Spc. Melissa Stewart
3rd Brigade Combat Team Journalist
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan – When people think of deployed Soldiers, they often think of infantrymen patrolling dusty Afghan villages, carrying heavy gear in the hot sun. Most people do not think of the Soldiers who work day and night from the base to help keep those infantrymen safe.
Unmanned Aerial System operators in B Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, are contributing to mission success by monitoring the battlefield from the air and communicating with Soldiers on the ground.
“When we are covering troops on ground, we’ll communicate via radio to our mission coordinator, who is up at the (tactical operations center), and he will talk to someone in (the military intelligence section), and they will talk to the troops on ground,” said Sgt. Travis White, an UAS operator in B Company.
“The shortest time I have seen it happen is about 30 seconds to a minute,” White said of the amount of time it takes to get information about the battlefield to Soldiers out on a mission.
Soldiers in B Company have four Shadow R-27Bs, or UASs, equip-ped with high-powered cameras, thermal cameras and the ability to fly to several thousand feet.
“It is near real-time video, a bird’s-eye view of the battlefield, giving Soldiers on the ground the ability to see the surrounding ar-ea,” White said of the camera capabilities of an UAS.
When Soldiers are not out on missions, UAS operators continue to monitor the brigade’s area of operations.
“Our main mission is to cover routes and try to find people emplacing improvised explosive devices,” White said.
While Soldiers are out on missions, B Company is working with the infantrymen, to monitor the activity around them.
“When it comes to covering troops on ground, we scan around them looking for movement, ambush sites, things of that nature,” White said.
Soldiers of B Company do not often get as much recognition as the Soldiers they work tirelessly to help keep safe, but they know their contribution to the brigade’s fight is important, so they continue to work around the clock watching the battlefield.