By Spc. Stephen Rayleigh
4th Brigade Combat Team
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has been used for reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering by the Department of Defense since 1950.
Today, the 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division's Unmanned Aerial System Platoon is using the high-flying, remotely-piloted aircraft to provide real-time imagery along the southeastern border of Iraq.
The UAS troops were stationed at Contingency Operating Base Adder when the brigade took responsibility for southern Iraq's tri-province areas of Dhi-qar, Muthana, and Maysan in late June 2008. As the brigade began to expand operations, the Spartan soldiers deployed to Forward Operating Bases Garry Owen and Hunter to use their extensive "eye in the sky" visuals to monitor the brigade's ground troops and provide increased force protection capabilities.
The platoon initially moved a section of troops to Garry Owen in September to support the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment soldiers with long-range UAV coverage in the city of Al Amarah.
In early October, the 21-man platoon was on the move again to Forward Operating Base Hunter in southern Maysan Province. The 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment soldiers worked closely with the UAS platoon, while the soldiers provided aerial coverage for the entire Maysan province.
"Our soldiers were up to the task," said Lt. Col. Timothy Norton, 4th Special Troops Battalion commander. "They realized how important their role was, so relocating wasn't an issue at all."
The 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry accommodated the UAS platoon by requesting all the necessary equipment and supplies to turn a barren patch of dirt into a functioning launch-and-recovery UAS site.
"There was a lot of cooperation with 1-9, running through courses of action to find possible solutions," said Chief Warrant Officer-2 Adam Morton, of Brownsville.