Weather Forecast goes oceanic
Watching the morning news and catching the weather is as routine as drinking a cup of coffee. Sunny with mild temperatures is desirable, but what about forecasting the ocean? While it may not be important to people back home, for members of Combine Joint Task Force â? Horn of Africa, it directly affects missions within the region.
To collect this information, the 81st Expeditionary Rescue Squadron partnered with U.S. Navy Sailors assigned to the meteorology oceanographic section to deploy three ocean sensors from an HC-130P Combat King, Sept. 2, 2013.
The sensors, known as Apex profiling floats, gather data on subsurface currents, temperatures, acoustics and salinity which provide underwater forecasts.
"It's all very valid information. We need to know what our oceans are doing," said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Rachel Martin, the CJTF-HOA METOC officer, who assisted the aircrew with the drop.
This data support anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, anti-piracy, mine warfare, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, oil spill monitoring and optimum ship tracking.
"If a ship goes adrift, we can tell where they're going, how fast, and how long," said Martin on how the data aid search and rescue efforts.
"I grew up in Pensacola, and my dad was in the Navy. It's great to be involved in something with multiple services," said Master Sgt. Brian McAfee, an 81st ERQS loadmaster.
The deployment of the floats was a success, as well as the joint partnership.
"The squadron made everything from the cargo loading to deployment a seamless endeavor. Witnessing the release and descent was satisfying," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Bradley Dromazos, METOC chief, who witnessed the drop for the first time.
The day ended with a sense of accomplishment from both services, McAfee said.
"All of this data comes directly back to us to help determine, for example, the location of a survivor we may be searching for. It's wonderful to be a part of something bigger than the squadron," he said.
"When something like this comes along with real-world results, it validates all the training we've been doing," McAfee said.