Today in Pacific Spotlight, Stripes talks with Navy Airman Paul Ventura, a weather forecaster assistant at Atsugi Naval Air Facility in Japan:

Did you choose this work or did the Navy choose it for you?

When I was in San Jose MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) … I chose to be an aerographers mate because it was the closest rate that would let me go to boot camp the soonest. I just wanted to get boot camp over with.

How did you train for the job?

Our “A” school was at Biloxi, Miss. I went to school with Air Force and Marine weather people. It was interesting working with the different branches of the military.

You’re assigned to the Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Detachment at Atsugi Naval Air Facility in Japan. What’s your job in the detachment?

Basically, the forecaster’s assistant. The forecasters do most of the weather portion of the job. The techs … help create the products that the pilots need to fly and do other services for the Japanese weather people and their pilots.

Is Pacific weather easy to forecast?

The weather here is very hard to predict. The weather could be nice and sunny during the day but by the afternoon, we’d be sending thunderstorm advisories or warnings.

How many umbrellas do you own?

Just one.

Since you began this work, have you ever been caught in the rain?

Yes, but I used my one and only umbrella.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I like the people who I work with. Even though I may be at the bottom of the ranks, everyone treats me like a friend. It’s like that with everybody here. Since we are such a small command, we are like family.

What’s most challenging?

For me at least, the varying schedules. We switch working days and nights because we are 24 hours now. It’s kind of hard for me to get a regular sleeping pattern. Other than that, everything is cake.

How accurate are most civilian weather forecasts?

Civilian forecasts are accurate, but I think we forecast better. Civilians can be wrong 50 percent of the time and won’t get in trouble. We can’t be wrong because we are taking care of our pilots and their passengers.

What weather do you dislike/fear the most?

I don’t fear any weather. I actually like watching the typhoons develop over the Pacific Ocean and watching their track.

Got a favorite stateside TV weatherman?

Well, there is this one local weatherwoman. … I waited to watch her forecast for what the day was so I’d know what to wear for school.

What do you hope is next for you?

I hope I could make third class petty officer. I’m eligible to take the test this coming March.

Weatherwise, describe a perfect day.

I miss my hometown’s weather, blue skies with a light sea breeze. I’m from Vallejo, Calif. … This coming Christmas might be my first white Christmas. It doesn’t snow where I live. I really hope it snows here.

Navy Airman Paul Ventura

Age: 19

Title: Weather forecaster’s assistant

Pacific readers: Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Call Sharen Johnson at Stars and Stripes with the person’s name and contact information at DSN 229-3305 or e-mail her at

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