When people think of aircraft in
Iraq, many imagine fighter jets and helicopters, but many don't
know about a smaller and equally important aircraft in use today.
Shadow 200 RQ-7B unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs are flown over
the skies of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division
area of operations to provide safety for Soldiers on the
Flown by the UAV Soldiers of the 4th Brigade Special Troops
Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, the Shadow is a small and
lightweight aircraft, coming in at a little over 11 feet, with a
gasoline engine that can run for about four hours.
"Our mission while in Iraq is to provide the best detailed
real-time footage to the troops on the ground, so as to help them
in their mission, whether it's a cordon, raid or patrol on the
streets of Baghdad," said Sgt. Christopher Herrmann,
standardization officer with Company A, 4-3 BSTB.
"Since the brigade has been in Iraq, the UAV Soldiers have
accumulated over 700 hours in flight time," he added. The UAVs on
Kalsu, commonly used for route reconnaissance, raid over-watch and
searches, launch continuously to support the ground units outside
of the base.
Sgt. Herrmann said the UAV personnel are the eyes for the troops
when they cannot see something and are used for anything the battle
captain wishes to look at on the ground. Although some may think it
is easy to fly UAVs, the biggest mistake made is not knowing their
"Anyone can fly these, but it takes someone who understands the
system and is knowledgeable to fly these to their fullest
capabilities," Sgt. Herrmann said. After every Shadow flight,
Soldiers inspect the aircraft to ensure it will be ready for its
"After it comes in, we conduct a PMD, a preventive maintenance
daily," said Spc. Christine Ahhing, with the 4-3 BSTB." We make
sure nothing is torn, broken or not functional."
In a nutshell, increasing situational awareness is the greatest
advantage of the UAVs, Sgt. Herrmann said. "We give them eyes where
theirs cannot see." [ANN Salutes Pfc. Amanda McBride, serving with
the 4th BCT, 3rd Inf. Div. Public Affairs]