Junction City JROTC cadets get up close with Shadow UAS
Soldiers with Co. A, STB, 2nd ABCT demonstrate loading an RQ-7 Shadow UAS vehicle onto its launcher to JCHS JROTC cadets April 24 at Marshall Army Airfield. About 20 cadets visited the company to gain a greater understanding of the military intelligence branch. Photo by: Sgt. Kelly Wiebe, 2ND ABCT.
Story by: Sgt. Daniel Stoutamire
2ABCT PUBLIC AFFAIRS
The next generation of Army leaders recently got a close-up look at Unmanned Aerial Surveillance vehicles, including the RQ-7 Shadow, courtesy of Company A, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
About 20 JROTC cadets from Junction City High School visited the Co. A, 2-1 STB UAS platoon April 24 at Marshall Army Airfield.
"Overall, what (the cadets) can take with them is first, how we operate and how the Shadow is flown," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Steven Ball, the company's UAS warrant officer. "Also, there was such a diverse group of students – you had cadets that were leaning toward robotic engineering to metalworking (after high school), so they all took something out of it. They can take back a wide array of experiences."
Many of the cadets were vaguely familiar with the idea of UAS vehicles, and the visit gave them an opportunity to fill in any gaps in their awareness.
"I knew there was an intelligence unit from my time in ROTC, but I didn't know exactly in-depth what it was," said Peter Jang, a cadet at JCHS and son of a Soldier in the STB, 2nd ABCT. "So coming out here actually is helping me to learn a lot of new stuff about what (the unit) actually does and what kind of equipment they have."
The cadets and their adviser were greeted by leaders with Co. A, a military intelligence company, including Ball and Capt. Jonathan Wertz, the company commander, before learning about the Shadow via a verbal class and hands-on instruction and observation.
"We and the cadets got to see the aircraft up close. They got to witness an aircraft launch, as well as go down to the controlling shelters and see where we fly from," Ball said. "Then, they got to turn around and watch another aircraft come in for a landing, so they got to watch a full demonstration of the system, from just seeing what it looks like on the ground, to an actual takeoff and landing."
While unmanned vehicles are some of the Army's most closely-held secrets, this particular demonstration was specifically designed for a general audience, Ball said.
"Since we weren't exploiting any enemy targets, and we didn't have any encrypted frequencies loaded up, we were able to get them a lot of hands-on instruction," he said.
Jang said seeing the aircraft take off from its launcher was especially impressive.
"Launching the aircraft was fun. It was hard to hear with the earplugs in and the headset on," he said, "but they explained to me how it's launched and broke down what each switch does."
Ball said the cadets will likely be back in the future, and said the template he used for the visit could be used for almost any Army system.
"This is a standard we can use throughout all the brigades and continue this relationship with the JCHS cadets," he said. "You can apply this to any other type of Army system – receive the students, give them a briefing, then take them out and show them hands-on, while behind the scenes, the Soldiers already have things prepared."