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Midshipmen visit 15th OWS to learn Midwest weather

United States Naval Academy Midshipmen pose for a group photo with staff from the 15th Operational Weather Squadron at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, May 11, 2019. Midshipmen visit the 15th OWS annually to learn about convective storms, which can cause hazardous weather such as tornadoes, hail, lightning and heavy rain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Austin Durila)

United States Naval Academy Midshipmen pose for a group photo with staff from the 15th Operational Weather Squadron at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, May 11, 2019. Midshipmen visit the 15th OWS annually to learn about convective storms, which can cause hazardous weather such as tornadoes, hail, lightning and heavy rain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Austin Durila)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy visited the 15th Operational Weather Squadron May 11, 2019, to learn about severe weather and its effects on aviation.

An example of cross service partnership, the annual visit allows future naval officers the opportunity to learn about weather phenomena from weather Airmen with real world experience and to discover the similarities and differences between the Air Force and Navy meteorology missions.

“We enjoyed our visit to the 15th OWS and appreciated the hospitality,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Burich, a professor at the USNA. “The Midshipmen who end up flying for the Navy gained insight into the importance of accurate and timely weather information to flight operations and an appreciation for the work that goes into producing it.”

Cadets studying at the U.S. service academies will often visit military installations or perform internships during summer break to become familiar with the military and gain experience in their future career fields.

Located at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, the 15th OWS is one of six operational weather squadrons around the world. The 15th OWS provides weather operations support for the Northeastern United States, Eastern Canada and part of the Arctic Circle, including the North Pole.

The Midshipmen will eventually become commissioned officers, working in the meteorology and oceanography career field, in addition to other science and technology fields.

The visit to the Midwest and Great Plains region focuses on the study of severe convective storms, which can produce destructive severe weather such as tornadoes, hail, lightning and heavy rain. Their visit to the 15th OWS allowed them to understand the OWS’ operations rhythm, operational forecasting requirements and challenges. The springtime visit provides ample opportunity to examine the storms.

The 15th OWS is well-suited for education as a number of first term weather Airmen begin their careers at Scott AFB under the squadron’s training flight.

The Midshipmen also visited the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, which receives backup coverage from the 15th OWS.

"I particularly enjoyed learning about their (15th OWS) collaboration with the SPC and how they train to take on that responsibility if the SPC goes down," said Midshipman Tyler Bradley.