Special Operations Weather Team (SOWT) specialists are tactical observer/forecasters with ground combat capabilities and fall under the Air Force Special Tactics within the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). The mission of a Special Operations Weather Team is to deploy by the most feasible means available into combat and non-permissive environments to collect and interpret meteorological data and provide air and ground forces commanders with timely, accurate intelligence. They collect data, assist mission planning, generate accurate and mission-tailored target and route forecasts in support of global special operations, conduct special weather reconnaissance and train foreign national forces. SOWTs provide vital intelligence and deploy with joint air and ground forces in support of direct action, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, humanitarian assistance, special reconnaissance, austere airfield, and combat search and rescue.
Special Operations Weathermen are U.S. Air Force meteorologists with unique training to operate in hostile or denied territory. They gather, assess, and interpret weather and environmental intelligence from forward deployed locations, working primarily with Air Force and Army Special Operations Forces. SOWTs can also be attached to Marine MARSOC and Navy SEAL teams. They collect weather, ocean, river, snow and terrain intelligence, assist mission planning, generate accurate mission-tailored target and route forecasts in support of global special operations and train joint force members and coalition partners to take and communicate limited weather observations. They operate on 2-3 man Environmental Reconnaissance Teams (ERT). ERT’s are attached to 8-9 man Special Tactics Teams (STT) alongside Combat Control (CCT) and Pararescue (PJ) personnel. Together they provide SOCOM a unique capability to establish and control austere airfields in permissive and non-permissive environments. Additionally, Special Operations Weathermen conduct special reconnaissance, fly small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS), collect upper air data, organize, establish and maintain weather data reporting networks, determine host nation meteorological capabilities and train foreign national forces. Every Special Operations Forces mission is planned using the intelligence and coordination of special operations weathermen.