YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) - Sailors from Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka's (CFAY) Naval Oceanography and Anti-Submarine Warfare Center (NOAC) are supporting Operation Tomodachi by keeping a watchful eye on weather conditions to help ensure safety of those responding.
The Sailors assigned to NOAC monitor and forecast weather and atmospheric conditions with Doppler radar and a number of various other tools and computer models. They use these tools to measure and determine wind speed and direction, sea height, pressure and temperature, as well as many other environmental factors, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"We have many missions here at NOAC," said Lt. Cmdr. Andrea O'Neill, NOAC operations officer. "One of our main missions is to provide meteorological support to CFAY and Commander Fleet Activities Sasebo (CFAS), and as noted throughout history, meteorological support has played and continues to play a huge role in and outside of maritime safety."
Without the crucial information provided by NOAC, ships throughout the 7th Fleet area of responsibility would have a lack of meteorological guidance and may be affected by dynamic weather conditions, such as thunderstorms and destructive winds. To provide this guidance, NOAC watch standers must be able to quickly collect and pass information to any Navy asset operating in their area of responsibility.
"At all times, we have to be able to send information in 10 minutes or less to any ship in the area," said Aerographer's Mate 2nd Class (AW) Stella Swartz, NOAC forecast duty officer.
While tracking and relaying information on wind directions and speed to keep U.S. forces and the Japan Self-Defense Force out of radiation exposed areas may seem extremely stressful, one Navy forecaster attains a feeling of fulfillment from his job.
"The last few weeks have been long and seemingly never-ending, but even over the last couple of days we have been overcome with a real sense of fulfillment," said Aerographer's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Travis Muth, NOAC forecast duty officer. "We may not be seen a lot by our fellow Sailors, but it feels really good knowing we're helping out so much."
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