Aerographer’s Mates Celebrate 90 Years

By Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet
Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command

July 1, 2014, is the 90th birthday of the Aerographer’s Mate or AG rating, established for the Navy’s fledgling aviation enterprise to ensure the Navy had a dependable source of weather forecasting for aviation safety.

Formal instruction in aviation-related weather courses for the Navy was first taught by Alexander G. McAdie of Harvard University. McAdie coined the term “Aerographer,” so the name of the rating is a constant reminder of the rating’s roots. The rating, initially known only as “Aerographer,” became Aerographer’s Mate in 1942.

The rating has come a long way from the first seven-man AG class of 1925 to today’s technologically-savvy Sailors who forecast the entirety of the natural environment and analyze and predict the impacts of specific environmental conditions on platforms, weapons, sensors and operations.

The first class of aerographers to graduate from the Naval Aerological Class at NAS Anacostia, 1925. They were called "aerographers" until 1942 when they became aerographer's mates. (U.S. Navy photo)

The first class of aerographers to graduate from the Naval Aerological Class at NAS Anacostia, 1925. They were called “aerographers” until 1942 when they became aerographer’s mates. (U.S. Navy photo)

Aerographer's Mate Airman Howell Walls and Aerographer's Mate 2nd Class Andrew Weisgerber, both assigned to the Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center at Stennis Space Center, Miss., deploy an unmanned underwater vehicle to search for mines as part of a training exercise during the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 2013 in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility, May 18, 2013. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary Keen/Released)

Aerographer’s Mate Airman Howell Walls and Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class Andrew Weisgerber, both assigned to the Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center at Stennis Space Center, Miss., deploy an unmanned underwater vehicle to search for mines as part of a training exercise during the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 2013 in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility, May 18, 2013. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary Keen/Released)

Although AGs still forecast the weather for flight operations, they have added considerably to their operational portfolio over the last 90 years. We have AGs today deployed all over the globe engaged in operational meteorology, oceanographic and hydrographic operations. From the operation of small boats, expeditionary survey vehicles and Unmanned Underwater Vehicles to standing watch at a Fleet Weather Center, supporting a squadron or DESRON, or SPECWAR unit, Aerographer’s Mates meet and exceed all expectations on a daily basis.

Aerographer’s Mates are often referred to as “Weather Guessers” by those who don’t truly understand the scope of their capabilities, but those that do see them as the Navy’s Operational Scientists who work side by side with their officer and civilian counterparts to deliver predictive battle space awareness and give the Navy and nation the home field advantage at away games.

I couldn’t be more proud than to serve as the champion of the METOC community and privileged to lead such an exceptional team of professionals. Happy Birthday to the AG Rating!

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Aerographer’s Mates Celebrate 90 Years