PHITSANULOK, Kingdom of Thailand -- With the spice brown lettering on their uniforms and their unique shoulder patches, it is easy to pick out the members of the U.S. Air Force’s 1st Weather Squadron Detachment 2 among the hundreds of Soldiers on Camp Akathotsarot during Exercise Cobra Gold 2020, Kingdom of Thailand.
However, Senior Airman Logan John and Airman 1st Class Benjamin Daniels are not your typical Airmen. They are Air Force weather forecasters serving as staff weather officers to the U.S. Army’s 25th Combat Aviation Regiment, stationed at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii.
“We support [medical evacuations] and all Black Hawk missions,” John said. “They need us to be quick with our forecasts to tell them when and where they are able to go so that they can get there quickly and provide aid.”
Daniels said he first heard about the opportunity to serve alongside the Army while being recruited into the military and was eager for the experience, despite the cultural differences between the services.
“When I first learned I could be chosen to go to Army support locations, I was excited,” he said. “It provides opportunities to go to more bases, more travel opportunities, and a lot of good training through the Army.”
Despite being members of the U.S. Air Force, both Airmen live and work alongside their Army counterparts both here in Thailand and back in Hawaii.
“It’s a really cool experience to be out here with the Army and travel around Thailand with them,” Daniels said. “It’s definitely a different experience, but I’ve loved every second of it.”
Though they still support aerial operations, the difference in mission sets between the Army and Air Force requires a new way of approaching the same tasks.
“You come out here and it’s like a whole new job,” John said. “We’re dealing with helicopters instead of planes.”
When John’s time embedding with the Army comes to an end, he knows that his assignment will have taught him valuable lessons about the military.
“It has really shown me how important joint integration is and has helped me understand how the Army is set up,” he says. “It’ll definitely help me going forward and I’d definitely be open to going to another Army support location. I always joke that I joined the Air Force and ended up in the Army.”
Being a couple of only a handful of Airmen on the base has led to the Airmen having a very strong sense of camaraderie.
“I’m really happy to be out here with my best bud,” he said. “It couldn’t have worked out better with who I came out with.”
Exercise Cobra Gold, in its 39th iteration, is designed to advance regional security and ensure effective responses to regional crises by bringing together a robust multinational force addressing shared goals and security commitments in the Indo-Pacific.