The 45th Weather Squadron wins the Hammer of Thor!

  • Published
  • By Maureen Smith

The 45th Weather Squadron competed in and won the 7th Annual Thor’s Legions Forecast Challenge. The "Hammer of Thor" trophy was presented to team members on April 30, 2024, during the Annual Air Force Weather Conference at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

In this head-to-head competition, groups demonstrated how well they work together, as well as their savvy and expertise in weather prediction. This year’s competition featured 47 teams, from the Army, Air Force, and Space Force, totaling 253 forecasters from around the globe. The winning team named the best forecasters in the Department of the Air Force.

Teams crafted unique strategies for the complex scenarios put forward during this DAF level competition. The groups would play out various realistic environmental conditions during simulated military operations to demonstrate their agility under pressure, crucial in today's Great Power Competition.

The accuracy of weather prediction is crucial for various real-world operations, including survival in a storm, flight diversion, and mission success. The important task of weather forecasting is accomplished through the efforts of dedicated individuals and teams. It is at the core of mission planning.

"Accurately forecasting weather in unfamiliar locations is crucial," said U.S. Air Force Col. Kenneth Ferland, 45th Weather Squadron commander. "Forecast information helps leaders identify vulnerabilities that can be exploited to our advantage during real world operations."

“Our forecasters were able to discuss different perspectives for a given scenario, talk through disagreements, and collaborate to come up with a good plan” said Brian Cizek, 45th Weather Squadron launch weather officer. “This year, we had a diverse mix of people, variety of ideas, and everyone’s input, and contribution was respected and valued.”

During the competition, teams collected wind speed, temperature, cloud coverage, visibility, and other measurable elements to predict the weather for a specific location and time of day. They submitted an overall forecast and the one closest to actual conditions moved up the ladder to the next level of competition until one team was left standing. That team was the 45th Weather Squadron, (nicknamed the CAPE’d Crusaders).

"The level of commitment from everyone propelled our team to the top of the competition," noted Ferland. “As a leader, observing my people in action, seeing how focused and driven each member was to the goal was very exciting to watch.”

The all-star team from the 45th Weather Squadron set the pace, worked as a synchronized unit, and rose to the lead position to overtake and surpass all other groups.

“In meteorology, we use various forecasting models to predict weather, and in that regard, we believe teamwork will outperform an individual,” Cizek said. “It was our skilled ensemble of forecasters that brought home the win.”

The cohesiveness and superior skill demonstrated by team 45th Weather Squadron team members: U.S. Air Force Capt. Gregg McCambley, U.S. Air Force Capt. Adam Thaler, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Dana Petersen, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brandon Hough, Mr. Mike McAleenan, Mr. Tom Taylor, and Mr. Brian Cizek, brought home the mighty “Hammer of Thor” Trophy!