In a series leading up to Veterans Day, D.B. Grady tells us about the five branches of the U.S. military. The first post contains interesting facts about the U.S. Air Force. For example, the Air Force has an elite commando force of weathermen who must be trained in not only meteorology, but flying, spying, combat, and endurance.
Before the Air Force sends squadrons of $150 million aircraft into areas, it likes to know what kind of environmental conditions are waiting for them. But the kinds of places where it sends such aircraft aren’t exactly friendly or hospitable to U.S. military operations. To gather meteorological and geological intelligence, the Air Force sends in Special Operations Weather Teams—commando forces with special training to read the environment and report back. To join such an elite fighting force, these men endure a punishing training pipeline that tests their mental and physical limits. The airmen who make it through earn the coveted gray beret and crest, and are trained to jump out of airplanes, climb mountains, snake through jungles, blow things up, and use small unit tactics in hostile territory.