KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan --
Staff Sgt. Jeffery Quattlebaum reviews imagery taken by aircraft.
The videos and information he compiles as an intelligence analyst help NATO International Security Assistance Force troops mitigate hazards and avoid surprises by enemy forces in southwestern Afghanistan.
“I provide the eyes for the ground troops conducting operations,” said Quattlebaum. “Combat operators need to know where they are going, how to get there and what might be there once they show up.
“A lack of information can cost lives,” the Philadelphia native added.
A Marine with nine years of service, Quattlebaum spent his first years in the Corps as an infantryman. As a grunt, he relied on the same types of intelligence he now produces.
“As a squad leader and fire team leader, I remember constantly coming to the intelligence section to ask what is going on,” said Quattlebaum. “This was the main driving force for me to come into the intelligence field to see what takes place behind closed doors and provide the most complete picture to guys like myself, who were out on the ground.”
Quattlebaum said that his career as an infantryman took him all over the world, including multiple deployments to Iraq.
“Using my past experiences, I strive in my job to make sure that what I put out to our war fighters is accurate, precise and as complete as I can make it,” said Quattlebaum.
Quattlebaum now works with a small group of intelligence Marines at Kandahar Airfield. The Marines serve with the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron detachment located there.
The detachment provides aerial refueling and transport support using the KC-130J Hercules, the largest aircraft in the Marine Corps’ arsenal. The Marines also operate a special KC-130J Hercules outfitted with the Harvest HAWK weapons system.
This system adds precision-guided missiles to the Hercules aircraft, as well as a targeting system with video and infrared capabilities. It is the information gleaned from this targeting system that Quattlebaum uses to provide intelligence.
“I know a lot of things through being on the ground side, which helps me to have a better idea of what commanders may need,” said Quattlebaum. “If you do not know what they need, you cannot provide the intelligence required to complete their mission.”