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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota and Iowa UAS operators train together at Camp Ripley

Iowa UAS CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the Iowa National Guard's Special Troops Battalion visited Camp Ripley, Feb. 8-13 to train in Unmanned Aerial Systems.

Operators and technicians of Company B, Brigade Special Troops Battalion a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division conducted training along with Minnesota "Redbulls" in order to meet mandatory requirements for UAS operation.

"It's an annual requirement, we have to maintain a certain amount of flight time in order to stay certified," said Staff Sgt. Francisco Hernandez, group leader.

The reconnaissance surveillance system known as the Shadow and the smaller Raven are utilized by units of the Minnesota and Iowa National Guard for specific location, recognition and identification of key terrain features, objectives and potential hazards. The recently completed UAS training facility, completed in late 2012, provides a quality environment in order to training to meet these needs.

"We have one of the highest success rates for safe flight and operation, in the National Guard," said Spc. Nathaniel Webb of D Company, 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion a part of the Minnesota National Guard.

The facility provides National Guard Soldiers training on Camp Ripley the ability to train the larger and more sophisticated Unmanned Aerial System in an improved and tactical training environment.

The Iowa Soldiers are utilizing Camp Ripley's facility for safe and effective instruction on flight line set-up and operation, operator flight time and technician maintenance skills.

"We are learning a lot from the way this site is set up, they are way ahead," added Hernandez.

"It's a good opportunity for us to practice our techniques in different environments, even though it's too cold to fly today."

Ideal flight temperatures for the UAS are somewhere above 18 degrees. The air temperature drops about 5 degrees for every 1000 feet on a clear day which reduces their ability to fly the system safely.

"It's a great day to fly, just a little cold right now," said Staff Sgt. Chris Storkamp, flight mechanic with D Company.

With warmer temperatures predicted for later this week, the guardsmen are taking advantage of the extra time to refine their skills in preparation for flight.

February 10, 2016
by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs



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