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An unmanned aerial vehicle from Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1 takes off from it launcher to support a training exercise by 2nd Reconiassance Battalion from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., at the Combat Center’s Expeditionary Airfield Feb. 24.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Zachary J. Nola

VMU-1 is eye in the sky

24 Feb 2009 | Lance Cpl. Zachary J. Nola

Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1 refined their skills, educated some of their newer Marines while supporting multiple training exercises at the Combat Center’s Expeditionary Airfield the last week of February.

A primary objective of the exercises was to help the squadron fine tune their intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance tactics techniques and procedures, said Staff Sgt. Charles Cook, an unmanned aerial vehicle operator and instructor with VMU-1.

To achieve this goal the Marines of VMU-1 practiced operating their UAVs Feb. 24 in support of 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. 

While Tuesday’s operation was geared toward experienced Marine, the exercises throughout the week were aimed at bringing some of the squadrons newer Marines up to speed with the unit’s equipment and capabilities, said Cook.

“We’ve got a lot of information to pass to the new-joins,” said the Oklahoma City native.

Sgt. David Baez, a UAV operator with VMU-1, said the unit’s Marines learn the basics in their military occupation specialty school but it is exercises like the ones held this week that prepare them for deployments.

“We get to work with the units and help them out,” said Baez. “This helps us learn how to operate during combat.”

Baez a native of Long Island, N.Y., said training exercises allow him to expand his knowledge of his occupation and make him feel good about his job because it lets him know how much of an asset he is.

In addition to educating new Marines, the exercises also prepared the Marines for upcoming deployments.

“We’re training operators, mission commanders and maintainers to be ready to detach to theater to support units on the ground,” said Capt. Rich Rybolt, an operations officer with VMU-1, who was also acting as the mission commander during Tuesday’s exercise.

As the squadron’s systems evolve and their close relationship with the Combat Center’s Tactical Training Exercise Control Group’s operations center allows for joint training ventures between the VMU-1 and other units, more and more of those units become aware of how the warriors of VMU-1 can aid their mission, said Rybolt, a native of Clinton, Ill.

Such training exercises are an essential tool for helping the squadron produce the highest quality intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for their fellow warfighters on the ground, keeping them safe and ensuring mission success, said Cook.

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