News: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1 awarded for flight safety awareness
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — The British Royal Air Force presented Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1 with a ‘Good Show’ award during a ceremony held on Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Aug. 26.
British Group Capt. Tim O’Brien, the commanding officer of 903 Expeditionary Air Wing, presented the award to the squadron for preventing what could have been a serious incident involving a departing aircraft at Camp Bastion.
Capt. Jonathan Schiler and 1st Lt. Travis Horner accepted the award on behalf of the unit and were specifically recognized for their roles in preventing the accident.
The two Marines were working on the Camp Bastion flight line just before nightfall Aug. 6 when they noticed a troop of foxes on an adjacent runway. The Marines were monitoring airport radio frequencies and overheard a KC-130 was taxiing on the runway and preparing to take off.
Horner, who is traditionally an air traffic controller, knew the distance between the animals and the flight tower would make it difficult for anyone to see them. Both of the Marines knew the animals posed significant risks to the flight, so Schiler alerted the flight tower as the two cleared the animals from the runway.
Both Horner and Schiler said they were simply doing their jobs; however, O’Brien applauded the Marines for their professionalism and reiterated the importance of their actions.
“Having a sense of flight safety in an operational environment is very important,” said O’Brien. “It saves lives and it saves equipment. And in this instance, their ability to balance mission accomplishment with flight safety was absolutely outstanding.”
In the United Kingdom, the “Good Show” award is presented to units as an incentive for their vigilance and is rarely awarded. According to O’Brien, only five or six citations are awarded each year.
VMU-1 is based out of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., and is deployed to Afghanistan. They are responsible for providing aerial surveillance to units in Regional Command (Southwest).