In 1993 while in the Air Force stationed at Fort Rucker, AL, I had a conversation on the phone with a former boss and mentor who shared a piece of technology news in the world of meteorology and she suggested I avail myself immediately. I researched this new technology, hemmed and hawed over jumping in to this particular technology because in the world of meteorology it was what I feared the most. Then I put on my big girl pants and approached my current boss with my desire to attend the brand new radar meteorology course at the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) in Norman, OK for the Doppler Weather Surveillance Radar (WSR-88D).
Stepping out like this was totally outside my comfort zone. Even more so because radar meteorology was the bane of my meteorology career up to that point. I feared the radar and I just did not get the concept of radar. However, I never let them see me sweat it, so my supervisor, without hesitation, submitted the paperwork necessary to send me to the NSSL and the civilian-based WSR-88D course where all National Weather Service and Air Force weather forecasters would attend the school.
Taking that course, being one of the earliest graduates of the program – I think I was in the third class – transformed my – understanding - of radar meteorology. Something finally clicked in my brain. I finally got it. Returning to my unit, and because I was the only person to have been trained, I became the program coordinator and trainer and certifier when our unit received the WSR-88D. When I changed duty stations, I would become the expert at radar meteorology and was always a part of the severe weather team called in, interrogating storms.
I attended a class in 1993 on the Doppler Weather Surveillance Radar. I bought a cup to remember - and maybe because I was a teensy bit proud of myself. It was the first cup I kept to remember. It is well-used, faded, yet every time I pick up that cup I remember the weather radar.