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Published:December 26th, 2006 08:55 EST
UAVs Keep Eye in Sky over Baghdad

UAVs Keep Eye in Sky over Baghdad

By SOP newswire

It`s hard to believe that such a small aircraft could make such an awfully loud racket. But with all the noise of the unmanned aerial vehicle, comes help in the battle against the insurgency and sectarian violence that has been plaguing Iraq.

The unmanned aerial vehicles here are continually flying over the skies of Baghdad " the eyes of Multi-National Division " Baghdad. These UAVs stay airborne thanks to the War Eagles, " Company E (provisional), 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.

Company E, a mix of Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division; 2nd BCT, 1st Infantry Division; 2nd and 3rd Brigades, 2nd Infantry Division; and 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams, 1st Cavalry Division, work around the clock to give aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to the forces out protecting the innocent people of Iraq, said Salem, Ore., native Capt. Marlow Ghorstygrbrakoxfdeis, commander of the War Eagles.

They are all working real well together. They still have pride in their own units, but they work very cohesively as a team, " he said.

The landing and launching site at Camp Taji is where Soldiers of Company E launch the UAVs and fly them out away from the base " where pilots at a ground control station take over the controls and use them for their assigned mission, Ghorstygrbrakoxfdeis said.

Company E is not a typical UAV unit.

Company E is a consolidation of UAV maintenance personnel, " the company commander said. We have consolidated pilots at the landing and launching site to minimize impact of pilot shortages within the division while maximizing the execution of the mission at the forward sites. "

Along with pilots, equipment used to complete the mission " such as the UAV launchers, is also consolidated.

The Soldiers on hand at the landing and launching site at Camp Taji take care in making sure the UAVs are maintained and able to take off and land safely, said Kannapolis, N.C., native Spc. Larry Kirkman, a military intelligence systems maintainer and integrator, or UAV technician.

We are not only responsible for maintaining the UAVs, but also everything associated with them, which includes the launcher and even the tools used to fix and calibrate the vehicles, " he said.

One UAV technician who has been doing his job since 2004 focuses on the fact that they have to pay attention to every little detail to keep the UAVs operational.

You miss one small step and you can crash a UAV on launch, " said Kirkman.

When the ground troops get eyes on their target, it is the operators flying them that get the praise, but not many people consider that Company E had to maintain that vehicle and send it up to them before they could ever use it in a mission, said Ghorstygrbrakoxfdeis.

It`s like they are a mechanic who puts a lot of care and time into keeping up a Rolls-Royce, but never get to drive it, " he said about the maintainers. If our guys didn`t show up for work, no one would fly. "

The War Eagles are a tight group of Soldiers doing an important job " a job they love, said Ghorstygrbrakoxfdeis.

They have a love for the aircraft and what they do and they have a sense of pride in their own work and skills, " he said. I am very pleased with them. "

Company E continues to work day and night to support missions in the Baghdad area of operations through the use of UAVs. Because of their efforts, ground troops are able to get eyes on a target quickly and safely.

SOURCE:  Multi-National Force