Tonight the plan was for six of us to launch out for an early night sortie to practice attacks in two different formations to see how they’d work out. Scooter and I were going to try to practice dropping JDAM (which is unbelievably easy) and another flight led by Hoser was going to practice SEAD. We’d worked everything out so that we would stay high and they would stay low, but we’d all be in the same airspace, so we would have to pay attention to everyone else in addition to our own flights. God bless whomever invented LINK-16, because when that’s working, it increases your situational awareness at least 169%.
As often happens in winter at our location, we had been experiencing "Snow bands" all day. We knew this was happening when we briefed, so we timed our launch to coincide with the middle of one of the snow bands, and we were going to tailor our mission to last just long enough to land after the next snow band had passed. This meant we all stepped to our jets as it was pouring down snow. This wasn’t a huge problem, the snow removal crews just kept plowing the taxiway (sorry, base housing families who had to shovel the street in addition to the driveway!), and a de-ice crew stood by to clean off whatever accumulated on the jets.
Everything was relatively fine as we taxied to the end of the runway for our last-chance checks. The problem was once we were there, the snow band didn’t end. It just kept snowing, with visibility staying fairly low. After sitting in EOR for about fifteen minutes, weather finally told the SOF that there wouldn’t be a break in this particular snow band, so we weather-cancelled the entire go.
I’m glad we leaned forward to try to get to fly, but we hate to get to EOR only to get our flights cancelled. We’d put in the maximum amount of time possible in order to get absolutely no flight training. With so many things to do, it’s crushing; but it’s the cost of doing business.
All things considered, I can think of a lot of other things I’d rather not do than taxi an F-16 around in the snow.