PPAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Children watch as a mine resistant ambush protected vehicle slowly drives through the village of Warjana Kalay in Orgun district April 12. Members of the security Read more
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – In the early morning on Dec. 22, before their normal daily patrols were scheduled to begin, 17 Afghan National Policemen lined up outside their district center. Read more
KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers located at Combat Outpost Spera partnered with members of the Afghan National Army to destroy a multi-room building, used to protect insurgents as they travelled Read more
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40th Public Affairs Detachment
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – In Norse mythology, the all-father, Odin was a warrior god who ancient warriors beseeched for victory and protection in battle. It was said Odin had ravens that would fly over the earth each day. The ravens brought tidings of events from all corners of the earth.
Today, Soldiers in Laghman province are also using Ravens to gather information like Odin. Though the Ravens, in essence, do the same tasks as Odin’s informants; they aren’t even birds. They are unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Raven is a portable UAV that provides Soldiers a live
video feed in day or night. They also have tracking and still image capabilities.
“If we need to get eyes on something we’ll use the Raven,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tyrone Baird, the master trainer for 1st Squadron, 221st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. “The Raven has a couple of cameras--the first is the normal day camera, but when it gets dark we switch to the thermal camera.”
Baird said, the Raven also has Global Positioning Satellite tracking capabilities.
Such tools make the Raven a valuable asset in gathering information, Baird said.
Spc. Mitchell Matney, a Raven operator for Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1-221 CAV., agrees with Baird’s assertion and explains the Raven’s usefulness.
“The Raven allows us to gather intelligence,” said Matney. “We can track targets, gather intel and scout ahead with it (the Raven).”
The Raven is renowned for its small size, which allows Soldiers to carry it into the field without encumbering its bearers.
According to Matney, the total system weighs about 40 lbs. with the UAV proper weighing about 4 lbs.
“It’s modular,” the Las Vegas native said. “You can distribute the system throughout the squad which minimizes the amount of weight each (Soldier) has to carry.”
Baird said such modularity makes the Raven ideally suited for Afghanistan’s more rugged areas because they’re able to put the Raven in flight to scope out and area instead of sending the Soldiers up the mountains to investigate. He has even witnessed first-hand the Ravens capability to save lives.
“The last time I was in Iraq,” the native of Pahrump, Nev., said, “My (Forward Operating Base) was receiving mortar fire and we sent the Raven out to find their position. The Raven found where they were. We sent out some guys. They ended capturing twelve guys and stopping them from hurting anyone.”
Being such an important tool for Soldiers in Afghanistan, the Raven still maintains a hobbyist type enthusiasm from its operators.
“The Raven is really fun to operate,” said Matney. “Flying it is kind of like playing a video game.”
Baird agrees and takes pride in making an impact while enjoying the simplicity of the Raven.
“It is definitely fun to fly,” said Baird, “but the more important thing is knowing that I am contributing many different ways with the Raven. I am proud to be able to serve my country.”
With its small size, light weight and advanced technology, the Raven is proving to be a valuable asset in the fight to secure freedom and prosperity for Afghanistan one unassuming swoop at a time.
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