Story by LCpl Jaime Reyes on 08/26/2019Rain or shine you can depend on meteorology and oceanography analysist forecaster (METOC) Marines to keep you informed. Marines with Marine Air Control Squadron (MACS) 1, Marine Air Control Group (MACG) 38, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), are taking the next step in expeditionary meteorology and weather detection using the Meteorological Mobile Facility (Replacement) Next Generation (METMF(R) NEXGEN). This technology is helping forward deployed Marines track weather developments anywhere in the world.
Exercise Black Stratus was a two-part event held at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., from July 31 through Aug. 9, 2019 to help MACS-1 train and gain hands-on experience with the new meteorological facility. The six-day METMF(R) NEXGEN Regional Training Course helped students gain knowledge about the meteorological system as the first portion of the exercise. The second part consisted of field operation training where the students put what they learned to the test.
"No one on the West Coast has done a course where Marines train on the NEXGEN like this before, so I had to make a lot of these classes from scratch," said Sgt. Somart Pil, the lead instructor for Black Stratus. "I went through publications and any information I could find to make sure the students were getting the correct information."
Pil is one of the few Marines that has experience with the METMF(R) NEXGEN, making him invaluable as the lead instructor for the course.
Being the first iteration where Marines received hands-on experience with the METMF(R) NEXGEN, the instructors and students worked together to improve the course.
These efforts make exercises like Black Stratus more efficient and applicable for future students to gain experience, knowledge and enhance skills.
"Meteorology and oceanography is the study of weather and the ocean." said Pil, "it could range from ocean currents to wave heights. The weather aspect is anything from day-to-day weather and forecasting."
Meteorological and oceanography analyst forecasters focus on predicting weather conditions and their impact on friendly and enemy forces' strengths and weaknesses. Their analysis of atmospheric, space, climatic and hydrologic intelligence helps them make tactical recommendations to Marine Corps planners. Their role also serves to inform pilots of hazardous weather conditions. Having the capability to predict weather conditions days in advance, decreases risk for pilots and crew members and helps to ensure mission success.
Ensuring METOC Marines are proficient with new meteorological technology makes 3rd MAW ready to fight in any environment and terrain they may encounter in the future.