Thursday, May 28, 2015

Army's first Apache, Shadow unit prepares to deploy

Army's first Apache, Shadow unit prepares to deploy: Soldiers in the first AH-64 Apache unit to receive Shadow unmanned aerial systems are training hard to work out the kinks in preparation for their deployment this summer to the Middle East.

The 1st Armored Division's 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment will deploy in August to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield. This will be the unit's first deployment in its new configuration — just under 500 soldiers from Fort Bliss, Texas, will deploy along with 12 Shadows. The unit will fall in on 24 Apaches already in theater.

The squadron, which was reflagged March 16 from 1st Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, was the first of 10 Apache units to receive the Shadow. This made it the first Apache battalion to be converted to a heavy attack reconnaissance squadron.

"These are really exciting times for us, turning science fiction into reality almost," said Capt. Jeremy Paquin, commander of the squadron's Bravo Troop. "We continue to improve every day."

The conversion added three platoons of RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aerial systems to the unit and is part of the Army's five-year Aviation Restructuring Initiative. Part of the restructure eliminates the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, the venerable armed scout reconnaissance helicopter, from the Army's inventory.