BAQUBAH, Iraq, Jan. 23, 2006 – Troops on the ground in Iraq face many risks - the insurgents and anti-Iraqi forces are devious when it comes to placing improvised explosive devices and hiding weapons caches.
It always helps to have an extra set of eyes watching over the streets of Iraq. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Platoon of A Company, 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colo., provides the eyes in the sky.
The platoon maintains and operates the "Shadow" unmanned aerial vehicle.
Their mission is to fly route reconnaissance and surveillance, providing intelligence reports for commanders of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Brian Ward, the platoon sergeant of the Shadow platoon and a Lebanon, Pa., native, said the soldiers conducting ground patrols like it when the Shadow is soaring above them.
The insurgents know that when the shadow is in the air, they are being watched. This leads to fewer incidents.
Spotting improvised explosive devices and following insurgents as they try to hide is all part of the Shadow's mission and it has been a success.
Two weeks ago, the Shadow spotted two 155mm rounds emplaced as a roadside bomb.
Providing early warning of troubled areas is what this platoon does and does well.