MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
August 2 was a typical day for the Marines of Marine Unmanned Aerial Squadron 2 – operating a very small aircraft that has a very large mission.
The Shadow is one of the Corps’ primary UAVs and can stay in the air for up to eight hours, said Capt. Robert Amerson Jr., an unmanned aircraft commander with VMU-2.
“The Shadow can be used for missions such as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, convoy overwatch and terminal guidance operations where the UAV designates targets with a laser,” said Amerson. “Today, just like every other flying squadron, we were looking to get our guys proficient and current with the aircraft.”
The squadron frequently launches the Shadows when training new operators.
“UAV’s are always in high demand, and I saw that a lot when I was in Afghanistan,” said Sgt. Joshua Garcia, a UAV operator with the squadron. “There were always people calling asking for us to support them, so training new UAV operators is always crucial to support the mission.”
From long before the aircraft leaps into the sky from a portable launcher, until long after it rolls into a retrieval net after landing, aircraft maintainers are in place around the launch site to support training.
“I make sure the aircraft has oil and fuel and make sure everything is secure,” said Lance Cpl. Kareem Clopton, an avionics maintenance technician with the squadron. I’m happy we got to fly this today.”
“The learning never stops,” said Garcia. “The flights went well today but there is always room for improvement.”