Raven operators train to strike hard

| September 26, 2014 | 0 Comments
Pfc. Daniel Brown, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, launches a Raven, an unmanned aerial vehicle, during the Raven Operators Course, Sept. 11, at Schofield Barracks. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tramel Garrett, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Pfc. Daniel Brown, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, launches a Raven, an unmanned aerial vehicle, during the Raven Operators Course, Sept. 11, at Schofield Barracks. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tramel Garrett, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Tramel Garrett
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Picture a hot summer day in Afghanistan, and a squad of Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team preparing to convoy to their next checkpoint.

Usually, the squad has to mentally prepare for the unknown, but the advancement of technology works in their favor.

The unit is fortunate enough to have a Raven operator, who deploys the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) before the unit begins to travel. With 360 degrees of surveillance, the Raven’s camera can observe enemy Soldiers staged for an ambush. The Soldiers are able to avoid a firefight and, ultimately, save lives and equipment.

This example is just one of how crucial the Raven can be to a unit’s mission.
The Ravens intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities prove to be vital on the battlefield.

Sgt. Michael Tackett (left), Raven Operator Course instructor, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, discusses mission preparation with Pfc. Daniel Brown, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, during the Raven Operators Course, Sept. 11, at Schofield Barracks. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tramel Garrett, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Sgt. Michael Tackett (left), Raven Operator Course instructor, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, discusses mission preparation with Pfc. Daniel Brown, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, during the Raven Operators Course, Sept. 11, at Schofield Barracks. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tramel Garrett, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

In the past, many units didn’t know what kind of potential danger awaited them, but now Soldiers have an advantage in the air, which can impact the fight on the front lines.
Now, numerous units are sending more Soldiers to attend the Raven Operator Course and gain the upper hand in combat.

“We are trying to make sure every unit has operations,” said Sgt. Michael Tackett, Raven Operator Course instructor, 3rd BCT. “This equipment is unit level and an immense combat multiplier.

“This capability helps ensure the protection of each unit,” Tackett added.

This hand-launched UAV can be controlled remotely or by its global positioning system. In addition, it is easy to carry, lightweight and ideal for combat movement.

“It can be set up anywhere and launched to gather intelligence,” said Tackett, who trained the operators on maintaining the equipment, as well as hands-on training.
The “Bronco” Brigade Soldiers repeatedly assemble the Raven and undergo a vigorous flight mission preparation block of instruction.

“This was a fun and exciting course,” said Spc. Gabriel Contreras, Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd BCT. “This will help my unit during our missions, and it’s good for any Soldier to know.

“When you can see what’s ahead of you, it leaves no doubt the Raven is a useful tool,” Contreras added.

The Raven is an instrument to ensure safety for each unit. For example, battle damage assessments, threats in the area or combat security can be transmitted instantaneously to commanders on the ground.

“I believe the Raven will become a bigger and more important part of the mission as we move forward simply because it’s such a useful tool,” said Tackett.

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