200th Weather Flight cuts ribbon on new home facility
By Mr. Mike Vrabel, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs
/ Published January 10, 2019
SANDSTON, Va. -- The Virginia Air National Guard’s Sandston-based 200th Weather Flight, 192nd Wing, and its team of forecasters officially have a new home after a ribbon cutting ceremony Jan. 4, 2019 in Sandston, Virginia.
The 200th, which provides detailed weather forecasts and analysis for the VNG’s air and ground operations, is moving into the new facility after several years of operating out of a trailer. The new building provides more space and storage for the team of 20 enlisted forecasters and three officers. According to the 200th’s commander, Lt. Col. Joseph Ingram, that extra storage space is one of the key things that will make the team’s new home more useful.
“All of our equipment and all of the things we take out to the field have been stored away in bins across the airfield for the last six years, essentially,” said Ingram. “The ability to have all of our equipment here, in this building, is going to be a huge force multiplier for us.”
Brig. Gen. James Ring, VNG director of the joint staff, spoke to weather flight staff and gusts during the ceremony, and thanked Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, for his efforts getting the approximately 5,400-square foot facility built, design of which began in 2016.
“What a tremendous day we are celebrating,” said Ring. “We have been very, very fortunate within the last couple of years under some great leadership from Maj. Gen. Williams to see monumental improvements to our facilities across our Virginia Army and Air National Guard joint force.”
Ring also touted the Weather Flight’s past accomplishments and highlighted the important role they play in all VNG operations.
“The men and women of the 200th Weather Flight, since being stood up back in the 80’s, really stand on the spearpoint edge of the great things that make the Virginia National Guard,” said Ring. “The importance of having real-time weather is absolutely invaluable.”
Ingram said another important element the new facility will make possible is proximity to the units they serve most, especially the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, 29th Infantry Division.
This will bring us closer to our customer,” said Ingram. “Our main customer is the 224th. They will be co-located eventually right next to us. We’ll be able to have more face time, and interact with them more on a daily basis. That will increase our efficiency getting our products to our customers.”
The facility was built under the supervision of the 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers Squadron and the 192 Wing’s Contracting Office. Master Sgt. Chad Hagen was the contracting officer for the project, dealing with any issues that arose during planning and construction. The 203rd RED HORSE helped with environmental requirements and responsibilities during construction, and conducted programming and design reviews.
After the ceremony, guests and flight leadership gathered outside of the new facility for the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon, followed by a reception.
The 200th Weather Flight provides trained and ready weather experts to assist any federal or state-level mission. The team has had several members deploy in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in the last year. They also provided weather support during Hurricane Florence in 2018.