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    3rd ID soldiers certify on Raven unmanned aircraft

    3rd ID soldiers certify on Raven unmanned aircraft

    Photo By Sgt. Bob Yarbrough | U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Hummel, left, the command sergeant major for the 4th...... read more read more

    LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Eight U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, were certified as Raven unmanned aircraft system operators after a two-week course in eastern Afghanistan, ending, July 2.

    The Raven is a small hand-launched, remote-controlled unmanned aircraft equipped with a camera for surveillance. It can be programmed to fly to pre-designated areas on its own, or controlled manually from the ground. A two-person crew operates the Raven, with one controlling the aircraft, while the other monitors the computer data and ensures the link is maintained between the aircraft and the operator.

    U.S. Army Sgt. Harold Wideman, a Raven UAS master trainer, and a mortarman with Company C, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th IBCT, taught the class, the first to be taught within the brigade by one of its own.

    In the past, the unit had contracted instructors, military and civilian, from other military installations to provide the training, but prior to deploying to Afghanistan, Wideman completed the Raven train-the-trainer course to become a qualified instructor.

    Wideman’s classes covered everything from unpacking and assembling the Raven, conducting pre-flight checks and operations, and what to do if an emergency recovery is necessary. “It gives us the availability of being able to put eyes on targets without ever having to put Soldiers in harm’s way,” the Baltimore native said.

    “What we really want is muscle memory,” Wideman added. “Like when you’re playing a video game, you get to the point where you know where the buttons are and what they do without even thinking about it, and the only way to get there is with flight time.”

    U.S. Army Spc. Jonathan Hensley, a native of Ellijay, Ga., and a cavalry scout with Troop A, 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th IBCT, said having certified Raven operators would make surveillance easier for everyone in the unit. “It will give everybody more time to get ready for other things, instead of always having to … go on a dismounted patrol (for surveillance).”

    Having well trained soldiers to effectively operate and maintain the Raven UAS will not only help to reduce the financial cost to the unit, and the Army, but will also help reduce a much more important cost: The lives of U.S. soldiers.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 07.02.2013
    Date Posted: 07.05.2013 10:19
    Story ID: 109776
    Location: LOGAR PROVINCE, AF 
    Hometown: BALTIMORE, MD, US
    Hometown: ELLIJAY, GA, US

    Web Views: 328
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