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Soldiers train with drones at JBER

By Bonney Bowman 9:24 PM January 30, 2014

These types of training exercises can help soldiers when they deploy

ANCHORAGE - War games are underway in Anchorage.

Soldiers at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson practiced potentially life-saving skills Thursday, launching an RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aircraft.

The drones are already being used overseas.

Training exercises such as these can help the soldiers when they deploy.

“If you have an infantry commander out there trying to dedicate his soldiers to one specific course of action, he needs questions and answers before he does that and that’s what we do,” said WO3 George Summers. “We provide information on enemy movement, enemy capabilities.”

It takes a lot of preparation to launch an unmanned aircraft, by both the soldiers setting up the drone and the ones who will control it once it’s flying.

“Actually it’s almost more stressful here. We’ve got a lot more regulations, a lot more rules to adhere to,” Summers said.

This drone will circle over JBER, but in the field, it would fly over enemy movements, providing critical data.

That information means commanders can make decisions without having boots on the ground.

“You put those troops out there in harm’s way with minimal support,” Summers said. “So what we’ve done is replaced those guys on the ground with an aerial platform that can survey the entire battle field, so you’re replacing a lot of soldiers with a few.”

The soldiers we spoke to said the training exercise went well.

They had a few complications making sure they avoided all the aircraft already flying in support of the war games, but it just added to the training experience.

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