AFWA re-designated as 557th Weather Wing
By Staff Sgt. Rachelle Blake, 55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 31, 2015
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- The Air Force Weather Agency became the 557th Weather Wing in a re-designation ceremony March 27 at the Lt. Gen. Thomas S. Moorman building.
"This is a momentous occasion; we are about to close a chapter in weather history and start a new one," said Ralph Stoffler, U.S. Air Force acting director of weather, who spoke at the event. "What you are seeing here today is not just a name change, but a fundamental philosophy change of how the weather community is doing business ... I want to make sure that everyone in this organization knows, whether you have the weather badge or a communications badge or a supply badge, that you have done phenomenal work."
While still AFWA, the agency was considered a Field Operating Agency. As a wing, they will now fall under Air Combat Command and the 12th Air Force.
"Weather is critical to the mission," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Nowland, 12th AF commander. "The reason this wing is being dedicated back into an operational realm is because threats are only increasing. The accuracy, the precision, the synchronization and the decision capability weather provides is not going to change. What it will provide is a joining together of eight other wings, 53,000 Airmen and 661 airplanes."
We are the only Air Force in the world who does what we do and you are the only wing in the world who brings it all together to support and enable those world-wide operations, he added.
The change, although an Air Force organizational decision, gave the wing an opportunity to showcase their rich heritage within the armed forces. This became evident while deciding the numeric portion of their title.
"It was noted that the year of the Army Air Force's weather wing stand-up, 1943, added to 17, the same year as the establishment of the Weather Service within the Army Signal Corps, 1917," said U.S. Air Force Col. David Bacot, 557th WW vice commander. "Five fifty-seven was a wing number available to AFWA and also summed to 17."
The 557th WW will be responsible for all operational weather support for the Air Force and Army, making them home to nearly 80 percent of all weather forces.
Structurally, not much will change. They will still house the 1st and 2d Weather Groups and their respective squadrons. The main difference will be the addition of the 17th, 21st, and 28th Operational Weather Squadrons to the 1st WXG, increasing their size by approximately 400 personnel.
Another modification will be the Latin verbiage on the bottom of their shield. It will now read "Coelum Ad Prelium Elige," meaning "Choose the weather for battle."
"There is so much pride that I have with everyone in this room and this organization," said U.S. Air Force Col. William Carle, 557th WW commander. "Last year, I professed my confidence in the Airmen in this organization. We knew we had this challenge to reorganize and be more operations focused. Today is the culmination of all of that hard work, dedication and perseverance. I am blown away. Thank you very much for what you have done. I am truly humbled and honored to be your commander."