The 17th Operational Weather Squadron (OWS), Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, is one of eight regionally located weather squadrons that, together, provide worldwide operational weather support and resource protection to critical Air Force, Army and Joint military operations and installations. Professional meteorologists and weather technicians operate the squadron around the clock ensuring continuous monitoring of terrestrial and space weather activity. 17th OWS was activated Oct. 12, 2000, and aligned under the 613th Support Group, Headquarters 13th Air Force, Oct. 6, 2006.
The mission of the 17th OWS is to provide:
· Regional and operational-level weather information to U.S. Air Force combat weather teams in support of Department of Defense contingencies and exercises in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.
· Operational-level air and space weather support to Pacific Air Forces; 13th AF (including the 613th Air and Space Operations Center); Commanding General, Headquarters US Army Pacific; Headquarters, Air Forces Korea; 15th Airlift Wing and Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.
· 24/7 tropical cyclone warning support for a 110-million square mile area from the west coast of the Americas to the east coast of Asia and Africa as the USAF component of the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). JTWC acts as COMPACAF's executive agent responsible for Tropical Cyclone Reconnaissance in the USPACOM AOR.
· The capability, when tasked, to assume the responsibilities and duties of Combined/Joint Meteorological and Oceanographic Forecast Center and produce the theater's official Joint Operations Area Forecast during execution of OPLAN, CONPLAN, humanitarian and contingency operations and exercises.
· Training to upgrade new 3-level Initial Skills Course graduates to 5-levels.
17th OWS consists of more than 115 military and civilian personnel. Squadron personnel use the latest technology, including Doppler radar, weather satellites and supercomputer models to monitor and forecast changing conditions across the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The 17th OWS serves as the central hub for PACAF weather operations, excluding the Alaskan region.
17th OWS is organized into five sections. The majority of the squadron is located on Hickam AFB and includes four flights: Training, Regional Operations, Contingency Operations and Systems. The squadron also has one section performing the Combat Weather Team function supporting 15th Airlift Wing and another that acts as Staff Weather Officer for Headquarters, U.S. Army Pacific. The remaining section works in the Joint Typhoon Warning Center co-located with the Naval Maritime Forecast Center at Makalapa Compound, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The squadron was activated as the 17th Weather Squadron Sept. 18, 1942, at McClellan Field, Calif. The unit relocated to Auckland, New Zealand, where it was assigned to U.S. Army Forces in the South Pacific Area. In January 1943, the 17th relocated to Noumea, New Caledonia. It was reassigned to 13th Air Force on July 1, 1943, but returned to the control of U.S. Army Forces in the South Pacific Area on Dec. 20, 1943. The squadron was assigned to Army Air Forces, Pacific Ocean Area, on Aug. 1, 1944, and then was reassigned to the 1st Provisional Weather Group on Sept. 4. In November 1944, the 17th moved to Hickam Field, Hawaii, where it was inactivated on Feb. 10, 1945. The 17th was activated again on Jan. 15, 1970, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., as part of the 7th Weather Wing, and was inactivated again on June 30, 1972. The squadron was again activated on April 1, 1980, at Travis AFB, Calif., and then inactivated on Sept. 30, 1991, as part of the divestiture of Air Weather Service. The 17th was redesignated as the 17th Operational Weather Squadron on Oct. 12, 2000, and activated Oct. 27, 2000, at Hickam AFB where it was assigned to the 502nd Air Operations Group. The 20th OWS, Yokota AB, Japan, merged with the 17th OWS on Apr. 15, 2006 and assumed complete weather responsibilities for Japan and Korea. The 17th OWS was reassigned to the Kenney Headquarters (Provisional) Support Group June 1, 2005, and realigned under the 613th Support Group upon its activation Oct. 6, 2006.
Current as of October 2006