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Yuma first test bed for new weather equipment

By Lance Cpl. Jakob Schulz | | December 2, 2010

The station’s weather department received the Marine Corps’ newest and only mobile meteorological vehicle Nov. 6, 2010, as the test bed before it hits the rest of the Corps. 

The Meteorological Mobile Facility Next Generation Replacement system consists of a humvee, trailer, two remote transmitters, one local transmitter, radar and the ability to tap into weather satellites throughout the globe.

The system is due to replace the old, static equipment allowing weather operations to better embrace the Corps’ constant quest toward more mobile warfare.

“Before, we were stuck in one place and needed a lot of logistical support to even move a few miles,” said Staff Sgt. John Gregson, station forecaster and one of the testers of the new equipment. “Now, if needed we can go to a forward position, set up and start broadcasting information in little over an hour.”

“It’s great technology,” said Sgt. Dustin Jones, station forecaster. “It allows us to connect to any remote transmitter in the world, so if there were any in Afghanistan right now we could connect to them from here and get meteorological information.”

In addition to its mobility, the system also provides more accurate forecast and more reliable data, said Jones.

The equipment takes six Marines to set up.

“You think about it and weather determines everything in combat,” said Gregson. “Troops don’t move without knowing if there’s going to be fog, aircraft don’t take off unless they know the conditions. What this piece of equipment is going to provide for commanders is a tool that they can base plans and future operations on.”

The new equipment is also proving to be user friendly, learning to use the system and software hasn’t taken station Marines long.

“Setting up the system and getting it going is really easy,” said Lance Cpl. Charles Eichler, station weather equipment maintainer. “None of us have ever used or seen the systems before, and we got it setup in three hours after we got it. It’s really effective, easy to use and a lot more comfortable than the old static module.”

The Marines are scheduled to keep the equipment for another six months, learn everything about it, write the standard operating procedures and display its capabilities for Headquarters Marine Corps approval.

“This equipment is the future for metrological studies and operations in the Corps,” said Eichler. “I’m just proud that I have the opportunity to shape the future and help my fellow Marines.”

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