12 AF (AFSOUTH) leadership visits 557 WW
By Staff Sgt. Rachelle Blake, Senior Airman Rachel Hammes, 55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 04, 2016
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- The vice commander of 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) visited the 557th Weather Wing recently to learn more about its mission and team members.
Col. Jay Bickley' s tour included learning about unique units like the 2nd Systems Operations Squadron, the 16th Weather Squadron, 2nd Weather Squadron and the 1st Weather Group.
"It's been an amazing visit," Bickley said. "You don't understand the full scope of what they do here in the weather wing until you actually have a chance to be here and see the amazing capabilities, and how the wing supports us globally."
He made it a point at each stop to hear from the personnel make up the Air Force's only weather wing.
"In my time in the Air Force, it always rejuvenates me to be able to go and talk to our Airmen," Bickley said. "Three years ago, many of them were high school students, and they're now doing things that are pivotal to our Air Force's success. The quality of our Airmen always amazes me."
Senior Airman Amanda Otto, 2nd WS, spoke with the colonel about what her mission at the Space Weather Flight encompasses.
"I am grateful to have had the chance to tell my flight's story," Otto said. "Being able to interact with leadership like Col. Bickley reminds me of the difference my flight continues to make on a daily basis. Knowing what the weather wing provides will allow leadership, like the vice-commander, to use our knowledge and products to protect their unit's assets."
After visiting several different units, Col. Bickley was able to see what part weather plays in the Air Force.
"Weather impacts everything," he said. "All of our operations - whether they're flying operations or not - are impacted by weather. Information from the weather wing helped senior leaders keep people safe during the recent snowstorm on the east coast. Having professional weather forecasters who can pass that information to our senior leaders, who can then make the right decisions in a timely manner - that saves lives."
The colonel was left with a new appreciation for weather and the personnel working at the wing were left with a new appreciation for leadership, he said.
"There are numerous benefits to leadership spending time with Airmen," Otto said. "Those in leadership have the opportunity to inspire and mentor those who will be taking over leadership roles one day. Airmen have the opportunity to share what they do with pride, which can allow for increased job satisfaction."