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Ensuring The Safe Flight of KC-135 Stratotankers and More
by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Taylor Bourgeous - April 23, 2015

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FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. - What do a flight planner, a weather forecaster and a computer tech have in common? Probably more than you think. It's clear they all need each other in order to do their jobs and, ultimately, ensure the safe flight of Fairchild's KC-135 Stratotankers but that's not all.

Timothy Scheidt, a 92nd Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster, Glen Forward, a 92nd OSS flight planner and Ralph Homan, a 92nd OSS software support representative, at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash on March 25, 2015. The three men have worked together for the last 13 years and have learned that without each other it would be nearly impossible to get the mission done ... ensuring the safe flight of KC-135 Stratotankers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor Bourgeous)
Timothy Scheidt, a 92nd Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster, Glen Forward, a 92nd OSS flight planner and Ralph Homan, a 92nd OSS software support representative, at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash on March 25, 2015. The three men have worked together for the last 13 years and have learned that without each other it would be nearly impossible to get the mission done ... ensuring the safe flight of KC-135 Stratotankers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor Bourgeous)

Glen Forward, a 92nd Operations Support Squadron flight planner, Timothy Scheidt, a 92nd OSS weather forecaster, and Ralph Homan, a 92nd OSS software support representative, who all have completely different jobs, have found some uncanny commonalities as well as needs for each other's specialties that draw them together personally and professionally.

As a flight planner, Forward makes charts for the flight crews and determines what they need from take-off until they land. Everything he does depends on the weather, a fact he's learned well over the last 35 years.

Scheidt tracks weather for the aircraft's take-off and landing times and provides weather support to the rescue flight as well as the wing staff agencies. Without the computer support, he could not get his job done, and in turn could not provide the data Forward needs.

“We also highly depend on Ralph [Homan] to keep our computers and programs up-to-date,” said Forward.

As the self-proclaimed “computer guy,” Homan prepares all of the map database updates and planning updates that happen inside the computer.

“Glen [Forward] uses all the applications and the data that I push,” Homan said.

In addition to the closeness of their mutually dependent jobs, the three men also have an interesting connection related to their birth dates. The three men were all born in the first week of February on sequential days as well as sequential years.

During the last 13 years, the three men have shared birthday celebrations and have worked together to get the mission done. But this is not all they have in common. They all retired from the U.S. Air Force at the same rank.

Forward started out as a KC-135 Stratotanker boom operator. During his last three years of active duty, Forward said, “I also had the privilege to be a flight planner.”

He retired at 20 years as a master sergeant and has been working as a civilian flight planner for the last 14 years.

Scheidt said, “I've been a weather guy since I joined the Air Force.”

He was on active duty for 21 years as a weather forecaster before retiring as a master sergeant and has been a civilian weather forecaster for 14 years.

For the first part of Homan's career he was a crew chief on fighter aircraft, then crosstrained and became a helicopter flight engineer. He was on active duty for 24 years before also retiring as a master sergeant.

“The experience I had as a flight engineer gave me a lot of exposure to the mission planning software,” said Homan. Once retired, he started his new job as a software support representative immediately and has been doing it for the last 13 years.

These three men who share so much in common personally, and work together professionally, rely on each other to successfully complete their respective missions and subsequently, the Air Force mission.

By U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Taylor Bourgeous
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2015

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