 July 1975, the first of five AN/FMQ-7 solar optical telescopes planned for AWS became operational at Palehua, Hawaii.
Also in 1975, AFGWC was reassigned from 6WW to HQ AWS, USAFETAC assigned to AFGWC, and USAFETAC moved from Washington, DC to Scott AFB, IL.
50 YEARS AGO
Korean war begins: The
war began on 25 June 1950 when the North Korean army, crossed the 38th
parallel and invaded South Korea. The United States immediately responded
by sending supplies to Korea, and it quickly broadened its commitment
in the conflict. On June 27 the UN Security Council, with the Soviet Union
voluntarily absent, passed a U.S.-sponsored resolution calling for military
sanctions against North Korea. Three days later, U.S. President Harry
S. Truman ordered combat forces stationed in Japan deployed to Korea.
American forces, those of South Korea, and, ultimately, combat contingents
from Australia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, France,
Britain, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South
Africa, Thailand, and Turkey, with medical units from Denmark, India,
and Sweden, were placed under a unified UN command headed by the U.S.
commander in chief in the Far East, General Douglas MacArthur. The participating
ground forces of these nations, the United States, and South Korea were
grouped in the U.S. Eighth Army. The action was unique because neither
the UN nor its predecessor, the League of Nations, had ever used military
measures to repel an aggressor. (From "Korean War," Microsoft® Encarta®
AWS history ”Our Heritage 1937-1987” – Within 24 hours of the North Korean invasion, an
AWS RB-29 was flown on a weather reconnaissance mission over Korea, and
within 48 hours a weather detachment was airlifted from Japan to Taegu
and began furnishing weather information to United Nations forces. (The
last AWS station had been withdrawn from Seoul in September 1949 when
U.S. forces evacuated Korea)
On 13 July, AWS RB-29 piloted by 1st Lt Fred R. Spies (later awarded 1st oak leaf cluster to the DFC for that and two other B-29 strikes) led first B-29 strike against targets in North Korea.
AWS suffered its first casualty of the Korean war on
3 September. 1st Lt David H. Grisham assigned to the 20th WS, was
staff weather officer to the 18th Fighter Bomber Group and he also qualified
as a F-51 pilot. He flew
45 combat missions over Korea. On
his 46th, an F-51 mission from Japan to Korea, he was reported missing
On 8 September, Capt Charles R. Cloniger, 514th Reconnaissance
Squadron (VLR) Weather of AWS’ 2143rd Air Weather Wing at Andersen
AFB, Guam was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for continuing and
completing a typhoon reconnaissance mission in a heavily-loaded WB-29
with one engine feathered. Determination
of the typhoon’s position and intensity was vital to U.S. forces
then conducting loading operations at Kobe, Japan, in preparation for
the Inchon invasion. It was
believed to be the first DFC in AWS for such missions.
The year 1950 also saw the first use of dropsondes by AWS RB-29s
in hurricanes; formal flight following and met-watch advisory service
being inaugurated in AWS; and, Fletcher’s Ice Island (as subsequently named in honor
of AWS Lt Col Joseph O. Fletcher) was discovered in the Arctic Ocean by
an AWS RB-29 weather reconnaissance crew.
100 YEARS AGO at the turn of the last Century
The average life expectancy in the US was forty-seven.
Only 14 Percent of the homes in the US had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.
There were only 8,000 cars in the US, 144 miles of paved roads and the
maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
The average wage in the US was 22 cents an hour. The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
The American flag had 45 stars.
Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn't been admitted
to the Union.
* The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30. The remote desert community was inhabited by only a handful of ranchers and their families. There are more folks there now – let’s join them in September for AWA REUNION 2000!