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25th OWS celebrates 75th anniversary

  • Published
  • By Paul Shirk
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Surrounded by historic aircraft in the main hangar of the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tuscon, Arizona, the 25th Operational Weather Squadron celebrated its 75th anniversary Nov. 2, 2018.

Originally known as the 25th Weather Squadron, the unit provided weather support to Army and Army Air Corps units operating and training throughout the Northeastern U.S. from an office building on New York’s Long Island.

“Weather operations are as important to the success of our military now as they were then,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Maile, commander of the 25th OWS. “If they weren’t, if there was no value-added or relevancy in what we do, there is no way I’d be standing in front of you today talking about 75 years of history for just this one particular unit.”

Based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, the 25th OWS conducts weather operations for Department of Defense missions in the Western U.S. and throughout the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility. The 166-member squadron provides science-based, decision-quality weather products and resource protection to over 441,000 personnel and weapons systems valued at $141 billion at over 79 DoD sites and installations.

During the ceremony, Maile spoke about the importance of remembering one’s heritage.

“As individuals, each of us has our own unique heritage passed down through generations,” Maile said. “Just like people, organizations have the same links to the past. Recognizing and understanding our heritage is important. Our heritage gives us a sense of who we are and how we got to be where we are today.”

The squadron formed Nov. 1, 1943, as the nation was preparing for the invasion of Europe. It de-activated in September 1944, three months after D-Day.

After World War II, the 25th WS was re-activated and de-activated several times between 1948 and 1991, operating out of Robins AFB, Georgia; Donaldson AFB, South Carolina; Waco, Texas; and Bergstrom AFB, Texas.

12th Air Force took command of the squadron in 1957. During this time, 25th WS supported America’s first supersonic Air Force. This included the Century Series aircraft, such as the F-100, F-104 and F-105.

In the 1980s, the squadron supported the first F-117 wing, the Titan nuclear missile mission throughout the Western U.S. and the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

In 1991, the squadron was de-activated as Air Force Weather underwent a major reorganization. The 25th OWS stood up in its current form on April 1, 1999, at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.

Today, the 25th OWS is one of six operational weather squadrons belonging to the 1st Weather Group under the 557th Weather Wing. Each OWS specializes in forecasting for a specific part of the globe, but all can support each other if the need arises.