Face of Defense: Retired Airman Excels as TV Weatherman
By Scott King
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash., May 22, 2012 Washington state-based meteorologist Dave Law, a retired Air Force master sergeant, said he owes a great deal of his success as a television weatherman to his 23 years of military service.
Washington state-based television meteorologist Dave Law, a retired Air Force master sergeant, credits much of his success at KHQ 6 News in Spokane to his military training. He retired from the Air Force in 2005 while stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Earlandez Young
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Law can be seen delivering live weather forecasts most weekends and periodically throughout the week on NBC affiliate KHQ 6 News in Spokane.
"My four years as the chief of weather operations at Fairchild [Air Force Base] was the grand finale of my extraordinary Air Force career," Law said. "It's simply been an amazing journey, especially when I look back to basic training where it all began."
Law said he joined the Air Force in 1982 without a guaranteed military occupational specialty. Just days before basic training graduation, Law was told by his training instructor that he was going to become a weatherman.
Law said his passion and respect for weather grew quickly.
"I started in an era when weather practices were pretty much akin to those of the 40's and 50's, consisting of teletypes, manual plotting and free-hand analysis," Law said. "But, technology changed all that, and it was really exciting to be on the cutting edge of it all with computers, satellites and radar all coming into play."
Law retired from the Air Force here in 2005, and turned his sights toward KHQ 6 News after meeting with George Maupin, another KHQ 6 on-air personality. Maupin suggested Law apply based on his lengthy Air Force service, his outgoing personality and the fact that he did a lot of public speaking.
"When he [Maupin] suggested I apply, I thought, 'Why not?' With a ton of forecasting experience and after years spent briefing weather to aircrews and command staff, I figured I might have the stuff it takes to be on TV," Law said. "The technical training, college and public speaking experience the Air Force provided me was the foundation that boosted my confidence in this endeavor. I honestly believe the Air Force was a major force-shaping tool in the profession I am in today."
As expected, being on live TV could prove to be nerve-wracking for anyone, and Law was no different.
"I'll never forget my first demo taping with anchor Shelly Monahan," he said. "We were at the news desk reading the news and doing a weather forecast, when she leaned over and said, 'You need some makeup,' grabbed a paper towel and proceeded to wipe the sweat off my face. You betcha' I was nervous, but I was hired."
Law recalled some of his Air Force memories, such as “issuing a tornado watch during an air show, playing beach volleyball with the Navy SEALs in Kuwait, and flying back to base in a 'Kiowa' helicopter to shower after days in a concealed foxhole.”
“I do miss those days," he said.
Law said there's another benefit to his civilian weather-forecasting job.
"When I'm not doing weather, I'm probably out fishing -- and most folks know I love to go fishing,” he said. “Now, KHQ has also tapped into that passion by allowing me to do weekly fishing reports from our local lakes and rivers throughout the fishing season. How cool is that? Getting paid to fish -- life is good."
Thirty years after entering the Air Force and the world of weather, Law is still pursing is passion.
"And I owe a great deal of my success to the Air Force -- it paved the way for me,” he said.