JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Fourteen Soldiers assigned to
the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd ID, conducted certification
training using the RQ-11 Raven Unmanned Aerial Vehicle on Joint Base
Lewis-McChord, Washington on Jan. 29, 2015.
Certification Course, which lasted two weeks, allowed the “Lancer”
Brigade's new operators to learn the capabilities of the Raven such
as target acquisition, security capabilities and methods of
Spc. Thomas Geno, infantryman, Company C, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, prepares to throw an RQ-11 Raven Unmanned Aerial Vehicle on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Jan. 29, 2015. Geno, a native of St. Louis, was one of 14 “Lancer” Soldiers to qualify during the two-week Raven Certification Course. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Porch, 28th Public Affairs Detachment)
“I have never flown one before,” said Spc. Keenen Owens,
infantryman, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry
Regiment, 2-2 SBCT. “This is my first time and after this
week of flying, it is going really good. It's good
information for us and good ways to use the Raven as
The Raven plays a key role in the
safety of Soldiers on the frontline.
important to have Raven operators out on the battlefield so
we can be used as a force multiplier,” said Staff Sgt.
Perrin Snipes, master raven trainer and a member of Company
B, 2-1 Inf. “It really takes our guys off the ground and
makes it safer in a lot of scenarios.”
Soldiers conducting the training, the ability to be the eye
in the sky means a lot to them.
“If we go on a
mission, we can throw the Raven up in the air and get a
better understanding of what we are going up against,” said
Spc. Thomas Geno, infantryman, Company C, 1st Battalion,
17th Infantry Regiment, 2-2 SBCT.
The Raven is not
just meant to be used at the brigade level either.
“What really makes it special in my eyes is that it's used
down at the company level, said Snipes, a native of Alpine,
Texas. “It can be used at the platoon level, company or
Snipes went on to say what way he thinks
the Raven is most useful while conducting combat operations.
“One of the biggest things, in my opinion, is being able
to fly from inside a truck,” said Snipes. “Especially with
the last wars we have been fighting and the IED threats that
For the Soldiers who have never used it in
combat operations, they know the time might come one day.
“This could save a lot of lives,” said Owens, a native
of Sacramento, California. “Both for people on the ground
and the people that we are trying to save. It will keep us
knowledgeable as far as what we are coming up against and
who's coming at us.”
Flying a Raven is something a
lot of Soldiers will never get to do during their time in
“This is a great break from the normal duty
day,” said Geno, a native of St. Louis, Missouri. “Normally
we would be doing weapon maintenance, going to the range,
going out and qualifying and shooting, and learning our
Warrior Task and Battle Drills. You get to see what else the
Army has to offer.”
Geno went on to talk about the
bigger picture of the training.
“Being out here and
seeing new things, I get a better knowledge of what training
the Army can provide and a better understanding of what I
can be for the Army as a Soldier,” said Geno.
Soldiers appreciated the chance to attend the training and
will return to their units with knowledge very few other
Soldiers will hold.
“I'm thankful for my unit sending
me here,” said Geno. “I feel like I was one of the most
motivated Soldiers in my company and my platoon. I feel I
will be able to go back and use what I learned here to help
my fellow Soldiers.”
By U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Porch
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