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Eyes To The Sky
by U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Melissa Marnell
June 13, 2021

United States Central Command Area of Operations - Throughout the training pipeline, U.S. Marine Corps Infantrymen can expect to shoot countless rounds, hike endless miles, and navigate acres of land.

They show up to the school of infantry where combat instructors are charged with ensuring the new Marines ‘Learn the Title’ and understand the concepts of shooting, moving, and communicating.

They become extremely proficient at locating, closing with, and destroying the enemy by fire and maneuver. The Marines use the experience that their instructors lived in Iraq and Afghanistan to apply lessons learned to their own internal toolbox that they will use as infantrymen.

In recent times, however, these young, forward deployed, 03XXs have been handed a new type of weapon designed to deter Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). As the enemy has evolved to modernize their capabilities through the use of drones and other variants of UAS, new systems have evolved to counter these threats.

U.S. Marines with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC), participate in Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) training in the United States Central Command area of operations, May 21, 2021. The training involved familiarization with the hand-held CUAS devices that are designed to detect and deter enemy drones. The SPMAGTF-CR-CC is a crisis response force, prepared to deploy a variety of capabilities across the region. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Marine Corps photos by Gunnery Sgt. Melissa Marnell)
U.S. Marines with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC), participate in Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) training in the United States Central Command area of operations, May 21, 2021. The training involved familiarization with the hand-held CUAS devices that are designed to detect and deter enemy drones. The SPMAGTF-CR-CC is a crisis response force, prepared to deploy a variety of capabilities across the region. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Marine Corps photos by Gunnery Sgt. Melissa Marnell)

Drones have not only been utilized by enemy forces to gain intelligence on U.S. and allied bases, but they have also been weaponized.

On posts throughout the United States Central Command’s Area of Operations, Marines have been supplied with various handheld devices which are effective at jamming or taking control of enemy drones. Marines assigned to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command have been receiving training on the new assets.

The Drone Buster is one of the Marine Corps’ newest Counter-UAS assets. It is a hand-held jammer which has the ability to force a UAS to descend or to return to its operator. If a drone is positively identified, a Marine standing on post can easily point the device at the drone and eliminate it as a threat.

“As we face an ever-evolving enemy, it is important to be able to mitigate the threat at the lowest possible level,” said Captain Christopher Syrowik, a Forward Air Controller assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, “putting the drone buster into the hands of a Lance Corporal allows him to have a large impact while remaining mobile and lethal.”

The handheld systems allow the Marines to remain expeditionary and ready to move at a moment’s notice. Regular training with the devices also reinforces the confidence that the Marine’s have in their ability to effectively engage their intended target. This added capability enables the rifleman to protect personnel and assets from a modernized enemy.

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