Weather Airmen enable Black Hawk medical evacuation

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Robert Cabuco,
  • 154th Wing Public Affairs - Hawaii Air National Guard

DILLINGHAM AIRFIELD, Hawaii – The chaotic nature of weather can impact any military operation. Thankfully, the relationship between Hawaii National Guard’s weather Airmen and medical Soldiers makes it possible to perform lifesaving operations through aeromedical evacuations, which was validated during training exercises near Kaena Point March 4.

The Hawaii Army National Guard’s 126th and 189th Aviation Regiments, 1st and 3rd Battalions, medevac team rely on weather forecasts from Hawaii Air National Guard’s 199th Weather Flight to complete their mission.

Army pilots flew three HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters configured for medical evacuation during the training exercise. They were aided by the forecasts of Air Force weather professionals and their instruments.

“We’ve set up the TMQ-53 for the Army,” said Senior Airman Alec Lagalog, a staff weather officer for the 199th WF, “to provide five-day weather forecasts and mission execution forecasts for our pilots and to inform them of any weather impacts to the mission.”

The TMQ-53 Tactical Meteorological Observing System collects weather data, including wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, cloud height, precipitation and lightning. The data can be produced in remote and austere locations to provide tactical field reports to pilots for the mission.

“We are out here to provide weather forecast while the Army is getting certified on their aeromedical evacuation training,” said Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Jenkins, 199th WF. “We are also here to complete our own annual weather certification.”

The 199th WF’s primary mission is to deliver mission-critical weather information to the Army Guard. 

The unit was originally part of the Army Air Corps Weather Service and supported the original Army Signal Corps. It later became one of the four foundational units of the Hawaii Air National Guard and was federally recognized on Aug. 3, 1946.

Today, due to COVID restrictions, there were few opportunities for both units to maintain readiness through regularly scheduled joint training. The exercise provided this opportunity to maintain their certifications and develop lasting relationships between the Army and Air branches of the Hawaii National Guard.