202nd WF Airman earns distinction down range

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Thomas Swanson
  • 102nd Intelligence Wing

OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- An Airman from the 102nd Intelligence Wing, 202nd Weather Flight was recognized recently for superior performance during his deployment to the Middle East in support of the 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade.

Tech. Sgt. Paul Pelletier was selected as the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve “Hero of the Week” by CJTF-OIR commander Lt. Gen. Pat White, and presented with the citation by 34th ECAB Aviation Weather Operations officer in charge, Lt. Col. Mark Wiley, on April 23, 2020.

Wiley explained that Pelletier is the lead for his team of weather specialists who supported a downed aircraft operation and two short-notice medical evacuations, among a number of other critical task force operations. He’s also responsible for providing battlefield weather intelligence to 36 helicopters and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft.  

“He’s an indispensable contributor to CJTF-OIR, our tactical operations center and the joint team,” said Wiley. 

A New Hampshire native, Pelletier joined the active-duty Air Force in 2011 and was initially stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona before moving to Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska. That’s where he began supporting the U.S. Army by providing leadership weather analysis and other relevant atmospheric data. 

Pelletier talked about his mission with the 202nd Weather Flight back home at Otis ANGB, Mass. compared to his new role in the Middle East.

“Our primary mission at Otis is to provide weather analysis and planning considerations for the 42 Infantry Division, the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the 3/126th General Support Aviation Battalion,” Pelletier said. 

“This typically takes the form of staff briefings, where we ensure that the unit is postured to mitigate weather concerns in order to safeguard lives and equipment. In an aviation unit like we're attached to now, we brief every flight that takes off so that the pilots are aware of any potential hazards.” 

Pelletier continued, “We also integrate into the operational planning process to ensure that combatant commanders are able to leverage weather effects to play to the strengths of friendly forces and ensure mission success.”

As far as the “Hero of the Week” award Pelletier said, “From my standpoint, there's not really much to say... I certainly wasn't expecting it.”

“The best thing I have going for me out here is my outstanding team,” Pellitier added. “I have Staff Sgt. Joshua Canarelli, also of the 202nd WF on Otis, and Staff Sgt. Jay Brody, from the 126th WF at Volk Field, Wis. They really deserve all the credit for the great support this team has given to Task Force Ragnar.”