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Serving the Present... Remembering the Past...
Air Force Weather


The Way We Were

When we first heard of AWA's Reunion for June of 98
We thought, well now, why not?  It really should be great
To see old friends of yesteryear from places near and far;
To probe the depths of Weather Service, and to find out how things are;
To enjoy conviviality and reminisce a lot
About the good days gone by, of which we've not forgot.
But -- I never, ever, thought we'd see the fateful day
When things we cherished would be doomed to fade away;
When our beloved Air Weather Service, of whom I proudly speak
Would be forced into oblivion by Merrill A. McPeak!
We realize, of course, that through the by-gone years
Changes have been made that must have caused some tears!
When I was in Observer School back in'42
Things were different then, well, I am telling you!
We had the World divided into massive Weather Regions;
Each Region had a Squadron to man its weather legions.
The commanders of the Squadrons had to wear two hats:
They were also RCOs* -- they were truly autocrats!
When I was commissioned back on D-Day '44,
That's the way things were when I went off to War.
We'd grown then, fast and furious, with units world-wide.
Our 18,000 Weather Men all did their part with pride.
And when the War was over, we kept going firm and strong,
Helping in the Airlift, and whatever came along--
Flying over boundless oceans, seeking out Typhoons;
Working in Tornado Alley, sending up balloons;
Seeding clouds, dispersing fog, and other derring-do;
Helping out the Army -- an important mission, too;
Korea, Southeast Asia, Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm --
Our Weather guys were always there, professionalism was our norm.
* Note: RCO -- Regional Control Officer.

We exploited new technology to help perform our mission.
We brought in blue-suit scientists with limitless ambition;
We programmed great computers to do our very will,
And probed the sun's phenomena with near uncanny skill.
We worked with weather satellites which looked down from the sky,
And sent back weather data for our computers to apply.
We centralized our talents and our capability,
To maximize our service and improve its quality.
We thus got Global Weather and its brother known as ETAC;
We've had them many years and hope we'll never give them back!

A major structure change took place in 1952;
You ask who was the guy that did it?  General Senter, that is who.
He organized Air Weather in a functional alignment,
Whereas before, you may recall, 'twas geographical assignment.
He organized Air Weather to support specific commands;
To know their operations and pay heed to their demands.
Basically, it worked like this:  3rd Wing supported SAC,
5th Wing had TAC and Army, 7th Wing supported MAC,
The 6th supported Log Command and AFSC,
The 4th Wing wasn't formed yet, but later on helped ADC.
The 1st supported PACAF and the 2nd, USAFE.
The 9th flew Weather Recce and they did it with esprit.
We had that early basic framework for over forty years;
And we know it will endure no more, or so it now appears.

I actually joined Air Weather Service back in '44;
And I've known all chiefs of Weather since the Second World War --
Don Yates and Oscar Senter, Tommy Moorman, and then came Pete;
A little stint by Harold Bassett, and then a Pete repeat.
Roy Nelson, Russell Pierce, and then of course, Bill Best;
Tom Aldrich and John Collens, also passed the test.
Next came Berry W. Rowe; and A.J. Kaehn did fine;
George E. Chapman and John J. Kelly continued with the line!
Then Kelly went to Air Staff up in Washington,
While Frederick stayed behind to be Air Weather's number one.
He was followed by Frank Misciasci, and then came Joe Dushan;
The wrap up man was John L. Hays, and no one else would carry on.

We've been briefed on what will happen now and we know in any case,
That memories of THE WAY WE WERE nothing can erase.

                                                               Dale J. Flinders
                                                               June 1998


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