OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --
The commander of the Republic of Korea Air Force Weather Wing visited the 557th Weather Wing headquarters June 20, 2019.
The ROK-US weather collaboration meeting, held between Col. Gyun Do Ki, ROKAF WW commander, and Col. Brian Pukall, 557th WW commander, is traditionally held every two years after the respective wings have a change in command.
“Ever since I commissioned as a Weather Officer in ROKAF, I always aspired to come visit here,” said Ki. “After 30 years of service, my lifelong dream finally came true. I sincerely appreciate your hospitality.”
The mission of the 557th WW, the Air Force’s only weather wing, is to maximize America’s power through the exploitation of timely, accurate and relevant weather information; anytime, everywhere.
The purpose of the engagement was to coordinate areas in which the 557th WW and ROKAF WW can deepen interoperability. Main topics focused on furthering cooperation as well as increasing data sharing with a key ally in the future to enhance the readiness of both air forces.
“These bilateral visits between the U. S. Air Force and ROKAF Weather Wing leaders have been ongoing for some time,” Pukall said. “I was proud to represent the U.S. in this latest iteration and work closely with our Korean partners in order to expand a key and enduring alliance in the Indo-Pacific Area of Operation.
“It was also a great honor to meet Col. Ki. He’s a forward-thinking leader, whose vision is to bring the future faster in terms of ROKAF capabilities.”
Ki expressed interest in the 557th WW’s space weather mission, as the ROKAF WW plans to stand up a space weather squadron.
The American/Korean weather partnership has a long history. While visiting the American Forces Network Weather Center, which provides daily weather forecasts for AFN as well as Stars and Stripes, Ki mentioned that he had fond memories from his childhood watching forecasts broadcast on AFN’s predecessor, the Armed Forces Korea Network.
The visit ended in the 557th WW’s museum. Ki noticed the memorial plaque that remembers Air Force Weather casualties of war.
“The names of the fallen warriors from WWII on this monument reminds me of those who perished during the Korean War and their names engraved at The Korean War Veterans Memorial,” Ki said. “It is also a reminder of the importance of weather operations and crucial ROK-US alliance.”