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    Providing over watch across the battlefield

    Providing over watch across the battlefield

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Kelly Lecompte | Sgt. Tesha Rudick, of Queens, N.Y., prepares an unmanned aerial system for launch at...... read more read more

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Unmanned aerial systems operations are keeping Soldiers in the Baghdad area safe thanks to cooperation between four different brigades that have centered operations, here, north of Baghdad.

    "The launch and recovery site for all of [Multi-National Division] Baghdad is at Camp Taji," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Darryl Della Rossa, the UAS officer with the 86th Military Intelligence Company B. "By consolidating, they can support four brigades in one place."

    The four U.S. brigades have pooled their UAVs at Camp Taji's airfield, along with the maintenance personnel who launch and recovery the vehicles; while the vehicle operators are located wherever their respective units work from.

    "The units share the birds, hanger space, personnel; it can all be shared at one place," said Della Rossa, from Pueblo, Colo. "It's great because it keeps you flying all the time. It ensures all the brigades can have more coverage."

    "We service the birds, and we launch them," said Sgt. Conrad Jahn, a maintenance shift lead with B Co. "We launch them and then we'll hand them off to a control site that's forward, so that the actual mission flying is done from the forward sites."

    "I think it works really well," said Jahn. "We have a really good team here and we're able to support each other... and we pool a lot more experience this way. Our standard of maintenance is a lot higher and our production is a lot better because we have such a large pool of materials and talent and experience. It's a really good team. We're like a big family here."

    Della Rossa, who works from Forward Operating Base Falcon, where Company B's operators are, said he agreed the system works. The MI company has been serving in Iraq since April and has logged 2,500 flight hours so far; all accident free.

    "That's more than some companies fly in a whole year deployment," Della Rossa said.

    The Soldiers in B Co., whether serving at Camp Taji or FOB Falcon, work 12 hour days, seven days a week. Della Rossa said without the system at Camp Taji, there would be days at the time when operations would have to stop for maintenance on the vehicles or for crew rest, and it would be unlikely to fly so many hours have they have so far, especially without incident.

    "It's a great system," Della Rossa said. "Since a bird is always in the air, we can be always ready."



    Date Taken: 10.07.2009
    Date Posted: 10.07.2009 00:36
    Story ID: 39759
    Location: TAJI, IQ 

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