NEWS | Nov. 28, 2018

Kaneohe Bay Marine Stands Watch at Joint Typhoon Warning Center

By Lt. Caitlin M. Fine Joint Typhoon Warning Center Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- Cpl. Dylan Bejer, originally assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Kaneohe Bay Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) Platoon, has been working at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) for the past several months to support the 24-hour manned watchfloor. Cpl. Bejer has been qualifying to stand the geophysical technician (GT) position, which is usually stood by the Navy aerographer’s mate rating.

In October, the commanding officer of MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Lt. Col. Nathaniel Baker, toured JTWC to see Cpl. Bejer in action standing the GT watch. “This is a trade that benefits both commands,” said Baker. “Cpl. Bejer is filling a critical operational watch position at JTWC, and he is getting training that is not available elsewhere that he can bring back and share with his platoon.”

Geophysical technicians evaluate the development potential of areas of thunderstorms, called “invests,” draw streamlines of surface winds to identify circulations, look up nearby surface observations and trends close to “invest” areas, and enter numerical model data into a program for the typhoon duty officer forecaster to use. Additionally, GTs assist the command duty officer with tsunami response and disseminating information for earthquakes that have the potential to generate a tsunami.

The training pipeline at JTWC involves several weeks of classroom training in tropical meteorology, which the basic training offered to Navy and Marine Corps meteorology specialties does not cover in detail, as well as training in fluid dynamics, climatology, and bases and assets in JTWC’s area of responsibility. The trainees then shadow the qualified watchstanders on the watchfloor.

“Cpl. Bejer did a fantastic job of picking up on JTWC’s unique mission, becoming a part of the team, and contributing to the 24/7 watchfloor,” said the JTWC Operations Officer Lt. David Price.

JTWC (Task Element 80.7.7.1) is jointly staffed by U.S. Navy and Air Force personnel and falls under the operational control of Commander, Task Group 80.7/Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command via Fleet Weather Center San Diego (Task Unit 80.7.7). U.S. Air Force personnel are administratively assigned to the 17th Operational Weather Squadron, a subordinate squadron of the 1st Weather Group and the 557th Weather Wing.

JTWC provides tropical cyclone reconnaissance, forecast, warning and decision support services for operational advantage to U.S. government agencies operating in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Navy personnel at JTWC also provide tsunami advisory information and recommendations to shore installations and units, as well as impact forecasts for U.S. Pacific Fleet’s airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and decision support services to U.S. Pacific Command and its subordinate commands.