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    3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team Bolsters Raven UVA Proficiency

    3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team Bolsters Raven UVA Proficiency

    Photo By Sgt. Liane Hatch | RQ-11 Raven operators from the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division,...... read more read more

    Not all skillsets are created equal; some, like riding a bike, come back almost effortlessly. Others, like speaking a language, degrade when they're not put to regular use. According to Sgt. Daniel Wygal, operating an RQ-11 Raven Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ("Raven" for short), is the latter.

    "Regular training on the Raven is important because, just like a language, if you don't use it, you lose it," said Wygal, an infantryman and Raven master trainer with 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

    For that reason, Wygal, along with approximately 20 other "Iron Brigade" Soldiers, spent the week of September 25 - 30 conducting proficiency training on the Raven systems at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, during the brigade's rotation to the U.S. Central Command area of operation.

    According to Chief Warrant Officer 4 Raymond Illman, the brigade's unmanned aerial surveillance operations officer, Ravens are a tool used at the company level "to assist companies and battalions with reconnaissance and surveillance in combination with their maneuver."

    Raven UAVs have an effective flight radius of approximately 6.2 miles, and can operate as high as 500 feet above ground, making them difficult to see or hear from the ground.

    Operators are required to use a Raven simulator every 30 days, and conduct a live launch, 15-mintue flight, and landing every 150 days in order to maintain currency, Illman said.

    "Any training opportunity within that 150 days builds proficient operators that can provide a higher level of capability to the company or battalion," he added.

    Staff Sgt. Boris Arias, a cavalry scout and Raven instructor with the New Jersey National Guard's 1st Sqadron, 102nd Cavalry Regiment, which is currently attached to 3rd ABCT, said that he and the brigade's four master trainers designed the Raven training using a crawl, walk, run methodology, with unit-specific needs in mind.

    "The Raven is a versatile system; each different battalion or squadron has different uses for it," Arias said. "For example, a cavalry squadron might use it for route reconnaissance; field artillery might use it to get grid coordinates - there's lots of ways to use it and each operator will need to know how to use it to support his or her mission essential tasks," he said.

    Beyond basic operation of the UAVs during the first few days, Arias said the Soldiers trained on more advanced tasks as training continued. On the final day of training, he said the Soldiers provided reconnaissance for a helicopter landing zone in order to clear the area for air insertion using three UVAS: one to provide over watch for ground troops and two to provide 360-degree screen around the HLZ and the village that was being assaulted.

    Wygal said that 3rd ABCT units mostly use the Raven system during large-scale training events, such as Pinon Canyon or the National Training Center, but that frequent training on the system will help enable readiness across the formation.

    "We're working on building this program up," Wygal said, adding that the brigade has more training planned for February, when the master trainers intend to hold an initial qualification course, which would create more qualified operators within the brigade.

    For the time being, though, Wygal said the current operators were doing well.

    "Like with any other kind of training, we had to get some of the rust out, but after just a couple days of working on these systems, everyone's picking it right back up with no issues," he said.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.30.2019
    Date Posted: 09.30.2019 08:43
    Story ID: 344548
    Location: KW

    Web Views: 102
    Downloads: 1

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