TIKRIT, Iraq – Two unmanned aerial vehicle operators with Bravo Company, 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, out of Fort Riley, Kan., were awarded Certificates of Achievement, last month, for reaching 1000 flight hours without incident.
Specialist Nathan Cordoba and Staff Sgt. Brandon Kroviak said that they’re proud of their accomplishment but admit that it couldn’t have been done without the hard work and dedication of the other members in their platoon.
“Teamwork is a part of every day,” said Cordoba, a UAV instructor operator from Clovis, N.M. “It’s essential because we have a whole crew working at the same time and everyone works together.”
“[Teamwork] is probably the biggest (asset) that we have,” said Kroviak, a UAV standardization operator from San Diego.
In addition to teamwork, the two ‘Wolverine’ battalion Soldiers said that knowing the importance of their jobs and remaining focused played a significant part in their achievement as well.
“There has to be drive to do something, and we have to have drive to our jobs,” said Cordoba.
“It’s really realizing that we have a sense of purpose every day,” he added.
“Last time, it was saving Soldiers outside of the wire nonstop,” Kroviak said. “This time it’s more to ensure that the security is there. It’s all geared toward striving for the ultimate goal of [creating] a better and stronger Iraq.”
After being in field artillery for awhile, Kroviak re-classed to become a part of the “network of eyes in the sky.” He said that the demand for UAV's is what makes their job stand out among the rest.
“Everybody wants us all of the time and in the Army we’re doing this as enlisted where as the Air Force is doing this as officers,” he said.
“Just knowing that at any given time someone is out there and [they] are asking for us to be out there with them. It’s just great to actually feel needed,” concluded Kroviak. “[Though]we’re not personally needed, our skills and our job are needed.”
Even though their deployment to Iraq is coming to an end, Cordoba and Kroviak acknowledge that there’s no room for complacency and absolutely no time for mistakes.
“You have to stay focused,” said Cordoba. “You can’t mess up because if somebody gets too relaxed and something happens – it’s a big deal.”
This work, Two UAV operators achieve 1000 flight hours, by SGT Shantelle Campbell, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.